Meet The Ivy League Lawyer Who Quit Her Job to Launch Shea Butter Skincare Company

Meet The Ivy League Lawyer Who Quit Her Job to Launch Shea Butter Skincare Company

Things were going well for Shirley Menard during her time working in entertainment law and litigation. But after translating her legal skills to the world of small-batch natural skincare, she decided to learn everything she could about shea butter and eventually launched Beurre Shea Butter Skincare.

Established in 2011, Beurre Shea Butter Skincare is a New York-based shea skincare company dedicated to creating skincare products with pure, ethically sourced, and high-quality ingredients. Menard was brave and bold enough to leave her Ivy League legal career behind and focus on a passion project.


After a colleague from Ghana introduced her to a brick of shea butter, Menard discovered its hydrating, fortifying, and nourishing benefits and began building the foundation of Beurre.

“Honestly, I knew nothing about the beauty business,” Menard tells BLACK ENTERPRISE. “My background is in entertainment law and litigation, so learning about retail, wholesale, PR, and marketing in this space was a challenge, but once I got a handle on the basics, I was able to keep up.”

The transition wasn’t as smooth as her skincare products. Menard shifted from researching for cases to finding trade shows to display ad sell her products.

“In 2017, our vanilla body butter was nominated for Best Body Butter at the Independent Beauty Expo and we started getting great reviews from beauty magazines,” Menard says of her success in the beauty industry. “That gave me the confidence and comfort level to keep formulating and bringing Beurre to the masses.”

The Beurre product list includes the Shea Butter Body Cream (Vanilla) ($28), a signature body cream rich with softening raw Ghanian Shea Butter and a warm vanilla essence that creates a euphoric effect. The Shea Butter Eczema Cream ($28) is a natural alternative to drying, flaking, overpriced topicals that boosts circulation and keeps skin clear, balanced, and comfortable.

The Beurre Body Oil ($24) is enriched with jojoba oil and packed with nourishing vitamins to serve as an anti-aging agent that reduces the appearance of thin, creping skin. The Shea Butter Diaper Balm ($15) is made with calming chamomile, calendula oil, and vitamin E that soothes your baby’s bottom in between diaper changes.

“Every Beurre product is created with intention and purpose,” Menard says. “We believe that skincare is healthcare so our goal is always to create products that hydrate, moisturize, and offer relief to our customers.”

“Each line has a foundation of shea butter, but a different blend of herb-infused oils, all designed to come together to address a specific need,” she adds

After the pandemic put trade shows on hold and changed aspects of the Beurre business model, Menard wants to get Beurre Shea Butter Skincare into more households. Plans for a men’s line are in the works and Menard is hopeful about the brand’s success in the new year.

“One thing we’ve learned this past year is that we have to be flexible and just take everything day by day,” she says.