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  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

Love Orangutans? Shop the Pongo Lifestyle!

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

Ronna Phelps, the owner of Pongo Lifestyle is a lover of Great Apes, especially orangutans. She was a Volunteer Keeper's Assistant for orangutans and gorillas for 25 years. During that time, she became educated about these creatures and their habitat and became aware of the deforestation of palm oil crops and the direct impact that had on the existence of orangutans, gorillas and other inhabitants of the rainforest.

Here are some facts listed on the Pongo Lifestyle website about the impact the Palm Oil Industry has had on orangutans:

  • 80% loss of habitat over the last 30 years

  • 90% population loss over the last 10 years

  • 50% probability of extinction in the wild within the next 10 years

In response, Ms. Phelps created a palm oil free skin care line named Pongo in honor of the orangutans. "Pongo" is the scientific name for the orangutan. Pongo became the first nationally and internationally distributed palm oil free body and skin care line.

Ms. Phelps has since developed several other product lines:

  • Rainforest Kisses (lip balms and bath products)

  • Grape Ape (a line of kid's products)

  • Rock of Apes (a body care and clothing line with a rock and roll edge)

  • Camp Pongo (outdoor products)

  • Pongo Pet (accessories and grooming products for pets) and

  • Indah (body care with an exotic mix of floral and spice).

All of these product lines came together to form Pongo Lifestyle, a business with a mission to sell luxurious cruelty-free and palm oil free products. Proceeds from the sale of items at Pongo Lifestyle help support Orangutan Project, Center for Great Apes and Orang Tan Repuiblik. The store's design is beautiful and artistic. There are amazing wall murals everywhere that were painted by a local artist. The store is filled with an eclectic mix of items, including all of the Pongo product lines created by Ms Phelps. I loved exploring all the nooks and crannies of this store admiring the selection of products, the merchandising displays and the artwork. And I felt good that my purchase helps out the Great Apes and orangutans.

My sister and I spent a long time chatting with Ronna and her assistant learning about Ronna's background and the history of the Pongo product lines and the opening of the physical store location at 5738 South Rapp Street. Her story was so interesting and inspiring and her love for the Great Apes and orangutans was apparent. You can follow the store's instagram for more insight into its' products and mission!


-Rhonna Phelps

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