You all know I preach often about our people coming back home to enrich our country, so I just love when I link up with someone who is actually doing it! I recently met George “Gabie” Brownwell, a young entrepreneur who is making the move back and bringing back sustainable personal care, through a brand called SOPE. “SOPE is a sustainable personal care producer and retailer. We procure the most authentic raw ingredients by collaborating with local farmers in West Africa. Our mission is to cultivate a supply-chain that positively impacts social-economic development in the extremely underdeveloped regions of West Africa. – Effectively communicate the importance of sustainable organic personal care products – Create a new standard for operating a business in West Africa – Promote socio-economic development in West Africa SOPE Company began its operation in West Africa, in September 2020 with the goal to create and sell high quality natural cosmetic products. Born to Liberian refugees, its founder George Brownell Jr., was captivated by stories of his homeland at an early age. However, poverty, income disparity, as well as hopelessness from those who escaped the 14-year civil war discouraged him from visiting Liberia. In 2020, George decided to ignore all of the noise and create his own perception of the country by visiting. Upon his arrival, he instantly fell in love with the environment and felt obligated to use his educational background to be a catalyst for positive change in the region. ​SOPE is a combination of Hope, Soap, and Love. Many Liberians hope to see a better Liberia within their lifetime, but war trauma with its reality of losing everything dissuades them from making the sacrifice. SOPE’s products are a physical representation of the sacrifice being made by those who are empowered through hope and absolute love that one day they will experience an improved Liberia. ​In October 2020, George exported his first batch of soap from Liberia to the United States. Each soap bar was handcrafted by him and a few workers without the use of electric machinery. The soaps were produced using rain water and organic raw materials native to Liberia. Workers were told not to work if they weren’t in a good mood and were paid more than the daily national average. George’s healthy relationship with his workers is also perceived as a turn of the tide for an environment notorious for strenuous employer-employee work relationships.”

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