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Chicago-based Hanahana Beauty products hit shelves in 400 Ulta stores. Meet the woman who created the brand.

Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

CHICAGO — For South Loop resident Abena Boamah-Acheampong, nkuto (aka raw, organic shea butter) had been a staple in her home growing up in Ohio. Nkuto was an ingredient her mother, Juliana, would add to her own body butter concoctions for family usage.

“Dry skin? My mom would say spread nkuto on you. Body pains, use nkuto. It was our go-to,” Boamah-Acheampong said.

Now, as CEO and founder of skin care brand Hanahana Beauty, Boamah-Acheampong wants to make shea butter products everyone’s go-to. That’s not surprising to her mom, who said, “I have never run out of shea butter in the house.”

On March 5, Hanahana products went on shelves at 400 Ulta Beauty stores across the nation, including Ulta’s landmark Mag Mile site at 430 N. Michigan Ave.

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

The Ulta launch, part of its Sparked initiative that makes emerging brands accessible, came on Boamah-Acheampong’s 32nd birthday and Hanahana’s sixth anniversary. When talking about her brand’s trajectory since its creation in 2017, one can hear the smile and enthusiasm in her voice.


What started as gifts for friends and a tangible form of self-care that she made in her former three-bedroom Logan Square apartment has turned into a South Loop-headquartered operation with at least a dozen workers. She also has a partnership with the Katargia Cooperative in Tamale, Ghana, a cooperative of about 60 women who produce the shea butter Hanahana uses. Boamah-Acheampong’s parents are from Ghana.

With grants from groups such as beauty company Glossier and the cocokind impact foundation, Hanahana Beauty products are sold not just on the firm’s site and Ulta, but on, JCPenney and Chicago-based Asrai Garden.

“Abena’s passion and approach to developing consciously clean skin care products sourced directly from women in Ghana deeply inspired us, and we knew the brand would be equally as exciting for our Ulta Beauty guests to discover,” said Muffy Clince, director of emerging brands at Ulta Beauty.

“I want us to be a household name,” Boamah-Acheampong said. “A lot of the people that grew with us now have children, and their children are even using the product. That’s something that I want to continue as we continue to branch out. But I also want to be real intentional around how we grow.”


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