By  on November 19, 2018

Over the course of 27 years, Richelieu Dennis built SheaMoisture and Sundial Brands into a $240 million firm. But during a fireside chat with Allison Collins, WWD’s beauty financial editor, he made it clear that the mission, not money, has been his key motivating driver. “For us, the model is built on how do we leverage our business to serve consumers and the community,” he said. “If we are taking out of the community, we should be putting back in.”

Sundial puts its money where its mouth is, making sure that the women and communities who are harvesting the raw ingredients used in the companies products are compensated and treated in a way that will have meaningful and long-lasting benefits. Dennis doesn’t believe in providing money to dig a needed well in rural Africa, for example, unless the community is trained on how to use and maintain it, and he has been insistent in making sure that the money benefits the people it is meant to assist. “This was part of our structure from Day One — we would buy raw materials from women like my grandmother and pay them above the fair trade product price,” he said. He added that Sundial has been able to help raise a substantial number of women above the poverty level in Sierra Leone, and help school enrollment increase from 30 percent to 98 percent.

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