Earlier this month, news that private equity firm Bain Capital LLC had taken a minority stake in Sundial Brands LLC caused a bit of controversy. Fans of Shea Moisture and Nubian Heritage, two popular black beauty brands owned by Sundial, took to social media to express their concerns about the future of the company.
Many felt that the company’s apparent plans to “diversify” its brand, meant that black consumers would be left out in the cold. While others found the newly forged relationship between Bain Capital and Sundial Brands disturbing due to the fact that former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney co-founded the private equity firm in 1984. Romney left the company in 2002.
Sundial CEO Richelieu Dennis recently spoke out about these concerns, calling the Romney association “ridiculous.”
Dennis, who founded the company with his family in 1992 tells Business Insider,
“Mitt Romney has nothing to do with me. Nothing to do with us,” Dennis said, calling the alleged involvement one of the most ridiculous rumors his company has had to deal with. “It’s not fair to characterize us or judge us based on an individual that’s got nothing to do with us.”
While The Wall Street Journal estimates Sundial’s annual revenue at $200 million, Dennis forged a relationship with Bain Capital in order to fund his plans to distribute the brands on an international level and cater to different markets.
“Sundial’s sales have been largely in the U.S. and the products are predominantly purchased by African-Americans. Bain’s investment is aimed at boosting growth by targeting a broader market that isn’t defined by ethnicity, said Ryan Cotton, a Bain managing director, told The Wall Street Journal, earlier this month.
This particular quote struck a nerve with many fans of Shea Moisture products, with some even vowing to boycott. Despite the fact that Dennis shows no signs of halting his plans for Sundial Brands, he did vow to never abandon the brands’ core, black customers.
“[We] are going to continue to serve our core,” Denins said. “If we all of a sudden became something else, my grandmother would turn over in her grave.”