Maker Spotlight: Naa-Sakle Akuete of Eu’Genia Shea

At TO THE MARKET, we love working with companies and makers who live their values – and Women’s History Month is an especially great time to honor their contributions. One such maker is Naa-Sakle Akuete, co-founder of skincare brands Eu’Genia Shea and Mother’s Shea, the latter of which is available in over 900 Target locations nationwide. She and her mother, Eugenia, teamed up to launch their companies, drawing on Eugenia’s extensive experience in the Shea industry and Naa-Sakle’s Harvard business education.

Both brands were founded on the idea of offering products that aren’t full of chemicals or harsh ingredients. The shea nuts behind their world-famous shea butter are sourced in Ghana, where the company pays a fair wage to their talented female team. They’re also devoted to giving back: 15% of Eu’Genia Shea’s profits are put into an education fund for their employees.

Naa-Sakle thoughts on everything from industry to being part of a family business are sure to inspire you.

TTM: What’s it like working as a mother-daughter team?

Naa-Sakle: “Working together is like working with your biggest fan without always realizing it. Imagine being a 12 year old girl and trying to have a conversation with your mom. It can be horrible or it can be enlightening or it can be insanely boring, but either way you’re with someone who loves you more than anything. Working together is often like but even more fun because there’s money, people, and jobs at stake!”

Eugenia & Naa-Sakle

What’s something people frequently misunderstand about skincare?

“I won’t say misunderstand, but one thing that I have a different stance on than others is that I think simplicity is best. I really love minimal routines and multi-purpose products (which is why I like our balms so much). That’s in part because I’m lazy, but also because it feels like lots of products are overrated and mostly about marketing.”

What surprised you most about running this business?

“How little I know about everything.”

What’s your favorite thing about it?

“The obvious answer is being able to support causes that I feel passionate about (supporting women and creating beautiful quality products). The most underrated part is being able to work next to my husband every day (he works from home too).”

What are your favorite words to live by?

Get some sleep.

Stock up on the Eu’Genia Shea website or find Mother’s Shea at a Target location near you!