June 2020

Naa-Sakle Akuete of Eu’Genia Shea

Name: Naa-Sakle Akuete
Brand: Eu’Genia Shea
Established: 2015
Hometown: Brooklyn 

What motivated you to start?

My grandmother used shea butter all the time on pregnant moms for stretch marks and babies for diaper rash in her midwifery practice. Given this, mom was around shea butter all the time growing up in Ghana; in fact, shea butter is known as women’s gold in West Africa. After spending 20ish years in the US, mom returned to Ghana in early 2000 and rediscovered her love of shea butter as well as the fact that there are about 16 million women who support themselves and their families through the shea industry. Mom endeavored to bridge the gap between these rural shea nut pickers and global shea butter demand, eventually becoming an expert in the space. In 2013, Mom was diagnosed with stage iv colon cancer, so I helped her manage her business (selling bulk shea butter to other businesses) during her treatment. I eventually officially incorporated her business and launched our lines of finished products. 

What would you consider your hero product from your brand?

The Dermatological Formula in 2oz will be an immediate staple in your skincare arsenal. It’s 100% pure shea butter which makes an incredible multi-purpose balm, and it’s in a travel size container so very easy to take around with you. 

What standards/non-negotiables do you take into consideration when thinking about enhancing or developing new products?

Clean, effective, beautiful 

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges for "beauty/wellness" brands today?

Cutting through the noise to gain visibility in a world where some brands have millions available to pour into Facebook advertising.

What has been one of your proudest moments since creating Eu’Genia Shea?

Being featured in Vogue was a huge milestone for us.

https://www.vogue.com/article/naa-sakle-akuete-eugenia-shea-butter-business-inspired-by-her-mom

What can we expect in the future from Eu’Genia Shea?

We’re really excited about our new brand, Mother’s Shea. It’s currently available nationwide at Target – it’s our attempt at making our products truly accessible for everyone. 

What advice would you give customers who want to make the most out of your brand?

Make sure to check out and use the hashtag #HowDoYouShea for fun uses from others.

How do you start your day?

Catch up on the Eu’Genia Shea and Mother’s Shea Instagram pages and follow up with any customer service requests.

Do you have a morning/evening ritual?

During COVID-times, I’ve started beating my husband at chess before bed.

What is your daily skincare routine?

On a daily basis, I keep it pretty simple – just wash my face in the shower and shea up. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll pamper myself with products from Sahajan or One Love Organics (they have a great new facial cleanser).

Do you have a daily wellness routine?

When I’m living my best life, it includes meditation, but like everyone else, my best life is a distant memory and wellness routines have taken a backseat in my quarantine life.

What do you do for R&R when you need to reboot?

Hug my husband and take a walk

What are your must haves when traveling?

Shea butter, Burt’s Bees chapstick, hair goop, and Kaia Natural cleansing wipes.

What selfcare advice would you have given yourself 5 years ago?

Feeling rested is more about quality than quantity.