Shea Butter

The Journey of Hanahana Beauty: From Home-Based Operation to Global Success


Nov. 20 2023, Published 6:31 p.m. ET

Small businesses need an over-the-moon marketing budget to penetrate any industry and showcase the value of their products. Most small startups don’t have that kind of money to burn, so they remain grounded, and the larger society doesn't get to enjoy the value these businesses aim to bring.

The success of the Hanahana Beauty brand is a clear-cut example of the heights even a small value-driven business can fly to when given the support it deserves. From a simple home-based operation, the brand has grown into a trusted source of natural hydrating body products, helping people of color have relaxed and moisturized skin.

From Humble Beginnings to a Soaring Success

Since she was young, Abena Boamah, the CEO of Hanahana, has always been keen on her appearance, with a strong desire to get radiant skin. However, she quickly realized the lack of transparency in the beauty industry, where most brands use deceitful marketing strategies that overpromise their product's capabilities and quality.

However, she knew a thing or two about making skincare mixtures. Growing up, she had seen her mother heat up shea butter and cloves and add them to her body butter concoctions for their family use.

And this was enough to get her going. In 2014, while she was still an Algebra teacher, she started using shea butter and essential oils to make products for her own use, with no intention of selling them.

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It was not until 2017, after constant encouragement from her friends and family, that she decided to scale the production and turn it into a business. Committed to utmost transparency and sustainable beauty, Hanahana was born.

Devotion to Authenticity

Hanahana has always been keen on the ingredients, sticking to only the natural and nourishing. In addition, the brand only sources shea butter from the Katariga Women’s Shea Cooperative in Ghana, maintaining a pure, unadulterated flow of its main ingredient.

This authentic principle paid off, soaring the business to international highs. Abena’s dedication to quality, coupled with her authentic storytelling and commitment to empowering Ghanaian women through fair trade practices, resonated deeply with consumers.

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Within no time, Hanahana Beauty’s luxurious yet affordable products found their way onto the shelves of major retailers.

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Commanding Humanity in the Beauty Industry and Beyond

Someone had to bring some sanity to this highly secretive and often shady industry, and Hanahana gladly made this its responsibility. In addition to coming open about all the ingredients it uses to make the products, the brand wanted to give the ingredients’ producers better care.

This is what led to the birth of Hanahana Circle of Care. The main goal of the non-profit organization is to enhance the lives of both the people involved in product manufacturing and the customers. To show their truthfulness to their word, the company pays the producers twice the industry wage and has developed programs to enhance their access to healthcare.

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It sets biannual healthcare days, serving over 1,000 women and children in Katara, Ghana. It also holds monthly health education days, which include teachings on reproductive health in schools within the butter-producing communities.

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Holding Other Brands’ Hands on the Rise

The brand doesn't just aim to impact society but also inspire other brands, helping them scale sustainably. On their sixth anniversary, Hanahana announced their collaboration with mega beauty retailer Ulta in a move to impact other skincare brands and shoppers by giving them visibility to products that prioritize nourishing ingredients and fair labor practices.

It is a big boost to the accessibility of the brand's products, helping it introduce its products to audiences they otherwise couldn't reach through their organic marketing campaigns. It’s a step closer to their goal of becoming a household name.

One Black-Owned Business’ Success Is a Win for the Entire Community

The journey and the rise of the Hanahana brand to its current global reach shows the immense power that these small, purpose-led businesses hold. Its rise doesn't only impact the immediate founders but has gone forth to change the lives of the producers’ communities for good.

All this while keeping a bright tab on the sustainability and transparency of their endeavors. It’s enough to prove that supporting a single black-owned business can impact more lives than you can imagine. What if you supported more?

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