Years ago, Evelyne found herself doing fieldwork among beautiful wild mango trees in Chad. She was introduced to a family where the mother and kids proceeded to expertly climb the trees in the hot sun to harvest mangoes for her to eat. Towards the end, Evelyne was told to pay the husband when it was the wife that had picked the mangoes. She felt a knot of anger in her heart as she customarily handed the money over to the man. Evelyne thought to herself, “This happens everywhere around the world, and it’s wrong,” and was motivated to help improve the lives of the women there. That’s when she decided to start Ellie Bianca, a natural skincare line built on the pillars ‘Kind to Your Skin, Kind to the Earth, Kind to Women.’
Evelyne moved to Canada from Kenya at the age of 16 and put herself through a Bachelors and a Masters of Science while being a single mom. She built Ellie Bianca to be an example to her daughter of what women are capable of, and to empower other women to succeed. She sources ingredients from women in Africa, mentors other women entrepreneurs, and runs the Ellie Bianca Woman Scholarship for single mothers.
Now in its sixth year of operation, Ellie Bianca boasts thirty-four all-natural products. With Evelyne’s background as a chemist, all of their products are scientifically formulated with natural ingredients and are environmentally friendly, organic and non-GMO. Recently, as a result of the pandemic, they have pivoted and are manufacturing organic sanitizers and liquid hand soaps to keep customers safe.
“I want others to know that I was here. I want them to know there was a girl from Kisii, Kenya and she left a footprint.”
In this week’s #StartupWomenPodcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Evelyne shares the three pillars of her business, the efforts she makes to include women in the supply chain of her business and why she encourages women to move forward – even before they feel ready.