How a Former Math Teacher Built a Luxury Beauty Brand for Black Women

Ghanaian-American CEO founded Hanahana Beauty, ethically sourcing Shea Butter from Ghana, empowering local women.

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How a Former Math Teacher Built a Luxury Beauty Brand for Black Women

Abena Boamah-Acheampong, a Ghanaian-American CEO and former algebra teacher in Chicago, Illinois, founded Hanahana Beauty in 2017 to “increase accessibility, transparency, and sustainability.” 

She had an educational background in education and psychology, but ultimately found her calling in entrepreneurship by launching her beauty brand. Abena later obtained an M.Ed. from Loyola University while launching Hanahana Beauty.

Discovering the process of shea production fascinated her, she started thinking about creating her pros when she realized she had no clue what she was putting on her body. Sparked, a brand incubator under Ulta, became interested in Hanahana Beauty and supported its development until over 500 stores had it on their shelves. 

During a Forbes interview, Abena stated she had raised over $400K in funding through angel investors, building solid relationships that resulted in investors, and eventually created a community fundraiser under WeFundher. She has remained set on the power of community, referring to it as the strength of their brand. 

“I cannot build a company that is based on impact and work with people intimately if I’m not living close enough to be able to interact with them and build our structure”

As a Ghanaian, Abena knew that Shea Butter from the source was inexpensive, with a kilo costing around 39¢, which made no sense to her. She started paying double the amount to the cooperative, building a solid relationship with them over the years as the company grew. 

According to their website, shea Butter, a commonly found ingredient in their products, is sourced directly from Tamale, Ghana, and produced by Katariga women. With a commitment to being intentional about ingredients, unlike most companies in the market, Boamah-Acheampong has Black women at the forefront of its formula. 

The brand has grown tremendously, with new products released and shoutouts from celebrities like Beyonce. She credits the Black Lives Matter movement for contributing to a boost in the business as communities attempt to become more intentional with how money is spent and circulated. 

Abena Boamah-Acheampong has shown that creating great products with the Black and African communities in mind is possible without overpricing or unethical sourcing. 

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