My name is Susan Edwards and I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. My passion for STEM led me to get a degree in chemical engineering at Stanford and work in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry after college. I earned my MBA at the Kellogg School of Management where I met my husband and fellow grad student, Varsay Sirleaf. Varsay, a Liberian immigrant who grew up during that country’s civil war, always wanted to return to his birth continent and make an impact. So, we moved to Nairobi where I began working in private equity and he, in development finance. Several years later, we eventually made it to his home of Monrovia, Liberia.
I have experienced flaking on my scalp since college and the shampoos recommended to me by dermatologists were severely drying out my hair. And I wasn't alone. My family members, friends and colleagues were also looking for better solutions to address their scalp issues and banish dry hair. I decided to formulate products that would revive my hair and eliminate flaking and over two years, I tested formulations with friends and family in Ghana and Liberia.
In 2017, I launched Uhai in Liberia. At Uhai (which means life in Swahili), we believe in creating products that deliver key nutrients and moisture to the hair and scalp by using the continent’s powerful botanics. Our inaugural product collection features baobab, a superfood from southern and western Africa that has the highest antioxidant content of any fruit.
We are also building a community of women across the diaspora that embrace wellness and self care. In the past, I have put myself and my health last – resulting in stress-induced shedding and breakage. By embracing wellness – which included being intentional about how I care for my hair – I am better able to live out my life, and dreams, to the fullest.
Since 2017, we have expanded across the African continent into Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya and in 2019, I relocated back to my home of Chicago. I am excited to expand our global tribe and make Uhai a staple in your wellness and healthy hair journey.