Late last week Shea Moisture announced that they sold a minor stake of their company to an investment firm that many naturals did not agree with. Bain Capital, an investment firm that is associated with past Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has made a minor and non-control investment with the beloved natural hair care line. Shea moisture is incorporated into many naturals hair care regimen, but this news did not alter everyone’s opinion. CEO Richelieu Dennis and his family still hold all the major positions in the company and have the controlling factor.
There was a plethora of emotions from customers ranging from congratulatory to surprise all the way to downright disappointment. Many newcomers to the brand may not fully grasp the backlash of the venture, until they have done research into the company. Broadening their customer base seems to be one of the main points that drove the investment. Unbeknownst to me Shea Moisture already has a run-in with its customer base for trying to tackle the same feature. Of course appealing to other hair types and races means more customers which means more money, but at what cost? Carol’s Daughter, another popular natural hair care line, was once black owned until L'Oreal brought it.
"Shea Moisture and Nubian Heritage's product formulation and prices won't change." -Richelieu Dennis, CEO and Founder Sundial Brands
There are a few reasons naturals may feel indifferent about the investment:
- There aren’t a lot of family black owned companies that have no Caucasian presence that cater to the black community
- On top of that not many of those companies cater to a smaller demographic, the natural hair community.
- Shea Moisture was the go to line for organic, cruelty free, no parabens or sulfate products that put money back into our own communities’ pockets.
- Not being able to stay fully black owned makes us look like sell-outs all for money.
No matter what hair type you had, whether you wanted to promote growth, a clean scalp or just enjoyed the products for the smell and packaging there was something for everyone when shopping with Shea Moisture. Keeping all of the positive aspects of the hair care line in mind— the quality of their products should remain the same, or so we hope. Sundial and the Dennis family still have the controlling vote when it comes to future changes. From his Facebook post about the investment, Dennis made sure to communicate effectively and genuinely with the public, showing that he keeps his customers in mind.
Although there is a new silent partner in town, naturals still have many other brands to choose from when it comes to hair products. If your twist outs popped and your hair was clean and moisturized using Shea Moisture, why not keep the same routine?