As a condition of the acquisition, Unilever and Sundial Brands will launch a New Voices Fund “to empower women of color entrepreneurs,” according to the Unilever press release about the deal. The fund will open with a $50m investment; and there are plans to scale the New Voices Fund to $100m with outside investments.
Beyond that, for the time being it seems that the Sundial Brands business will continue as usual. Richelieu Dennis will remain CEO and executive chairman of what will be a standalone unit of Unilever as of Q1 2018 (pending customary regulatory approvals).
Competing on a multinational scale or being acquired by a prominent global corporation is, for many beauty startups, a dream or best-case objective. From the beginning Dennis had aspirations to take not only the Sundial Brands product lines global but to scale the company’s philosophy and strategy as well.
“I’ve always wanted Sundial Brands to be an inspiration to other minority-owned companies of how a business against all odds can achieve excellence, have significant social impact in our communities and be successful on a world stage,” he tells the press.
“I am excited Sundial and Unilever have created this partnership, rooted in a purpose-driven ethos, that represents an incredible opportunity to take our Community Commerce economic empowerment and impact model to another level,” adds Dennis.
Esi Eggleston Bracey will join the Sundial – Unilever team as of 2018. Bracey steps in to the role of EVP and COO of Unilever North America Personal Care on January 1st.
Her nearly 20 years of experience in beauty business leadership roles includes serving as president of consumer beauty for Coty, as senior vice president and general manager of global cosmetics for P&G, as well as several other positions with that company.
Commenting on her hire, Dennis tells the press, “I’ve enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Esi and look forward to working with her to continue to change the game in beauty, personal care and community building.” According to the release, “Bracey will work closely with Dennis to further accelerate the growth, purpose-driven mission and consumer connectivity of Sundial Brands.”