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Grace Chinomso Okoli, fondly called Shanyi – the Chinese translation of ‘Grace’- is the CEO of Shanyi Organics, an organization founded in the corner of her room in January 2016. For Shanyi, business was birthed out of a health experience she had when she was an undergraduate. According to her, following the awareness on breast cancer, she had examined and noticed some lumps in her breast as a teenager. After denying the possibility of having breast cancer and keeping her speculations to herself, she eventually had to undergo a compulsory full body check-up when she got to the university.  The reveal was that she had not just one lump but three. She was scheduled for a lumpectomy and six lumps were evacuated from her breasts. This experience was life-changing for Shanyi who had to review her lifestyle and make necessary adjustments to accommodate her new state of health. Having learned that certain chemicals contained in beauty-care products contribute to the risk of developing cancer, she discovered an alternative – ‘the organic lifestyle’. With this experience and discovery came the passion to fill the gap in the African beauty industry by producing safe and organic beauty products, with hair care products as her first “step”. Shanyi commenced her business with the sum of N5,000, and after several researches, formulations, and testing, she launched her first line of beauty products in January 2016.Thereafter, in September 2016, Shanyi Organics was incorporated. The company specializes in making beauty care products from certified organic ingredients, herbs, oils, butter, and plant extracts, with the afro-textured hair women in mind. She also plans to launch her body care products soon. As a way of giving back to the society, Shanyi Organics has a subsidiary company – The Shanyi Life (TSL) Africa. TSL Africa is a growing global community of young African adults who are passionate about fulfilling purpose and making positive impact. The main focus of the organization is to give support, provide relevant information, and create a platform for Nigerian youths in regions and states where the aforementioned are minimal and/or non-existent. TSL Africa operates through both offline hangouts and online mentoring programs. Since its launch on August 1, 2017, the organization has hosted over 500 young entrepreneurs in Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, and Port Harcourt in its hangout sessions and 150 youths have been mentored through the online mentorship program on their website Shanyi Organics, in its thirty months of operation, has been nominated for various awards in different categories. Some of them are BelleAfricana ACE Award for “Best Emerging Beauty Brand”, Afrikinky Award for “The Best Natural Hair Care Product”, SME 100 Nigeria for the “25 Under 25 Awards in the Manufacturing Category”, The Future Africa Awards in the Beauty Category, and the SME 100 Nigeria for the “25 Under 25 Awards in the Beauty Category”. Shanyi is an alumnus of Tony Elumelu Foundation (2017) and also holds the CBN-Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) certificate in Entrepreneurship Development.   Feature Image:

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This article was first published on 7th August 2018

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