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Cara Sabin joined Sundial Brands as its CEO last December. That was when the coronavirus pandemic was a regional story rather than a global one, and before months of social unrest would renew the challenge for companies to hire and serve diverse groups.
“We are so fully in support of these conversations around supporting Black founders and businesses,” Sabin said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast. “At SheaMoisture, we developed what we call a ‘Shea List’ — a listing of over 100 businesses that we admire, first and foremost, but that we’ve also personally invested in to help cultivate and help them grow.” SheaMoisture also announced a $1 million fund for founders of color.
In addition to SheaMoisture, Sundial’s brands include Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and Nyakio. Sundial Brands was acquired by Unilever in 2017.
One brand Sundial Brands recently partnered with is Brown Girl Jane, which was founded by three Black women. “Through that partnership, we’re encouraging consumers to take the ‘Brown Girl Swap’ pledge, where they take five of their existing beauty products and swap them for products that are founded by Black women,” Sabin said.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
How Sundial syncs with Cara
“Oftentimes, brands may be well-known and they may have incredible products, but their purpose and mission is a little undefined. Within Sundial, take SheaMoisture as an example, it’s so crystal clear that we unapologetically exist to serve Black women in the Black community. That is something that I’ve never experienced before leading a company. What’s special about SheaMoisture is that the community built us to be who we are. We happened to come about at a time when the natural hair movement was just starting, and Black women really helped us develop this brand. We co-created products with them, and they told us what ingredients were interesting to them. So they’re really personally invested and engaged.”
Stay-at-home content and products
“Particularly in the early days of the stay-at-home orders in many states, a lot of beauty supply stores, big retailers and salons were closed. We’ve seen people still wanting to take care of their hair or their skin, but doing it at home. To that end, we started developing content called At Home with Shea. You may not be able to go to the salon and get a deep treatment, but you can buy a conditioning mask and do that at home. We know that a lot of those business owners, of those beauty supply stores or salons, are experiencing difficulty through Covid, so we’ve been trying to service them through some of our programs.”
‘Not a flash in the pan’
“We are so fully in support of these conversations around supporting Black founders and businesses. At SheaMoisture, we developed what we call a ‘Shea list’ — a listing of over 100 businesses that we admire first, and foremost, but that we’ve also personally invested in to help cultivate and help them grow. Yesterday, we announced our partnership with Brown Girl Jane, founded by three Black women. It’s a wellness and beauty brand. Through that partnership, we’re encouraging consumers to take the ‘Brown Girl Swap’ pledge, where they take five of their existing beauty products and swap them for products that are founded by Black women. We think it’s really important that Black women founders and Black businesses get that attention and support they deserve. We certainly hope that this is not a flash in the pan.”