Words like empower, revolution, and sustainable resources predominate the conversation – when you ask richelieu dennis, the founder, and CEO of Sundial Brands, about beauty and skincare products. Dennis, also known by his alias “Rich,” began his career by hawking African black soap and raw shea butter on the streets of Harlem. Today, he is in charge of a multinational company that has recently given a close to $1 billion valuation. And along with that growth comes a great deal of responsibility.
Serving a Cause Greater Than Yourself
Dennis was motivated to carry on his grandmother Sofi Tucker’s tradition of making African black soap and Shea butter to help families through natural resources. He established the Sofi Tucker Foundation in honor of his grandmother, which awards grants to organizations working to improve the quality of life for women, their families, and communities in America and Africa. We helped them rise from the base of the pyramid to become value-added suppliers of finished goods “SXSW with richelieu dennis. 98% of the women who live far from us can provide for their families by starting their businesses, sending their kids to school, and having health insurance.
Freedom’s Effect on a Successful Brand
For Rich Dennis, the United States brought much-needed independence. As there was no public upheaval, he did not have to worry about curfews set by the government in the evening. Additionally, there were no restrictions on having and implementing ideas. With his newfound freedom, he had countless options.
Dennis recognized the need for a point of difference because so many individuals were setting up card tables and trying to sell goods. Beepers were popular back then, so he used one to deliver goods to vendors before moving on to supply flea markets, country fairs, and health food stores.
Dennis considered entering the retail industry as his exposure to supply stores and their everyday in-person encounters with customers. At the level of the – retail store – it was clear that the Black community was not getting served. The limited selection, awkward placement on the sales floor, and difficulty of the products meant that the Black female customer had to visit several locations to find the beauty products she desired.
Dennis was aware that Sundial brands could provide the goods and services that the Black community demanded and that this would alter the face of US retail beauty forever. Products for Black female consumers are no longer in poor positions on the sales floor or have little selection.