Noticing Neighbors Yawa & Co.


Yawa Mensah is the founder of Yawa & Co., and she wants you to feel confident in your own skin. Yawa & Co. offers body scrubs, cocoa butter, and body wash that pairs quality ingredients with the goal of affordability. She has customers that write in to let her know how much they love the product, and her scents are selected for the intention of self love and care.

The company’s success came out of a career change for Yawa, and she sat down to share the stories behind her business.

Hayley: There's such a life and energy to what you're doing. Can you introduce your business and talk about what you do?


Yawa:

Sure, Yawa & Co. is a bath and body business. This started about a year and a half ago, because I was officially due for a career change. I was a lab manager at a company here in the Kansas City area, and I felt the need to switch gears—while still using skills that I've acquired through my education and job experience. So that's how Yawa & Co. was born.

Through Yawa & Co. we offer handmade soaps, body cream, sugar scrubs, bath bombs, shower steamers, and pretty much all products are related to personal care. I've been officially selling for almost a year and a half now!


Hayley:

While you are creating it, I bet it’s awesome to think that people are using it to take care of themselves.


Yawa:

It is.


Hayley:

That's beautiful. Can I ask, are there any cool scents or colors that you are especially liking right now?


Yawa:

I'm big on anything sweet. It's summertime, and I love fruity scents. I know a lot of people don't like overly sweet smells, but I find there are times where I want something fruity.

My personal favorite of all time is Cocoa Butter Cashmere. There is something about that scent—it's the smell. It's everything. It's a sexy smell. That's how I like to call it!


Hayley:

I'm actually really tempted, I've not heard of that scent. That sounds sultry.


Yawa:

Hold on, let me see if I can read you the scent profile.


Hayley:

That'd be awesome!


Yawa:

It's described as warm, intriguing, deep and sensual. With vanilla, coconut, jasmine, cocoa butter, and amber with a sandalwood musk. I haven't met anybody that has not loved the scent yet. It's actually my best seller, so people rave about it. I can’t keep it in stock!


Hayley:

That's a great problem to have! So what does the process look like? Are you coming up with different notes and scents you want to combine, or how does that work?


Yawa:

I wish I was, but at this time, I do not. I have suppliers that make the fragrance, and I’m very thoughtful about the quality of the ingredients. Before I get the fragrance, I'll go read about the scent profile, and think about what I can make. What is this scent suitable for? Soap, or candles? I like to let the scent dictate what I do with it.


Hayley:

You seem very in-tune with describing when to use the scents for an occasion. Does that bring a little extra joy into the process? Providing something that people use on a fun night out, or a cozy time taking care of themselves?


Yawa:

Definitely. Sometimes I still can’t believe that I'm doing this, in a sense. Getting people's feedback and hearing how it's helping them, or that it's contributing to some part of their life, brings me joy. It motivates me to keep going and keep doing what I'm doing. So it's like the little push that I need.

Hayley:

Are there any specific stories you know about where it’s helped someone take care of themselves?


Yawa:

I have people writing to me all the time. There’s this girl—I call her my number one fan because she's always buying something! She tells me how for so long she has been battling with eczema and dry skin, and has tried a lot of different products that are both in stores and handmade. None of them have worked as well for her as mine have. So that's what she uses now!

It makes me feel great, and know that I’m doing something worth doing.


Hayley: I love that you're talking about the meaning behind it, and that actually brings me to my next question. I’m really curious about this—I saw that you took one a month where you're donating to Hope House.


Yawa:

Yeah.


Hayley:

Could you talk about what motivated you to do that?


Yawa:

Well, I always like to give back. With Hope House, it's about the victims of abuse getting back to having a normal life and providing support.

That hit home a little bit for me because I have family members that dealt with domestic violence. I wanted to support because it's not easy to transition from that type of environment to moving forward and reestablishing yourself and having a better life, so to speak. I felt inclined to help in a way that I could, even if it's not as big as some of the biggest companies out there are doing. I wanted to contribute my two cents to it.


Hayley:

That's amazing. Seems like you know every contribution matters, and so you're putting your values first.

If someone is looking to try some of these scents, what's a good way to find you?


Yawa:

Well, I work out of my home studio in Gardener, Kansas, but I have some different spots around the city that carry some of my stuff. Two great places to check out are Yarn Social, which is downtown, and the KC Bloom plant boutique.


Hayley:

Awesome.


Yawa:

On my website, I also have these cute sample sizes. So if you don't want to buy a full size item, those are a great way of trying it before you commit.



Hayley:

You've had such a meaningful career switch. How have you seen goodness through it? Have you seen something in yourself that you were really surprised by, or something in the community?


Yawa:

First of all, what I'm doing is way out of my comfort zone. People who know me, know that I'm a very shy person. It took a lot for me to be able to put myself out there and do this. I would say that I still struggle with it at times because being such a shy and reserved person, it's hard to go out there and engage with people. But then I go to those events, and when I meet people they are so sweet. They are supportive, and they get excited about what I'm doing and how I'm moving from one career to the other. It's like they're supporting your dream even though they are strangers not knowing you. When I see all of that, I can only be thankful. It's been great having to experience that, because it wasn't something that I would have thought I would be able to do. Whenever I hear a neighbor tell me, “Oh my gosh, I've used your product! I love it so much!” I’m still baffled.


Hayley: When people use your products, what are you hoping that they experience?


Yawa:

I want them to feel good about themselves, to love themselves, and to enjoy the skin they are in. You don't have to have all the products in a store to make yourself feel good, or break the bank to make it happen. I want people to know it's affordable, and you don't have to break the bank to do it. As long as you feel good about yourself and you're confident in your skin, I think you are winning.


Keep up with the latest scents and pop-ups with Yawa & Co. through their website, TikTok and Instagram. All media originally published by Yawa & Co. via their online platforms.