No Chemicals, No Plastic, All African
A native son of Africa meets a brother returned from the diaspora and together they launch a personal care company that exalts Ghana’s traditions. William, a Ghanaian, and Daryl, an African-American, met in 2016 when Daryl was visiting Ghana. They both wanted to bridge the gap between the diaspora and the African continent and eventually created Nkubar, an environmentally conscious natural lifestyle brand. Nku means shea butter, which forms the base ingredient of most of their skin and body care products. William and Daryl take pride in adding a modern, conscientious aesthetic to classic Ghanaian products to create items like shea butter candles, moisturizing lotion bars and moringa-infused solid shampoo bars. Their championing of paper rather than plastic packaging allows them to add an inspired twist with their adinkra-symbol emblazoned wrapping. No plastic, no chemicals, all African. “The only thing we want to leave behind is radiant skin.”
Why did you start your business?
We had developed a strong friendship and talked about partnerships between the diaspora and the continent of Africa. William shared that Africans are hoping that people from the diaspora would come back to the continent to help build it together with local Africans. Nkubar is the realization of this important initiative to demonstrate – especially to African-Americans – that there are opportunities here in Ghana and Africa as a whole. Our partnership in Nkubar is the embodiment of this important endeavor that we need each other and with our respective skills, talents and resources, we can do something great.
What motivates you to keep going?
Our customers really motivate us because they give us fantastic feedback about the brand and the products. Since selling at the local Green Butterfly Market in Accra, our confidence in the Nkubar brand has increased and really inspires us to continue. Our customers have told us that the brand message is very clear and they are so happy to see a local company adding innovation and value to traditional local products with a modern aesthetic.
What do you wish people knew about your business?
We want people to know that Nkubar is an environmentally conscious lifestyle brand inspired by traditional African culture and design. The only thing we want to leave behind is radiant skin, not a planet polluted with plastic bottles, jars and packaging. Nkubar also wants to be a part of the conversation of telling our own stories to the world instead of others controlling the narrative.
What is first thing you do when you wake up?
Daryl: I like to check to see what happened in the world while I was asleep. I love that I can go on Twitter for a quick synopsis about the events of the day. I like to keep up on things, whether it’s global politics or who got slapped on the Real Housewives. William: I really love to exercise early in the morning to keep in shape.
What is your favorite detoxing regimen?
Daryl: My favorite detoxing regimen is more mental than physical. I love to sit in front of any body of water, especially the beach, and just look out at the great expanse. Water really calms me and provides clarity. William: Being an African with access to all types of indigenous herbs, I love to make my own healthy concoctions.
What are you most grateful for?
Daryl: I am grateful for the support system (my family in NYC and my local Ghanaian family) and friends that have given me the courage to make this move to Ghana from New York City. Without it, I am not sure I would have done it or even thought that it was possible. William: I am grateful for the business opportunities that Nkubar is currently receiving and looking forward to a bright future.
What's the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
Daryl: I am a child of the 70s and grew up on television so I can’t fall asleep without the sound of the TV playing in the background. William: I cannot fall asleep without having an evening jog around the neighborhood. It really helps me to release tension and clears my mind before going to bed.
What makes you awesome?
Daryl: I really know how to cook from scratch, which other people always found to be awesome. William: I really love to exercise early in the morning to keep in shape.
Where do you like to have the most fun?
Do you have a favorite mantra?
Daryl: It is ok to be scared, fear is a natural human emotion. You can’t let that fear get so great that it stops you from moving forward. William: My favorite saying is in Twi: “Bɔkɔ bɔkɔ, yɛ be duru hɔ”, which means, “Slowly, slowly, we will get there.”
What do you love most about Africa?
Daryl: As a person from the diaspora, I love that everywhere I turn there is someone that looks like me or someone in my family. I can go anywhere in Ghana and not have my presence questioned or tolerated. It is this sense of freedom that I have never experienced before living in America. Ghana is allowing me room to be my full and present self. William: I love Africa because I am an African. This is a hard question to answer because I love all things Africa.
What frustrates you most about Africa?
Daryl: The fact that it is so expensive to travel between African countries. Why is it cheaper to fly to Europe or the US than flying to another African country? To be honest, the traffic is also ridiculous. William: Leadership tends to be a challenge in some African countries but as we as Africans become more confident in ourselves, I am sure that this will eventually improve over time.
William and Daryl work together to create their minimal waste natural brand.