How this Liberian-born entrepreneur went from selling soap on street corners to building a beauty empire

By Jacqueline Laurean Yates | Yahoo Lifestyle |

Richelieu Dennis went from selling soaps on Harlem street corners to building one of the biggest multicultural beauty companies in the country. (Photo: Sundial Brands / Graphic: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Lifestyle)

Richelieu Dennis went from selling soaps on Harlem street corners to building one of the biggest multicultural beauty companies in the country. (Photo: Sundial Brands / Graphic: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Lifestyle)

#BeautyDisruptors is a new series where Yahoo Lifestyle Beauty Editor Jacqueline Laurean Yates interviews CEOs, inventors, and other extraordinary individuals who’ve managed to shake up traditional norms, launch innovative companies, and change the stagnant conversation on beauty.

When Richelieu Dennis was a student at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., he was unable to return to his native Liberia due to civil war. While facing this conflict, he decided to start selling different skin care as his grandmother did in their family’s village market in Sierra Leone. From there, Dennis made his way up to street vending in Harlem African black soaps, shea butter by the pound, and coconut products. Along with his mother, he would create new products at home, and the demand quickly grew.

Fast-forward years later, and Dennis is no longer selling skin care on street corners. He’s now the CEO of Sundial Brands, which includes a portfolio of some of the top-selling beauty lines for people of color. If you have walked the beauty aisles of any favorite mass retailer, there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled across Sundial brands Shea Moisture, Nubian Heritage, Madame C. J. Walker, and Nyakio.

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Source: Yahoo Lifestyle

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About Cholo Brooks 5763 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists.