While many indie beauty brands eager to launch in new markets hope to be discovered at popular tradeshows (IBE, Founder Made, Beauty2), Menaye Donkor opted for a short-term retail partnership (during the holiday shopping season) and an intimate reception.
Shey launched on the Italian market just about a year ago, Donkor tells Cosmetics Design. The brand’s hero ingredient is shea, sourced from Ghana where Donkor’s family is from. “A Canadian-born Italian resident [and] former beauty queen from Ghana, Menaye Donkor is a young worldly woman proud of her African roots,” as press material shared at the Monday’s event describes her.
“I wanted to share the old traditions that I grew up with, with the rest of the world,” says Donkor.
Thus far, there two products in the Shey body care collection. The Shey body scrub and Shey body cream both come in three scents: black orchid, praline, and olive. And in October, the brand will expand to include body oils as well.
Donkor owns the Shey brand she founded; but to bolster its commercial success, she’s team up with the Frallain Group, an investment and promotion firm that specializes in luxury African brands.
The Frallain Group is invested mostly in apparel and leather goods (shoes, belts, bags), the group’s founder Roberta Annan tells Cosmetics Design. They work with brands, including Naked Ape, Mmusa, and Clive Randal.
Shey is the only beauty brand she and her colleagues have decided to work with. When asked what it was about the Shey brand that inspired the firm’s investment, Annan replied knowingly, “we like this.”
The Perfumarie was not only the venue for yesterday’s reception, it will be the retail home of Shey for the next three months. The concept shop is, first and foremost, a place where consumers can discover and learn about fragrance in the same way that they might get acquainted with wines, a flight a time. But the store is about a lot more than perfume.
The Perfumarie is a sort a brand incubator and a playground of sensorial discovery for consumers—which is why it’s a great place for an artfully sensorial brand like Shey. The shop’s fluid inventory of brands makes it place where consumers can discover new and distinctive products, ranging from food (honeys and hot sauces) and jewelry to handmade accessories and stationary. And of course there are plenty of perfumes to discover, from brands around the world (e.g. The Gates, Kajal, Victorine) as well as from the monthly flight of anonymous scents.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.