Unlocking The Magic: From SheaMoisture’s Harlem Hustle To Brand Benevolence

February 27, 2024

In the bustling streets of Harlem, a small brand was born with a big heart.

From its humble beginnings, SheaMoisture has not only revolutionized the beauty and personal care industry but has also set a remarkable example of meaningful philanthropy intertwined with brand building.

In today’s consumer landscape, where purpose-driven marketing reigns supreme, brands like SheaMoisture stand out as beacons of authenticity and commitment to community.

“Seven in 10 consumers make it a priority to support brands that donate money or supplies to causes important to them.”

Seven in 10 consumers make it a priority to support brands that donate money or supplies to causes important to them, according to Amazon/Environics Research. Purpose-driven marketing is gaining traction in the beauty and personal care industry.

Marie Driscoll, an adjunct professor at The New School, notes that consumers increasingly prioritize supporting brands aligned with their values. What was once a unique selling point has now become essential for brand loyalty.

SheaMoisture’s success story serves as a prime example of purpose-driven marketing done right.

According to Taydra Mitchell Jackson, Chief Marketing Officer of Sundial Brands, SheaMoisture’s parent company, authenticity is key.

The brand’s journey, rooted in heritage and community, resonates deeply with consumers who seek genuine connections.

Despite the misconception that philanthropy requires deep pockets, Mitchell Jackson emphasizes that even small initiatives can make a significant impact when aligned with a brand’s values.

SheaMoisture’s commitment to giving back dates back to its inception in 1991 when founder Richelieu Dennis started selling products in Harlem, reinvesting a portion of sales into the community.

When Dennis sold SheaMoisture to Unilever in 2017, he ensured that the brand’s philanthropic mission remained intact.

The establishment of the New Voices Fund, aimed at supporting Black entrepreneurs, exemplifies this commitment.

Mitchell Jackson reveals that the company reinvests at least 1% of net sales annually into economic opportunities for underserved communities, amounting to over $10 million to date.

The United States Chamber wrote, for recipients, it’s more than just a check, Mitchell Jackson said. Brand owners receive retail distribution consulting, mentoring and coaching, access to an investment pipeline, and other support to work toward becoming million-dollar businesses. The entrepreneurs selected for the inaugural class—LaToya Stirrup, Cofounder of Kazmaleje; Neil Hudson, Cofounder of Scotch Boyz; and Dorian Morris, founder and CEO of Undefined Beauty— also got their products into 600 Target locations—an accomplishment that typically takes years to achieve.

One notable initiative, the Next Black Millionaires Fund, epitomizes SheaMoisture’s vision of fostering financial equity.

Launched to address the racial wealth gap, this fund provides not just monetary support but also invaluable resources and mentorship to budding entrepreneurs.

In 2022, Black and Latino founders received only 1% percent and 1.5% percent, respectively, of total U.S. venture capital (VC) funding, according to McKinsey & Company.

Recipients like LaToya Stirrup of Kazmaleje testify to the transformative impact of the initiatives, catapulting their businesses to new heights.

“… its commitment to community and empowerment remains unwavering.”

As SheaMoisture continues its journey to becoming a billion-dollar brand, its commitment to community and empowerment remains unwavering.

Through strategic philanthropy and purpose-driven marketing, SheaMoisture continues to inspire both consumers and brands alike, proving that success is not just measured in profits but in the positive change one can bring to the world.

Photo credit: Richelieu Dennis.

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