Christina Tegbe, founder of organic bath and body line, 54 Thrones, combined her rich African heritage and love of beauty to create the brand we see today. As an avid traveler, she treks across Africa’s gorgeous terrain, sourcing the finest ingredients and building relationships with local artisans. Through 54 Thrones, Christina empowers African communities to provide income for their families, boosting the local economy. Learn more about Christina Tegbe and how 54 Thrones was realized in her interview below.
Where did you get the idea for 54 Thrones?
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and it really forced my family and I to take a look at the things we consumed and the products we were using. I had always used these small tubs of raw Shea Butter that my aunts in Nigeria would give me whenever I would visit. During my mom’s radiation treatment they sent over more Shea Butter to help soothe her skin and to help fade her surgery scars. And it worked, my mother has very little scars now. This made me think. I wanted to create something that merged the things I was passionate about: Africa, travel and beauty. I wanted to share these pure, chemical free African beauty secrets that my family has used forever with everyone. So 54 Thrones was born to bring sustainably made African botanical products to all.
Do you have a process you go through when creating new products?
Yes, the process is the most exciting part and what helps set us apart as a company. It’s exciting because we travel first-hand to meet our supplier partners which allows us to show the Africa we know; the beautiful and talented people, the rich history and culture as well as the magnificent buildings and structures.
I also weave African travel into our brand by making it a point to be 100% hands on and involved with sourcing. We could have chosen to order our ingredients from a middle-man company in the states, but instead we go to the source first-hand. In doing so, our artisan partners get the best prices for their hard work and are able to play a larger role in their communities. By personally traveling to each African country our products come from, it also allows me to build a personal relationship with our artisans and cooperative partners. I’m able to learn the process of how our products are made, ensuring the best quality and learning the history behind these beauty staples and the people who make them to sustain their families and communities. It’s a beautiful thing and the most important part of our brand.
What books are you reading and what books would you recommend to young entrepreneurs?
I love to read, every chance I get I am reading. I usually read several books at once.
Currently I’m reading:
Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Seconds by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Lion Awakes by Ashish Thakkar
The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire
For young entrepreneurs:
Poke the Box by Seth Godin
Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Screw It, Let’s Do It by Richard Brandon
Do you think traveling is important? Why?
Yes, traveling is very important. It allows you to explore a different type of happiness by being in the unfamiliar, stepping out of your comfort zone and saying yes to new experiences and growth. Opening yourself and really being all the way there wherever you travel to is important too, sometimes you have to put down your phone, log off Instagram and fully appreciate your current environment in its entirety.
5. What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
I was told to “Be visionary. Think long term. Thing big. Be flexible.” If you fully commit to these four principles and add in hard work, there’s no way you can’t be successful.