Tabi Bonney is a Washington D.C and Los Angeles based artist, director and producer who has worked with artists such as Wale, Wiz Khalifa and Raheem DeVaughn. He is also the founder of natural skin care brand, ITADI.
ITADI is a natural skin care brand formulated with organic coffee berry, harvested from Bonney’s family-owned farms in Togo, West Africa. The brand is named after Tabi’s late father, a well-known afro-funk musician popular during the 1970’s in Togo and other parts of West Africa.
What inspired you to start ITADI?
ITADI is my father’s name. The brand is a tribute to him. He loved Africa and his country Togo so much and never wanted us to forget where we came from. He wanted to make sure that his family always returned HOME.
So for me, ITADI is about history, legacy, and evolution. Though it was his goal, my father never had the chance to commercialize the resources from our farms in Togo. Since his passing, I’ve pushed forward with the dreams of my father.
What is the most gratifying thing about being an entrepreneur? What is the most challenging?
The most gratifying thing is controlling your destiny and not being reliant on a boss or company dictating your future. It’s so cool to have an idea in your head, make it tangible, and see people like it and incorporate it into their life.
To know that someone is using a natural product made from ingredients from our family farms, and to get a message saying that their skin feels healthy and clear and that they love our products brings me immense joy.
The most challenging thing is that there are a lot of pitfalls. It is definitely not easy. Things like going into debt with loans and credit cards is a big risk, and there’s a lot of pressure to succeed. But I believe it’s a risk worth taking in the long run.
How does your business benefit the local community where the products are produced?
We are extremely small at the moment. We’re really just getting started. Right now we make sure that our farmers get paid fair wages. We make sure their children are in school, help with all school fees, and pay for any medical assistance our farmers and their families need.
Ultimately, we hope to expand and contribute to neighboring villages. We have big ambitions and would like to follow the blueprint of our mentor-company Alaffia, a fair trade, ethical skin care products line resourced from Togo and solely focused on eradicating poverty in West Africa.
What differentiates your brand from the many others in your market?
Our main ingredient is coffee berry. You can’t find it in other brands. It’s the highest in antioxidants which works wonders for your skin. And we are everything we say we are.
Purely natural ingredients sourced directly from our own land. No gimmicks, just quality, high performing natural ingredients for your skin. Simple and clean.
Where do you see the business in 5 years?
We would like to buy more land, employ more farmers, and set a standard for paying farmers fair wages. We would like to support agri-business in more villages.
We’d like to work with teens and young adults to embrace jobs in agri-business so that villages don’t experience a complete brain drain of their brightest minds, who often leave for jobs in the city.
We’d also like to collaborate on innovative ways to turn Togo’s natural resources into products that would serve US and international market demand.
-Tony O. Lawson