She built a $2 million company while raising 14 kids
Umbel, 45, runs Shea Terra Organics, which makes skin and hair care products using shea butter and other exotic ingredients sourced from Africa, like maobi butter and marula oil.
She launched her business in 2000 with $1,500 and started turning a profit five years ago. Last year, the business brought in $2 million in sales.
Shea Terra now has seven employees, but Umbel still plays many roles: working on new products and overseeing marketing, packaging and distribution.
Umbel came up with the idea for Shea Terra while at the mosque.
“I would go to the mosque for prayers and meet women from Africa and other countries. I would learn from them about the products they used like henna, shea butter and black seed oil for their beauty rituals,” she said.
Umbel has 14 children ranging in age from 5 to 27 — all of whom she has homeschooled. Six of her oldest children are in college, studying a variety of subjects, including medicine and engineering.
She grew up in Maryland, raised as a Christian by a single mother. “My family was German, Irish descent. We struggled and moved a lot. At one point, we didn’t have a home,” she said.
“As far as I know, I am the only Muslim woman in my immediate area. When people see me they think I’m Iranian, Syrian or Pakistani because of my headscarf. I’m Muslim-American and proud of it,” she said.
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