By Paul Ndiho
This fascinating story is about a Ghanaian woman who quit her corporate job in the United States and moved back to West Africa to launch a lifestyle brand for natural products. Since returning to her native country, Nana Ama Yankah has turned her passion into a profitable business.
It has been said that being passionate about your work is the key to success. Nana Ama Yankah is no exception. It was her passion that triggered her to start Naya Naturals lifestyle brand for natural products — and she has literary turned her brother’s garage into a mini factory.
“This is raw Shea butter; we melt, we get it from the northern part of Ghana. I have met some people who actually process it in the north. I call them up and they send me some…
Nana says that using Shea Butter in various products is a business she’s had in mind for the last five years.
“I make two types of products – this is Shea butter that is mixed with oil – this is my orange and mint fusion – so this is Shea butter that has been mixed with coconut oil – Smells good.
“I started playing with Shea Butter products because some of my friends had some interest and they started bringing it around and this natural hair trend had started and Shea Butter was the baby of it.”
Nana says that many commercial creams irritated her sensitive skin, and that’s when she developed the idea to start making her own product line from local and imported materials.
“We have the mango, the banana and the papaya, ginger, lime and coconut and then we have almonds and chocolate.
Regarding her own technical knowledge of the Shea Butter making process, Nana admits, she did not have any formal training or background in chemistry – but she certainly does now.
“I’m not a Chemist by any measure. But through this process of learning and trying to make a good quality product, I’ve been able to learn the chemistry involved to make these creams.”
Like any start-up company, it’s not without its challenges. For example, getting her product line certified citified and approved by the Ghana Standards Authority took a long time. And of course, the constant problems with power blackouts. But despite these hurdles she has a very positive attitude.
“Our goal is to make products that people can identify with, they know what it is, and they’re natural from things that we find around us.”
Naya Naturals products can be found in several local Ghanaian shopping malls, at fairs and exhibitions. They deliver locally and sell and ship internationally.
Although there are many body care products on the market, making Shea Butter creams can be a perfect business opportunity, if you have the right people to market the product like Maame Serwaa.
“These creams nourish your skin, moisturized it, it rejuvenates and also protects the skin from direct sunrises and they have no side effects.”
Cosmetic experts say Shea Butter has qualities that make it a popular ingredient in many cosmetic supplies, lotions, and other skin care products.
Paul Ndiho is a Ugandan – American video journalist/ executive producer, Africa Innovations & Technology based in Washington D.C with interests in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Africa. He is passionate about mentorship and developing the next generation of Africa’s young leaders. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook: Paul Ndiho and Twitter: @pndiho