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Raw Sugar Appoints Michael Marquis New CEO, Talks Growth

Raw Sugar Living cofounder Donda Mullis and newly appointed chief executive officer Michael Marquis shed light on the brand’s journey and its road ahead.

Raw Sugar has appointed Michael Marquis as its new chief executive officer.

He succeeds Ronnie Shugar, who cofounded the brand alongside Donda Mullis, currently the chief marketing officer who will remain in her role. 

Marquis was most recently the global president of Vogue International, a Johnson & Johnson Co., and brings extensive experience in consumer goods at brands such as Clean & Clear, Listerine and OGX Beauty. At Raw Sugar, Marquis intends to spearhead strategic developments to extend the brand’s reach. 

“One of the things this business stands for is to be clean for all, and that includes being more accessible to folks in terms of where they find and buy their products,” Marquis said. “What we’re looking to do is increase the awareness of the brand and its availability in the marketplace.

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Thanks in part to its sizable expansion into liquid hand soaps and hand sanitizers at the outset of the pandemic, Raw Sugar has managed to sustain steady growth in recent years. Today, Marquis estimates the size of the company at roughly $150 million in annual sales, and industry sources anticipate Raw Sugar will grow more than 30 percent in 2022. 

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“In order to be able to grow well and continue to maintain the service we’ve had through these tough years, we have to build a broader infrastructure. That means sustainably distributing, manufacturing and sourcing our products for the next level of growth,” said Marquis, who declined to comment on the growth estimate. 

Brick-and-mortar expansion is a priority for the brand, which is sold in more than 21,000 doors nationally including Target, Wegmans, Kohl’s, Sally Beauty and, most recently, Walgreens. Products ranging from $2.99 to $14.99. 

Launched in 2014 at Target and acquired by WM Partners in August 2021, Raw Sugar has grown its initial offerings of hand soaps and body washes into a wide-ranging array of hair care products, deodorants, body scrubs, soaps and more. Its products are naturally derived with vegan ingredients and sustainable packaging at an accessible price point.

The brand’s mission to give back is also key, and it has donated more than 16 million bars of soap and clean care products to people in need to date.  

“What we do best is being a passionate, mission-based company that stands for good and gives love back — again, not Mr. Pretty bottle — but a much broader message of mental health, caring for ourselves, wellness and being more accessible to all people,” Mullis said. 

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