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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