Rich Dennis Carves Out His Place in the Beauty World Through Philanthropy

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Some individuals are born with business initiative and an entrepreneurial spirit racing through their veins. Richelieu Dennis is one such individual.  

From his maternal and paternal grandmothers through his father, mother, and himself, his entire family possesses the traits of self-motivation and genuine entrepreneurial spirit.  

Surprisingly, Dennis’s father and grandmother spent a significant portion of their careers as business partners, much like Richelieu Dennis and his mother. 

Rich Dennis and Entrepreneurship 

Rich Dennis is widely known as the entrepreneur behind the Sundial Brands product SheaMoisture.  

By establishing Sundial Brands, Richelieu has provided natural and relevant cosmetics to an underrepresented ethnic group in the United States. Sundial’s products have earned global renown and distribution as a result of their immense popularity. 

Richelieu attributes his success to his family, especially his grandmother, whose Shea butter recipe and manufacturing motivated him to start his own firm. 

Promoting Black Beauty in Fashion Trends 

The origin story of Sundial Brands centers on offering natural and inclusive beauty products to underprivileged ethnic groups in the United States. 

Richelieu Dennis has contributed significantly to the natural hair movement by encouraging his clientele to embrace their natural beauty. Designed to appeal to a larger and more diversified audience, this has mirrored fashion and look trends. 

SheaMoisture, Sundial’s most popular product brand, has reclaimed the narrative of black female beauty.  

In a recent commercial named ‘It Comes Naturally,’ SheaMoisture honored the significance of black ancestry and culture by including the work of female artists who highlighted natural hair and black beauty.  

By integrating fabrics and videos with allusions to black beauty, the campaign persuaded many individuals to wear their heritage with pride and in style.  

Rich Dennis has worked in this manner to inspire women and encourage the adoption of personal and ethnic styles. 

Promoting Diversity Has Influenced Fashion 

Such campaigns’ influence on the fashion industry cannot be ignored. Apparently, Afro-curled natural hair is becoming a fashion statement, and its maintenance has evolved into a way of life. A recent article described natural hair as both fashionable and political. Over the years, brands like Sundial, that continue to follow ethnic beauty norms have become fashion and appearance trendsetters. 

Richelieu Dennis and his brand have been significant fashion influencers over the past decade. His efforts to provide aesthetic alternatives that everyone can enjoy have contributed to the recent acceptance of diversity. 

The Story of Rich Dennis 

Richelieu Dennis Jr ’91 arrived at Babson College from Liberia, full of optimism and with a goal to build a citrus business in his native country. 

On the day of his graduation, his goals had changed in part due to the lessons he had learned and the contacts he had established at Babson.  

However, circumstances also impeded his progress. Liberia became embroiled in a civil war when he was studying at Babson. Dennis became a refugee in the U. S. soon after Commencement, as his mother had lost her house and everything she possessed. 

Rich Dennis’s Breakthrough 

Dennis swiftly established his place in the world following his graduation. Instead of returning to Liberia to begin citrus farming, Dennis started Sundial Brands in Harlem, New York, to address the problem of disparity in the cosmetics aisle by developing high-quality goods for Black women.  

In 2017, Unilever purchased Sundial in a trailblazing transaction that included the establishment of a $100 million New Voices Fund to invest in and promote women of color entrepreneurs. The next year, Dennis purchased Essence, returning the publication to 100% Black ownership. 

It took Richelieu Dennis roughly sixteen years to acquire his whole retail operation. He co-founded Sundial Brands with his mother (Mary Dennis) and closest friend (Nyema Tubman) in 1991, after graduating from the prestigious business school Babson College. 

Until December 2019, Richelieu Dennis served as Sundial’s CEO and chairman. Under Richelieu Dennis’ guidance, Sundial’s product line, which included natural hair and cosmetic products, grew substantially. Dennis co-created a comprehensive portfolio of deals with a number of leading U.S. retailers, therefore gaining global distribution for his items. 

Today, Richelieu Dennis juggles four distinct work titles, each of which has its own set of requirements. He established and has managed Sundial Brands from its inception.  

In 2017, Dennis became CEO of Essence Ventures LLC an independent consumer technology company he created. Richelieu Dennis is the chief executive officer of New Voices Fund and the inventor of SheaMoisture. 

On the 2nd of October 2019, the entrepreneur committed around $1.6 million in seed round-solo financing. Richelieu Dennis has made three further partner investments with Venture Round: NaturAll, Bitwise Industries, and Sweeten. 

Philanthropic Works 

Richelieu Dennis is also a philanthropist, encouraging the welfare of others with funds he and his mother raise within the Sundial brand boundaries and independently of his firm.  

Dennis and his mother have devoted equal effort to growing Sundial Brands and advancing important worldwide humanitarian initiatives, such as their Community Commerce project and Dennis’ New Voices Fund, in conjunction with his merger with Unilever. 

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