Lessons In Cool: 241 Cosmetics Founders Feven and Helena Yohannes

  • Written By:Alexandra Perron, Managing Editor
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Welcome to Lessons In Cool, a new series all about the people we’re constantly inspired by. They are tastemakers, curators of style, thought leaders, and well, just cool.

Meet Feven and Helena Yohannes, CEOs and founders of 241 Cosmetics (and yes, twin sisters). Originally from Eritrea, Africa and born in a refugee camp in Gibra, Sudan, their family made their way to the United States after being granted political asylum. “We like to think seeing our parent’s path from struggle to triumph completely influenced us as people and as founders,” says Helena. “They instilled the fundamental belief you lead with purpose, never forgetting your roots and always in service to others. The experiences and lessons they instilled in us as little twin girls would later play a pivotal role in our framework and brand ethos.”

The goal with 241 Cosmetics is to create an effortless beauty brand that instills confidence, kindness and integrity. With their collection of color cosmetics, the duo is doing just that. “Beauty to us is grace and resilience. And we instill those lessons in our products through the names and product descriptions,” says Feven. We caught up with the sisters to find out more about what cool means to them.

Name & Occupation

Feven Yohannes and Helena Yohannes, CEOs and Founders of 2•4•1 Cosmetics

Describe yourself in 3 words:

Feven: People have referred to me as: gracious, creative, driven.

Helena: Curious, optimistic, determined. These are words I say during my daily affirmation routine.

First thing you do when you wake up:

Feven: First thing I do in the morning is thank God for a new day, wash my face, brush my teeth, make my bed (religiously), then check my e-mais. If nothing is too pressing I will go for a run in my guestroom...yes you read that correctly! Since the gyms are closed due to the pandemic — I purchased a treadmill and wedged in between my guest room dresser and floor lamp. My view is literally my guest bed. I’m learning that ‘discipline’ is a muscle you have to exercise daily. Doing something active in the morning activates my mind.

Helena: Every morning, before I check my phone, I do my gratitude and affirmations and drink from my copper cup filled with water I poured the night before. It’s become a ritual of mine and something that has kept me grounded since the start of the pandemic. After I say the five things I am grateful for, I do 15 minutes of meditation. And to be completely transparent, learning to mediate is a process for me, but each day I know I’m getting stronger.

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The 5 beauty products you can’t live without:

Feven: That’s a no brainer! Our brand ethos is all about enhancing a woman’s beauty with classic products and I wear these products almost everyday: 2•4•1 Cosmetics Halo Eyeshadow, Black Caviar Black Gel Eyeliner, Double Trouble Mascara, Anastasia Brow Wiz in Dark Brown, and Jones Road Miracle Balm in Bronze.

Helena: 2•4•1 Cosmetics Double Trouble Mascara, Halo Eyeshadow, Jones Road Cool Gloss in Mocha Shimmer, Anastasia Brow Wiz in Dark Brown, and spring water (any brand will do). I know water isn’t typically a beauty product, but I can’t live without it and beauty does start from the inside, right?!

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Cool to me means being a kind person who leads with love, empathy and compassion for themselves and for others around them.

- Feven Yohannes

Your style uniform is:

Feven: Well, when I’m not in sweatpants and a robe my mother gave me...9/10 you will find me in a pair of blue skinny jeans (preferably Seven not just because it rhymes with my name but because they are super comfortable and flattering), a black top, my Yenae Tsirur Bracelet, Celine sunglasses, and black slingbacks.

Helena: Seven jeans, white top and black kitty heels paired with a dainty gold necklace from Esty, gold earrings from Yenae, and my Henry Mask!

The song you have on repeat:

Feven: I always say if I could sing like anyone in the world it would be, Jazmine Sullivan. I just watched her HBO Max special “Our Story to Tell” and my mind was officially blown! Her live vocals are pure magic. One particular song during her performance gave me chills and it's been on repeat ever since: “Lost One.”

Helena: I have a few on repeat right now. One is "Inside" by Red Rosamond, the second "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley and "Headlines" by Drake is my go-to warm up song. Yes, Drake, “The real is the rise!”

Recipe you’ve perfected:

Feven: I’m plant-based 5 days a week and love creating meal preps on Sunday for night for the busy week ahead. My plant-based Chickpea Cauliflower Curry topped with fresh basil, red onions, cucumbers and a side of garlic naan is my go-to! It’s delicious, super easy, colorful, and I figure since I’m mostly on Zoom meetings these days so I can be generous with the garlic and the red onions.

Helena: I eat plant-based mostly, so my recipes are usually clean and simple. Something I’ve made a lot during this pandemic is tomato and garlic pearl couscous with fresh basil. The smell of fresh basil literally makes me happy!

I’ve always admired people who manage to be present and grounded, so I guess that’s what I think is ‘cool.’

- Helena Yohannes

Last person you texted:

Feven: Always and forever my day o1, my bff and my business partner, Helena, about updating a few things on our website and what time she was going to go running: “Running is my xanax.” The game of business at times feels like a marathon — working out really is for our mental health.

Helena: Feven, of course. I wrote, “I think you’re talented.” She had just sent me a mood board for our new product shoot. I love working with my twin because we support each other and we can be straightforward.

What does “cool” mean to you?

Feven: Cool to me means being a kind person who leads with love, empathy and compassion for themselves and for others around them.

Helena: I’ve always admired people who manage to be present and grounded, so I guess that’s what I think is “cool.”

For more from Feven and Helena, follow @241cosmetics, @thereal_feven and @thereal_helena.

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