For South Loop resident Abena Boamah-Acheampong, nkuto (aka uncooked, natural shea butter) had been a staple in her house rising up in Ohio. Nkuto was an ingredient her mom, Juliana, would add to her personal physique butter concoctions for household utilization.

“Dry pores and skin? My mother would say unfold nkuto on you. Physique pains, use nkuto. It was our go-to,” Boamah-Acheampong stated.

Now, as CEO and founding father of skincare model Hanahana Magnificence, Boamah-Acheampong desires to make shea butter merchandise everybody’s go-to. That’s not stunning to her mother, who stated, “I’ve by no means run out of shea butter in the home.”

On March 5, Hanahana merchandise went on cabinets at 400 Ulta Magnificence shops throughout the nation, together with Ulta’s landmark Magazine Mile website at 430 N. Michigan Ave.

Hanahana Magnificence merchandise are made with ethically and sustainably sourced Ghanaian-harvested shea butter. The bestselling objects are the amber vanilla and bamboo coconut shea physique butters and Hanahana’s two-in-one after-shower moisturizing and exfoliating physique bar.

The Ulta launch, a part of its Sparked initiative that makes rising manufacturers accessible, got here on Boamah-Acheampong’s thirty second birthday and Hanahana’s sixth anniversary. When speaking about her model’s trajectory since its creation in 2017, one can hear the smile and enthusiasm in her voice.

What began as items for mates and a tangible type of self-care that she made in her former three-bedroom Logan Sq. condo has become a South Loop-headquartered operation with a minimum of a dozen staff. She additionally has a partnership with the Katargia Cooperative in Tamale, Ghana, a cooperative of about 60 ladies who produce the shea butter Hanahana makes use of. Boamah-Acheampong’s dad and mom are from Ghana.

With grants from teams resembling magnificence firm Glossier and the cocokind influence basis, Hanahana Magnificence merchandise are bought not simply on the agency’s website and Ulta, however on, JCPenney and Chicago-based Asrai Backyard.

“Abena’s ardour and method to creating consciously clear skincare merchandise sourced straight from ladies in Ghana deeply impressed us, and we knew the model could be equally as thrilling for our Ulta Magnificence visitors to find,” stated Muffy Clince, director of rising manufacturers at Ulta Magnificence.

“I would like us to be a family title,” Boamah-Acheampong stated. “Loads of the those that grew with us now have youngsters, and their youngsters are even utilizing the product. That’s one thing that I wish to proceed as we proceed to department out. However I additionally wish to be actual intentional round how we develop.”

The model grew in the course of the pandemic due to shout-outs from celebrities and influencers, press concerning the consciously clear model, and an inflow of individuals caring extra about skincare whereas they have been at house, Boamah-Acheampong stated.

Development, for Boamah-Acheampong, means producing shea butter merchandise in Africa and rising gross sales within the U.S. and U.Ok. retail and e-commerce areas. Development additionally means transparency and sustainability — all issues the direct-to-consumer model prioritizes.

“Hanahana” within the Twi dialect of the Akan language spoken in Ghana means malleable, clean and flowing, Boamah-Acheampong stated. She hopes it interprets to prospects feeling clean and assured in their very own pores and skin.

“I’ve all the time been pushed round how do you assist folks,” Boamah-Acheampong stated. She displays on how the model brings humanity into the sweetness house, she stated.

“We try this by means of creating self-sustainable paths, from the producer we supply from — we pay two instances the asking worth for uncooked supplies — in addition to creating entry for well being look after the producers and their neighbors,” Boamah-Acheampong stated.

Hanahana supplies well being schooling to shea butter producers and farmers in rural communities throughout northern Ghana, in addition to tools enhancements for manufacturing, and advocacy for shea tree protections. Hanahana Magnificence’s Circle of Care social influence initiative works to enhance financial situations and environmental sustainability for ladies within the shea commerce.

“It’s about the way you deal with your group,” Boamah-Acheampong stated. “How will we deal with our group that’s sustaining us by means of our merchandise? How do I develop and scale this to be a profitable and impactful model that’s not deliberately dangerous, as a result of the sweetness house will be very dangerous, particularly to Black and brown our bodies.”

Jasmine Brown packages products at Hanahana Beauty in the company's headquarters in Chicago on March 2, 2023. The company’s products are now in 400 Ulta Beauty stores.

“I’ve tried a whole lot of skincare merchandise over time, however Hanahana Magnificence’s shea physique butter is fingers down my favourite,” stated Madea Neyor, a buyer since 2019. “I really like that it’s a easy, efficient and clear possibility for on a regular basis use. … It’s a model I be ok with supporting and championing.”

Previously on a path to changing into a scientific psychologist, Boamah-Acheampong now makes use of her remedy background to assist Hanahana’s magnificence staff and companions. Whether or not it’s a yoga session for workers or organizing Mom’s Day actions in New York, Chicago and Ghana, Boamah-Acheampong stated she tries to make use of all she’s discovered to assist Hanahana’s natural development.

“Black ladies globally have an effect on everybody and that’s how we consider our product philosophy and the way we create daily-use, results-driven merchandise,” she stated. “The coldness and dryness of Chicago undoubtedly impressed me to begin making my very own physique butters in 2014 for enjoyable. I used to be curious round components and boosting my very own self-confidence by figuring out what I used to be placing on my physique. I did that for a few years. And since 2017, and now launching in Ulta, it’s been a journey for certain.”

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