We wanted to create a boutique that specializes in empowering West Africa woman by exploring the gift of nature (African Shea Tree)

In Spring of 2016, we collaborated with a group of women in Gulli, Ghana, a small village in the Upper West Region to create Espoir’s Shea Butter Cooperative.


We successfully implemented phase I of our  project during the fall-winter 2016. Working with the community, we produced and sold enough Shea butter to start our first community development project – an extension to the only school in the village.


The project is in phase 2 of implementation: Integrating the entire supply chain – formulating, producing, and distributing finished products ourselves. We plan to eliminate intermediaries  and go directly to the market in the West. By doing this, we can ensure that our cooperative members gain a larger percentage of the final price and customers are not overcharged.


Our goal is to create a sustainable global community of trading resources for social impact rather than relying on the “good” of foreign aid.


Espoir Shea is a impact-investing cooperative committed to alleviating the exclusion of marginalized women from the most productive sectors of their countries’ economies. We create opportunities that help marginalized women increase their income, build savings and gain assets.


Espoir is a French word meaning “hope”. Here at Espoir Shea, we believe in the power of transformation. We set out to build a company that celebrates the people behind our products.

Our name reflects the collective “hope” of women who are seeking clean and healthy skin and of the women in our cooperative seeking a path to self-sustainability and financial independence.


Espoir Shea was founded to create products that promote the comfort women get from discovering and embracing the beauty of their imperfections and accepting their natural beauty is perfect. We also aim to use our products to create sustainable growth and economic transformation for women in the rural West African communities.


We are demonstrating that business is one of the most powerful forces in society. If harnessed correctly, a business can impact the lives of people living in immeasurable poverty and injustice, by creating a cultural bridge of global citizenship to inspire trade relationships that can incite socio-economic mobility.


Espoir was inspired by our mutual desire to make a positive impact.

Nell Paye
Co-founder/Executive Director
Nell started EspoirShea with the dream of creating a lifestyle brand that empowers artisan women around West Africa. She has traveled internationally to South Korea, St. Croix, VI, Southeast Asia and across West Africa to help local organizations improve or develop their Mission and Program Alignment Toolkits. The kit allowed organizations support their organizational infrastructure development goals, their efforts in engaging community partners, stakeholders (donors) and volunteers and capacity building of their programs in an efforts to increase their paths to sustainability and scale social impact and cost effectiveness. Nell is really interested in discovering ways to incite impoverished individual to mobilize themselves out of poverty; she sees her EspoirShea as another opportunity to explore this interest.
Yussifu Fuseina
Co-Founder/Director of African Partner Relations
Yussifu Fuseina is a Burkina-born Ghanaian beautician. Fuseina was born at Takoradi in the western region of Ghana. Her family later moved to a town called Mankessim in the central region of Ghana, where she had both her Basic Education and Secondary Education. In 2007, she moved to Accra to further her Tertiary Education and consequently had a Professional training and mastery in Beauty & Personal Skin care. In her quest to develop local products to boost her services as Personal & Skin care professional, she came across Shea butter which instantaneously took her attention. As an enthusiast and a business oriented person, she partnered Wakefield & Stunner Services in researching and developing the Shea butter extraction processes in 2015. This partnership exposed her to work with and hear stories from the women around all the rural areas they operated. Playing various key roles in the Women mobilization & trainings sparked her inherent passion for humanitarian works through Economic Empowerment of the rural folks. So in 2017 she became a part of the Impact Studio, a U.S based support team with an interest in building the capacity of Women in Shea butter production.