Laundry. For many, if clean, it must be a highly effective, skin-focused cleanser, which happens to be plant-based.
This is true for a growing number of consumers, including Augie and Greenville native Sylvia Emuwa, who selected “precious ingredients for precious skin” to create Dinobi detergent.
Why would a wife, who is a former accountant and a husband, who is a former education administrator, spend time formulating such a product?
According to the National Eczema Association, 31.6 million (10.1%) people in the United States have some form of eczema. One in 10 people will develop eczema during their lifetime, with prevalence peaking in childhood.
“My husband has eczema and my kids have eczema. I wasn’t really aware because I didn’t have this problem, but from there we were buying all these different detergents and buying all these different drugs,” Sylvia said. “I live in Chicago and it just seemed right that we were trying to find all these different ways and trying to figure out ‘how do we fight this one thing?’”
However, that wasn’t really “a” thing the Emuwa were trying to deal with.
It was the problem of eczema, effectively cleaning diapers with children’s health in mind and environmental awareness.
“We have four kids between us, so it’s hard to keep buying a bunch of stuff. I said, ‘How can I do all of this in one?’ And that’s when it clicked – to find a need and fill it and the need was for something that was an environmentally friendly solution,” she recalls. “At that time, eco-friendly didn’t mean efficiency and cleanliness – it was just kind of ‘feel good’, but I said we need to be able to do it all in one and we were able to do that by being very creative and finding the right chemistry help and here we are.
Sylvia, the company’s leader, said that when she was growing up, her father, Dr. Paul Jackson, asked his children to find a need and fill it.
“Growing up in Greenville, you learn to work as a community and you learn to do your best where you are, even if you have to look for opportunities outside of there. You kind of carry that with you — to always find a need and fill it and be part of a community and make it thrive because you’ll never know where life will take you,” she said. “That was really the inspiration – to do something that would fill a need for people.”
The inspiration behind the name “Dinobi” came from the West African heritage of Sylvia’s husband, who also goes by the name “Augie”.
He pointed out that “Dinobi” means “precious” in Igbo.
Augie has dealt with eczema pretty much her whole life.
Coming from what he called “humble beginnings” as a third-culture kid in Chicago’s urban neighborhoods, the different types of household products and their composition weren’t exactly at the forefront of his mind.
“My younger experience with taking care of all kinds of household things was more passive. It was like, ‘Well, what’s the cheapest thing?’ and unfortunately that hasn’t put me on the path to really being critical of the market and looking at the ingredients and trying to figure out what’s really important in terms of my real self-care,” he said. he declares.
However, after a friend noticed several spots on Augie’s legs from so many different things scratching his skin, in addition to the eczema flare-ups he experienced as a school principal ‘stressed’ it was clear to Sylvia something had to change.
Augie pointed out that while many skin conditions are complicated and stem from a variety of environmental factors, including diet, the unwanted chemicals that certain products and supplies produce can aggravate the epidermis.
“We can make lifestyle changes, but we can also minimize the risk of reacting to something happening on our skin that isn’t supposed to happen on our skin,” he said. .
Four ingredients make up Dinobi detergent: water, plant-based surfactant, vegetable fatty alcohol and 100% essential oils.
When Augie and Sylvia met at Jackson State University, “green living” was a concept they both needed clarity on because there are extremes that can make people either receptive or somewhat reluctant.
They weren’t sure if formulating a plant-based detergent meant they would have to fall prey to nature, as they envisioned some artisan markets for their product, which involved a very hands-on approach.
But their goal was to find a way to disrupt the industry standard by producing something that’s good for the environment and the skin and, as Augie noted, “only takes a little formulation and a little tweaking in terms of process with how we bring these plant-based chemicals together.
The Emuwas wanted to design a product with herbal everyday life in mind.
From the push-cap packaging especially useful for treating stains and the occasional “ring around the neck” for small stains, to the four-ingredient composition so big handlers don’t have to worry about s whether they pour too much or not, Dinobi detergent leaves a wide margin of error for those who may not have the first idea of doing laundry.
“When I’m doing laundry I forget that I’m doing everything that’s good for the environment… it has to be convenient for people and we have to make sure that green living evolves in an accessible way in terms of price, but also acceptable in terms of what they can actually do and handle,” Augie added. of your skin at the same time.”
Not only their love for family and community, but Sylvia and Augie’s desire to make sure green living is accessible to everyone and simple is what drives them.