Hind El-Aoufi is the Co-Founder of youforher, a social enterprise established in 2019 that produces 100% pure, organic argan oil for culinary and beauty purposes. Growing up in Morocco, Hind left the green, coastal town of Rabat for the city when she moved to Paris to study a master’s degree in Strategy and Innovation. After taking part in an exchange program focused on entrepreneurship in Austin, Hind developed her leadership skills before following her interest in positive psychology and is currently completing a PHD.
Hind’s combined passion for psychology and her entrepreneurial spirit guided her through her expansive 11- year career at Capgemini, supporting businesses and helping them evolve their mindsets, behaviours and ways of working. It was when Hind created a Social Innovators team at Capgemini that she honed in on her calling of bringing social impact and sustainability to the forefront of organisations. These two values are carried into her work at youforher. A true humanitarian at heart, Hind has also volunteered at the Asylum Seekers Center in Sydney, supporting asylum seekers and helping them gain confidence to find a job.
It was after multiple conversations with friend and now business partner, Jacqui Manoukian, that the two noticed a gap in the Australian market for 100% pure organic argan oil. Witnessing the gender inequality in Morocco first hand, Hind knew she wanted to establish a business that supported these women in their journey towards equal opportunity. Becoming a mother consolidated Hind’s drive to create a natural, pure product that was sustainably sourced and ethically produced. Although Hind currently has her hands full being a new mother to young Lyla, and new business owner, she enjoys pilates, cooking and swimming in her downtime and has a passion for philosophy.
“youforher is a social enterprise with a purpose to support women equality. Our aim is to share love, kindness and compassion in this world, through providing high quality, ethical and sustainable products. We sell high quality, 100% pure organic argan oil. This precious oil comes directly from an ethical all-female cooperative in rural Morocco. At youforher, we also reinvest more than half of our profits back to support girls and women of the Moroccan region, who currently lack basic opportunities, such as education.
With Hind, growing up in Morocco, and Jacqui, visiting Morocco as an Australian, our hearts led us to the women seeking a better future through education. Our core focus of women equality arose from witnessing the large gender equality gap, with approximately 40% of Moroccan women being illiterate, near double that of men. Girls in rural communities are particularly disadvantaged by the arduous long distances to access schools. We want to bridge this gap.”
What led you to start your business?
I was working as a consultant in the corporate world and reached a point where I was looking for more purpose and meaning. I started volunteering for an asylum seekers center in Sydney, and it brought a higher sense of achievement at the end of each day. This journey led me to think of creating a company that would serve a higher purpose and make a difference in our world.
Through talking to my friend Jacqui, who was looking for more purposeful work and was considering entrepreneurship, we thought up the concept of a social enterprise. youforher started as a result of my own inner questioning, along with all of the possibilities that Jacqui opened my eyes to. As a Moroccan living in Sydney, I missed our Moroccan treasure, argan oil. I also knew that the women making the oil were courageous, and it would be wonderful to make a difference in their lives. The idea of creating a business that would bring health to Australians and more freedom to the Moroccan women gave us both so much energy, it led us to start youforher!
Describe yourself in 3 words…
Dreamer, Messy, Passionate
Do you have a favourite app?
I love ‘The Wonder Weeks’. It’s an app for new mums that explains the psychology of ‘development leaps’ for babies. As a new mum, it’s amazing to be able to understand the massive and exponential growth your child is going through especially during those first six months. It really allowed me to understand how magical life is and how every small step of understanding a baby makes is so huge and significant.
What’s a quote you live by?
“If you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, your job is to empower somebody else” – Toni Morrison
I think the world would be a better place if we all had more empathy and looked beyond self to improve the lives of others. I feel more and more strongly about it, when we see the growing inequalities, social injustice, depression and anxiety in our wealthy and modern world. I feel grateful to be free, educated, and surrounded with love and hope to be able to bring more kindness to it.
Who is the wisest woman you know?
My grandmother. She passed away a few years ago but she’s still present in our memories.
What have you learnt from her?
She taught me confidence and to ‘design my own life’. To believe in myself. My grandmother was Moroccan with a strong personality and a great sense of humour. She used to ask me what I wanted to become or do when I grew up and I used to answer ‘I don’t know’. And with a lot of humour she would answer “If you don’t know, who will?”. It made me laugh and realise I was the only one who had to decide. A scary but enlightening and empowering thought.
What motivates you?
What motivates me is knowing we are contributing to making the world a more equal place for women, starting with the community of courageous women making our organic argan oil. Working towards a purpose, with my partner Jacqui, and hoping to connect communities of women from different worlds: from Australia to Morocco. I recently had a baby girl who has both backgrounds. Lyla is Moroccan and Australian. Knowing that when she grows up and starts understanding our world, that I was part of youforher and we created more bridges between those two worlds, and two cultures, will hopefully make her proud of her mama. 🙂