Unilever announced Monday that it will be acquiring Black-owned Sundial Brands – the company behind such leading hair care lines as SheaMoisture, Madam C.J. Walker Beauty and Nubian Heritage. Expected to generate $240 million in revenue this year alone, Sundial Brands has been at the forefront of natural hair and body care products targeted towards women of color, as well as a champion of inclusive beauty.
Before all we let out a collective sigh, it is important to note that founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis is not walking away from the company. Sundial Brands will operate as a standalone unit within Unilever and Richelieu will serve as CEO and Executive Chairman.
He has also teamed with Unilever to create a groundbreaking New Voices Fund dedicated to empowering women of color entrepreneurs. The companies have pooled together an unprecedented $50 million in seed monies, with a goal of doubling the fund through outside investments.
“I’ve always wanted Sundial Brands to be an inspiration to other minority-owned companies of how a business against all odds can achieve excellence, have significant social impact in our communities and be successful on a world stage,” said Richelieu Dennis in a statement. “I am excited Sundial and Unilever have created this partnership, rooted in a purpose-driven ethos, that represents an incredible opportunity to take our Community Commerce economic empowerment and impact model to another level.”
In addition, Esi Eggleston Bracey has been tapped to serve as Executive Vice President & COO of Unilever North America Personal Care beginning January 1.
“I’ve enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Esi,” said Richelieu, “and look forward to working with her to continue to change the game in beauty, personal care and community building.”
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it is expected to close in early 2018. Press play below to watch Richelieu, Esi and Unilever president Kees Kruythoff talk with image activist Michaela Angela Davis about the partnership, the New Voices Fund and next steps.