Sundial founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis
Sundial founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis

Sundial Brands, the natural skin care and hair care manufacturer, announced that it has signed an agreement to enter into a strategic partnership with Bain Capital Private Equity, a leading global investment firm, to accelerate the company's growth.  Sundial founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis will continue to provide vision and leadership for the company, which will remain majority family-owned and operated including board, management and day-to-day operations.  The partnership will drive Sundial's social entrepreneurship model, accelerate its multi-brand portfolio strategy – including investments in community-minded entrepreneurs and brands – and advance its transformative approach to serving New General Market consumers.  It also ensures that Sundial's community of consumers will remain at the forefront of the beauty landscape.  Financial terms of the minority investment were not disclosed.

"Our love of people has always been our motivation and our competitive advantage," said Dennis.  "While we have been presented several opportunities to be acquired by multinational corporations, we are most excited that our collaboration with Bain Capital fulfills our commitment to remain an independent family-owned and operated company with a purpose-driven business model that puts community at our core.  Our consumers have always been partners with us, and now they can continue to walk with us on this journey.  We recognize that African-American women have long been at the forefront of the natural hair and body movement that has created the dynamic cultural shift that we see today.  It is exciting for us to see how Naturalistas have now empowered women from all backgrounds to embrace their natural beauty.  In addition, they have compelled multinational beauty brands and retailers to acknowledge and be more respectful of their needs.  Our family has understood this since 1912 – the value of listening to underserved consumers and delivering on their unmet needs. We are moving forward to build Sundial into a global family-owned-and-operated consumer brand of which they can be even more proud."

"We are also excited to welcome Bain Capital as a valuable partner who shares our commitment to our communities globally and understands how our brand of social entrepreneurism can be enhanced to achieve our vision for growth and impact," Dennis added.  "Sundial is now in the strongest position to continue to lead this beauty revolution, alongside all of our consumers, so that no one gets left behind."  Deval Patrick, a Managing Director at Bain Capital and the former Governor of Massachusetts, played an active role in the partnership discussions  and will join the Board of Directors of Sundial.

In 1992, Dennis founded Sundial with his college roommate, Nyema Tubman, and his mother, Mary Dennis, shortly after graduating from Babson College and being unable to return to his home country of Liberia because of civil war.  With a passion for entrepreneurship and a vision to fill unmet consumer needs, Dennis decided to pursue a bold concept: address skin and hair care issues traditionally ignored by mass market companies.  Drawing from culturally-authentic traditions born out of his family's roots in Africa and passed down to him from his grandmother, Dennis incorporated four generations of recipes, wisdom and global experiences into efficacious natural bath and body care products.  In two short decades, Sundial has grown from selling products on the streets of New York City to having distribution and co-creation of its flagship brands – SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage – with major retailers across the United States. Via its purpose-driven Community Commerce business model, the company creates opportunities for sustainable social and economic empowerment throughout its supply chain and communities in the U.S. and Africa, focusing on entrepreneurship, women's empowerment, education and wellness.  

"We are strategically aligned with our new partner around the elevation of the New General Market as a key growth driver and the opportunity to identify and invest in new ways to better serve our consumer community," said Dennis.  "We have defined the New General Market as 'an amalgamation of cultures, ethnicities and demographics aligned against commonalities, need states and lifestyles.'  Most critical are the commonalities and employing multi-need strategies that acknowledge both the differences within populations and the similarities across populations.  We all share similar needs that are often unmet or under-served.  When we focus on those, we can provide solutions that serve everyone in much more meaningful, relevant ways."

Bain Capital Private Equity has a long track record of investing in and partnering with management teams to help grow companies.  Some of its consumer and retail investments have included TOMS, Canada Goose and Bright Horizons Family Solutions.

"Richelieu and his family have built an amazing business and community centered on the idea of the New General Market, an idea that is very well aligned with where we as consumers and as a country are headed. We could not be more excited to partner with Sundial Brands to continue to enhance this differentiated approach to innovation, social entrepreneurship and community engagement," said Ryan Cotton, a Managing Director at Bain Capital.

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