This is the success story of two women-owned and women-led businesses; Contes de Flore and Organic Trade and Investments (OTI).
All it took was an interaction during a business event outside their respective countries for the two companies to realise the potential of their individual strengths. They would later come to know that they could achieve even more if they joined forces.
It was in 2017, around the time Organic Trade & Investments was officially launched, when Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Esther Ama Asante, upon receiving an invitation to the SheTrades event held by the International Trade Centre (ITC).
Subsequently in 2018, Esthy joined a Business-to-Business (B2B) session in Liverpool. A forward thinking Esthy who had sent some samples of OTI’s authentic cocoa and shea butters impressed the people she interacted with. One of them was Preeti Bedi, founder of Contes de Flore, an Indian cosmetics company.
Esthy recounts how Preeti was “much impressed with what we had”. They decided to stay in touch when they returned to their respective countries to follow up on their conversation.
“Preeti and I had a B2B session, which was just about 15 to 20 minutes of talk, but then from there, we said since we connected so well, we would keep chatting after the session. And so we exchanged business cards,” she narrated.
That was exactly what happened. Esthy and Preeti kept exchanging emails every other month.
Since they were both eager to learn more about how to work with each other, the relationship was natural. Although Preeti was enthusiastic about purchasing some products from her new client (OTI), she was unsure about how to transport goods all the way from Ghana.
This brought up the issue of accessibility. Esthy proposed to Preeti to take up the role of a partner in her country to ease the accessibility of goods to clients in her region, an offer that was easily accepted.
This was welcomed news as Esthy was already looking to export some products from India. That was the start of a blossoming business relationship between these two women across different continents whose businesses share common values.
Organic Trade & Investments went on to sign a Bilateral Trade Agreement with Contes de Flore. The tenets of this contract allows both companies to represent, negotiate, and transact business on behalf of each other in their countries. This agreement is subject to renewal bi-annually.
According to Esthy, this is a mutually beneficial agreement because “both companies can go about their businesses independently of the other, while they are still partners.”
“It is all about opening up to each other’s market and facilitating the accessibility and movement of products in each other’s market,” she explained.
Essentially, Preeti is a point of contact between OTI and clients in India and its neighboring countries, making her eligible for a Commercial Officer in India. In addition, Contes de Flore can repackage and resell OTI’s natural ingredients including its organic unrefined shea butter.
Already, they have achieved some feats with this partnership by getting some new clients for their respective businesses, something they hope to keep doing for a very long time.
The Bilateral Trade Agreement between these two companies reflects the long history between India and Ghana. This is evident in the big Indian community present in Ghana.
Under this trade Agreement, OTI’s Ghanaian authentic organic shea butter and cocoa butter are being sold on Amazon India under the brand name Bonsoul.
ABOUT CONTES DE FLORE
Founded by Ms Preeti Bedi, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Contes De Flore is based in Bangalore, India.
She has a corporate career of more than a decade in renowned Indian companies and has worked in various positions across different industry verticals.
In her words, the company was set to propagate “the need to create an environment where sustainable products are developed and marketed as per customer requirements”. “The aim is to work across different continents where we can deliver quality products and can make a difference to the people through meaningful partnerships and alliances.”
Being an environmentally conscious company, the business strives to have a sustainable value chain across the globe for all stakeholders and provide products that enhance the wellbeing of people and the planet.
Its range of products like Natural Soaps, Lotions, Body Butter, Balms, Scrubs, Salts and Oil blends are sulphate and paraben-free and comprise the best ingredients nature has to offer. All the products on sale are customised based on demographics and lifestyle as per the climatic conditions of the various geographies globally.