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Supermom: Leesburg mother of 14 juggles motherhood, business and education

Tammie Umbel of Leesburg is mother to 14 and launched Shea Terra Organics. Times-Mirror/Chantalle Edmunds
Simply put, Tammie Umbel is a mom in a million. The Leesburg superwoman has given birth to 14 children, aged between 26 and 4, home-educated every child and still found the time to set up an organic skin-care business while tending to a large number of animals on her farm.

Despite the potential for chaos, 44-year-old Umbel tackles life with a smile on her face and a calm persona. A Muslim convert at the age of 15, she married at 16 to her husband, who is a Pakistani-Indian. Originally from the state of Georgia, Umbel's ancestors were Appalachian hill people. She can trace her roots back to England in the 1500s.

Umbel manages to unite her individuality and motherhood by keeping her children by her side.

“The children are with me at the office and they travel with me when I go abroad for work and to source new ingredients,” Umbel said.

Umbel believes modern day mothers are sometimes quick to “rush their children off to be informed by others.” Her kids, eight girls and six boys, are educated to college level by their mother and through the Keystone home school program. The eldest is on course to become a doctor.

“I like to keep them occupied,” Umbel said. “We don't have a TV.”

The children help out on the farm, looking after six cats, an Emu, peacocks, three horses, a herd of cows, hens and bees. The honey and eggs produced are sold from the farm.

Umbel decided in 2000 to unite her interests in natural products with a desire to help people in third world countries. The result was the creation of her own skin-care business, Shea Terra Organics. Frequently meeting with people from around the globe, Umbel was exposed to different beauty treatments, and she sought to combine these different skin-care “secrets” and combine them into her own products.

“I am fascinated by different cultures,” Umbel said. “All the skin care and hair products are made using completely natural products.”

She founded Shea Terra Organics as a company “based on helping third world countries.” Umbel sources many of the ingredients for her products from Africa and works with a cooperative of women there. Her “Bananas and Monkey Bread Baby Butter” contains organic shea butter from Uganda harvested by women from a war-torn region as well as shea butter from a hippo preservation project in Ghana.

While ingredients like shea butter, argan oil, African black soap and black seed oil are sourced from the Middle East and Africa, production takes place in Sterling where 10 people are employed.

The products are distributed around the world with popularity in Korea, Canada and Kuwait. 600 vitamin shops in the U.S now stock Shea Terra Organics. Umbel is nevertheless ambitious to reach more markets.

“I deal with independent food stores and spas but I want to expand more. I'm trying to get the products into chains.”

Still, family comes first.

“I didn't set up a business because I necessarily needed the money. Being a mother didn't mean I wasn't an individual with ambition, but I have an obligation to my children first and foremost,” Umbel said.


Some people just look for ways to be offended. Resident of Ashburn Farm, you are wrong here. Sterling Local said nothing that would indicate a racial bias but you, as so many other people are doing nowadays, draw a ridiculous conclusion. You owe Sterling Local an apology.

@resident of Ashburn farm, how did you determine a bias from 7 words? I think you just inadvertently revealed your own bias.

SterlingLocal - I am impressed by a woman who gives birth to and raises 14 children, homeschools all of them, works a farm and starts her own business.  Maybe you are being snide because of her religion??

headline,Leesburg Mom works and raises kids.

Wow!  What a determined, strong, beautiful, smart woman.  We should all raise our children this way!Strong roots make strong trees.  A wonderful human to this world and to the America.  Can someone send this to Donald Trump to let him know that Muslims are human beings and a race does not determine where your heart and soul is.

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