Is Shea Moisture Selling Out? 4 Myths About the Shea Moisture Bain Capital Partnership

Is Shea Moisture Selling Out? 4 Myths About the Shea Moisture Bain Capital Partnership

Last week news dropped about the Shea Moisture Bain Capital Partnership of course people took to Twitter to express either their frustrations or extend their kuddos.  Similar to the Carol’s Daughter Loreal deal, the underlining main concern was that Shea Moisture was “selling out” and shifting away from their African-American consumer base, which has ultimately put the company on the map.  Valued at $700M, Sundial Brands, parent company of Shea Moisture and Nubian Heritage, wants their customers to know the claims of “selling out” are far from the truth.  Overall they did not sell out; however, re-invested in themselves and the community with a goal of being at the forefront to change the way business is done in beauty.

Sundial Brands CEO, Richelieu Dennis sat down to have a conversation with NaturallyCurly.com co-founder Michelle Breyer for open dialogue about what this all means.  Here the top myths about the Shea Moisture Bain Capital Partnership and a quick recap of their conversation.

Top Myths About the Shea Moisture Bain Capital Partnership

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1. Bain Capital Bought Shea Moisture

No, Bain Capital is only a minority, non-controlling investor.  Yes I had to underline and bold that because I’ve read way too many comments on other articles stating this the incorrect way.  Unlike most private equity firms where they are only concerned with taking a large stake, Shea Moisture is still family owned and run.  Shea Moisture was NOT acquired, however; they now have the resources to do more acquiring of smaller brands, giving smaller brands resources and infrastructure to grow.  Not surprisingly, Shea Moisture has been approached by several larger companies to be completely acquired; however they chose not to go that route.  Shea Moisture wants to remain flexible in order to be able to make the decisions their customers care most about – prices and product quality.  Remaining a family owned business and serving the community is still their number one focus.

2. Bain Capital Is Owned By Mitt Romney

No, Bain Capital is not owned by previous republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, although he was an original founder.  He has not worked for Bain Capital in 16 years and has nothing to do with Sundial.   The main reason Shea Moisture chose to partner with Bain Capital is because of their commitment to social entrepreneurship and history partnering with companies that serve a purpose, such as Bain Capital’s other popular partner Toms’s Shoes.

 3. Prices and Products Formulations Will Changeshea-moisture

Not at all.  One of the benefits of the Shea Moisture Bain Capital partnership and the fact that Bain is only a minority investor is Sundial can remain independent.  This allows Shea Moisture to make the same decisions they made 20 years ago when they first started with a focus on the best ingredients and formulations for consumer needs.  According to CEO Dennis, they needed a partner to understand their business model, supply chain and how they serve communities.  Remaining an independent company allows Sundial to make the best decisions for the consumer, for the products and the community.  A lot of companies do not make their own products, but since Shea Moisture built their own Research & Development nothing will change about how products are made.  Shea Moisture controls ALL of their manufacturing and do not need to change that for cost savings. There would be no gain in changing their manufacturing because their business model is already at the lowest cost.

4. Shea Moisture Will Not Control the Day to Day Operations

Shea Moisture has no plans to give up control of how they operate and run their business and remaining family owned is still their number one priority.  Richelieu Dennis is still the CEO, his brother is still the Chief Operating Officer, his sister is still Chief Innovation Officer, etc.  Shea Moisture did not sell the business but simply took on an investor.  This is just a situation where Sundial now has additional resources to expand and invest other areas.

“25 Years from now my family will still be running this business.” – Richelieu Dennis

My thoughts:

Overall, I think the Shea Moisture Bain Capital partnership is a great idea and will definitely put the company in a place for growth; however, I understand the drawback and concerns loyal customers have as well. We in the natural hair community, pride ourselves with catapulting the way brands target African-American women in the beauty space, so the idea of a big name investor not related to the community inserts fear that our needs will be left behind. People here the phrase “expand customer base” and automatically think inclusive means exclusive.  Unfortunately the phrase “death by association” is something Shea Moisture will slowly have to overcome as far as their relationship with Bain Capital.  But before people are quick to jump ship, I also challenge them to do a bit more research into other household brands they love to see what big name companies are partial investors. Bain Capital also has private equity in Toys ‘R Us, Micheal’s, I Heart Media (IHeartRadio), and The Weather Company (Weather.com), just to name a few.  Does this mean you plan to abandon these companies as well? What I do see on the horizon is the opportunity for Sundial Brands to become a new version of a Proctor and Gamble in the natural hair care space, which is exciting in itself.  Looks like only time will tell.

For more details about the Shea Moisture Bain Capital partnership read: 10 REASONS WE CHOSE A NEW PARTNER

To watch the full interview about Shea Moisture Bain Capital partnership with CEO Richelieu Dennis visit NaturallyCurly.com

What are your thoughts on Shea Moisture Bain Capital collaboration? Leave a comment and let me know!


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Charlene Walton
Charlene Walton

Charlene Walton McCraney, known on social media as @TexturedTalk, is a Dallas beauty and lifestyle blogger. After years of styling her and several friends’ hair as a hobby, offering advice and tips, she decided to combine two of her favorite things…writing and talking about natural hair!

Her blog, TexturedTalk.com was created to promote healthy hair care for women of all textures and has since evolved into other beauty and lifestyle topics. Charlene loves teaching other aspiring bloggers on how to take their passion and turn it into amazing content to provide value.

When she’s not blogging she is probably crunching numbers as a Senior Financial Analyst, dancing or figuring a way to meet Beyonce in person. :)

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

8 Comments

  1. September 16, 2015 / 6:56 am

    Great talking pieces and thanks for making it clear. Regular curlistas are not typically in conversations of this nature based on their careers or lifestyles and it could be confusing, but this is very clear, and all is well in our little curly world!

    • Charlene Walton
      Author
      September 16, 2015 / 8:58 am

      Thanks so much Janelle! Always love your comments. 🙂

  2. September 17, 2015 / 11:46 am

    Charlene, this article is so well worded and necessary! I myself was a little muffled and confused about this partnership. I appreciate this straight forward clarity and openness for conversation. Great piece!

    • Charlene Walton
      Author
      September 17, 2015 / 2:38 pm

      Hi Jai! Thank you so much! I really appreciate your reading. But yeah, I think a lot of things become last in translation when big news like this hits the fan. But it’s so necessary to take a step back and really breakdown what’s really going on. Thank again!

  3. Alaila
    October 21, 2015 / 3:05 pm

    Que producto puedo usar para mi pelo afro se me pone resco

    • Charlene Walton
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 3:16 pm

      Por favor, consulte la página de la tienda de productos para todos mis recomendaciones de productos favoritos personales . ¡Gracias!

  4. Lo
    December 30, 2015 / 1:31 pm

    I was nervous about/for Shea Moisture, and leery about buying products in the future. This article helped clear that up for me. I’m happy they were able to grow and still maintain product integrity. Thanks for this article.

    • Charlene Walton
      Author
      December 30, 2015 / 5:30 pm

      Thank you for reading! I’m glad this article could help.

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