Elena Minnow shares her experiences and the many benefits of shea butter
Let me introduce you to Elena Minnow, the founder of Twenty20 Skincare. Minnow struggled with eczema and acne-prone skin all her life. She was prescribed topical creams and tried various lotions to help keep breakouts at bay, but they weren’t effective.
It took a trip to her grandmother’s hometown in Ghana, where she learned about shea butter and the amazing things it can do for your skin. Once she returned home to Canada, she knew she found something special. Minnow immediately started making her own shea butter to help treat her dry skin. She knew she had to share the benefits of shea butter with others.
FBI STYLE recently had the opportunity to chat with Minnow; she shares the benefits of using shea butter on the skin.
“It’s super moisturizing and contains vitamins A, E, and F, which promote circulation and cell regeneration,” she said. “These vitamins will give you glowy skin. It can help reduce or heal wrinkles and stretch marks. Shea Butter ranks 0-1 on the comedogenic scale, which measures how likely a skincare product clogs the pores. Non-comedogenic oils are oils that do not clog pores and have a comedogenic rating of 2 or less. Shea butter can also heal skin allergies or irritations like eczema and psoriasis like it did for me!”
In this exclusive interview with FBI STYLE, she talks about her skincare journey and her experience opening her own business.
FBI STYLE: How did having eczema-prone skin make you feel?
EM: I struggled with eczema on and off for years! It was irritating and embarrassing because I would have these dry patches all over my arms and back and didn’t know how to get rid of them. Now I know so much more about treating eczema, but at the time I was lacking the knowledge.
FBI STYLE: Tell me about Ghana and your relationship with your grandmother. How did you stumble upon shea butter while you were there?
EM: I always knew about shea butter because in Ghana, it is a household staple. Living in Canada, I didn’t consider using it because it wasn’t something you would find on the shelves. So when I had the chance to visit Ghana [in 2013], I made sure to bring some shea butter back to Canada. My relationship with my grandma was mostly long-distance since she was in Ghana and I in Canada, but I appreciated the time I got to spend with her. I learnt a lot from her – hence my business, so that was really cool. My grandmother used shea butter all her life and she had great skin!
FBI STYLE: What made you want to sell shea butter and start your own business?
EM: For several years I have been advocating a natural, cleaner beauty routine to those in my community. After making the changes myself, I realized how important it was to educate others. With that being said, I also began to notice the demand in ethical, all-natural skincare products. Being Ghanaian, I wanted to highlight the ingredients that I was familiar with and had known my family to be using for years. In Ghana, shea butter is in every home. It is so versatile and can be used in so many products. I started my business from the encouragement of my friends and family who know that I made great products and wanted to share it with others.
FBI STYLE: Why did you name your company Twenty20 Skincare?
EM: The name originates from a 1995 document published by the Ghanaian government titled, “Vision 2020,” I sampled a few names before deciding on this one, but ultimately landed on Twenty20. The idea of Vision 2020 is to stimulate socio-economic development for Ghanaians. Through my company’s purchase of fair trade shea butter, we enable women in the shea supply chain to improve their living and working conditions. In seeing the name, I remember why I do what I do, and stay true to my vision: delivering simple and clean products that enable well-being and nourish the earth. I also like the uniqueness of mixing the alpha and numeric notations of the numbers.
FBI STYLE: How do you make shea butter?
EM: I don’t make the raw shea butter. This is done in Ghana. The process of making shea butter is a labour of love. The shea nut is harvested and dried then pounded into small pieces that are roasted. The nuts transform into a dark chocolate colour paste from the roasting process and they are whipped with water. The mixture is purified so the fats rise to the top, and the oil settles at the bottom. The oil becomes hard and thus forms the raw Shea Butter that we use to make all our products.
FBI STYLE: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced when opening up a business?
EM: I would say a challenge that I found was around educating people about the benefits of shea butter. Because it is not a common ingredient in North America, a big part of selling our products has been around educating people about what it is, what it does and how it can benefit the buyer. Also, another challenge that I’m sure a lot of small businesses face has been acquiring the capital needed to grow the business. I’m not really a finance girl, so this has been a big learning curve. Thankfully, I have great mentors around me so I’m moving in the right direction.
FBI STYLE: Do you plan on expanding your product line and if so, what can we expect?
EM: Yes – definitely. We have a new product line in the pipeline which will hopefully launch before summer 2021! You can expect more body products.
FBI STYLE: Do you plan on introducing another main ingredient that’s sourced from Ghana?
EM: For sure! There are so many amazing ingredients that come from Ghana. For example, the honey that we use in our Citrus Honey Lip Balm comes from Ghana. But I would love to include more Ghanaian ingredients.
You can buy Twenty20 Skincare from their website and other retail stores across Canada. You can check out where to buy them here.
I’m a writer, photographer, and the (occasional) model. I’m a shopaholic and an avid makeup addict. My past time hobbies include: Binge-watching TV shows on Netflix, spending money I don’t have, and contemplating whether or not to UberEats Mcdonalds.