Rewriting the Narrative of Menopause: Meet Wellness Advocate Valencia Griffin-Wallace
Valencia Griffin-Wallace, the visionary behind Akanni Beauty, spearheads a revolutionary shift in how society views menopause. Women have endured the weight of misconceptions and stigmas associated with this life transition for far too long, but Valencia’s mission is to change that narrative. With a range of carefully crafted menopause products, Valencia provides a guiding light through the multifaceted challenges of this phase.
An accomplished best-selling author and influential women’s empowerment speaker, Valencia has always championed unapologetic living and meaningful change for women. However, her own perimenopause onset at 42 became a pivotal moment. When faced with the choice of hormone replacement therapy, she paused, determined to find a natural alternative. Her unwavering belief in the power of nature led her on a profound journey, resulting in the birth of Akanni Beauty. The brand lives up to its name by bestowing women with natural solutions and empowerment. Through ‘The Me (Menopausal) Time Experience,’ a subscription box that blends luxury and necessity, Valencia offers practical relief and uplifts women artisans who share her mission. She has also fostered a vibrant online community, ‘Akanni Women,’ on Facebook, where she imparts insights into natural remedies, and encourages open discussions about menopause with a diverse group of women. In this way, Valencia provides the support, holistic solutions, and empowering education she once sought during her own menopausal journey, making Akanni Beauty a true force of change in the women’s wellness landscape.
Learn more about the aging women’s wellness advocate Valencia and her brand Akanni Beauty.
Tell us more about the inspiration behind the name “Akanni” and its significance in your journey to support women through menopause.
Valencia: The name “Akanni” holds a special place in my heart. In Yoruba, it translates to “our meeting brings gifts.” This resonated with me when it came to me in a dream during my search for the perfect business name. I took it as a sign that every woman’s journey, especially during menopause, is a gift — a unique experience that brings wisdom, strength, and beauty. For me, the name encapsulates the essence of community, empowerment, and the invaluable gifts that come with aging. It’s a reminder that in the collective journey of menopause, our shared experiences and wisdom are the greatest gifts we can offer each other.
You transitioned from being a best-selling author and women’s empowerment speaker to founding Akanni Beauty. What motivated you to make this transition and focus on menopause products?
Valencia: My own journey through perimenopause was the catalyst. As I navigated my personal experiences and changes, I was confronted with the gaps: a lack of education and genuine understanding surrounding menopause. Even though I was leading a natural life, it felt challenging to find comprehensive, natural solutions tailored for menopausal symptoms.
Recognizing this need, combined with my searches that showed the lack of diversity in representation, products that screamed “I’m in menopause,” and the dominating anti-aging rhetoric, I was motivated to make a change. Age, to me, symbolizes wisdom, growth, and experience — values that seemed to be lost with the prevailing narratives in the market.
At Akanni Beauty, our mission is twofold: to educate and empower. We ensure each product serves its purpose and educates our community on the symptom(s) it addresses and its natural effectiveness.
Additionally, I felt that the market’s push for hormone therapy often overshadowed the potential and preference for natural remedies. Many women, due to other health needs, can not take HRT, and others like me who choose not to.
The need for products that marry aesthetics with efficacy was evident. Hence, our eco-luxury branding was born, meeting the desires of women, like myself, who want their products to look as good as they work.
In short, I created the environment I needed when my journey started so other women don’t go through some of the things I did.
Your decision to avoid hormone replacement therapy in favor of natural solutions is interesting. Could you share some of the natural remedies or practices that have been particularly effective in your journey through perimenopause?
Valencia: Absolutely! My journey with perimenopause was about tuning into my body’s needs and seeking natural, holistic solutions. Some pivotal practices include meditation for relaxation, natural cooling sprays for hot flashes, and journaling for mental clarity. Essential oils have also significantly affected mood regulation and sleep patterns. Also, bath soaks that contain natural oils, Epsom, and goat milk powder help with the skin changes and insomnia. My commitment to these practices was a large part of the inspiration behind Akanni Beauty’s products.
The “Me (Menopausal) Time Experience” subscription box sounds intriguing. What are some of the essential components and resources included in this unique offering?
Valencia: The “Me (Menopausal) Time Experience” is more than just a subscription box; it’s a curated journey. Each box has eco-luxury products tailored to address specific menopausal emotional and physical challenges. Many small and woman-owned menopausal brands share our values. The Me Time Experience is a way to showcase the natural products of these brands as well. Additionally, subscribers receive educational resources, expert advice, and access to our exclusive community, ensuring every woman feels supported and understood. My network of women therapists, estheticians, health and wellness coaches, along with physicians are not only supportive but also have great advice to share with our subscribers.
How can people connect with you?
Valencia: You can find me on Instagram at @akanni.beauty/ @valencia.gwallace, join our vibrant ‘Akanni Women’ community on Facebook, or visit our website at www.akannibeauty.com. Whether you seek support, collaboration, or just a chat, I’m here!