Liberia-born and -raised Richelieu Dennis, CEO of Sundial Brands Inc., shared the story behind the origins of his skin and hair care company in a recent Q&A with the New York Times.
After coming to the U.S. and then graduating from business school Babson College in 1991, Dennis wasn’t able to return to Liberia, which was locked in a civil war. The entrepreneur teamed with friend and college roommate Nyema Tubman — as well as his mother, Mary Dennis — to develop a different beauty care concept: addressing skin and hair care needs currently unfilled by mass market vendors.
That led in 1992 to the launch of Sundial Brands, whose products with natural and certified organic ingredients stem from Dennis’ family roots in Africa and recipes from his grandmother.
Dennis also is widely credited with introducing the multicultural concept of the New General Market to the beauty and retail sectors.
“To get to a certain level of leadership and success, you have to have conviction in what you’re doing,” Dennis told the Times. “You have to have the stomach to stick to what you’re doing because the challenges that you’ll face, whether you’re building a business or leading people, are going to be many.”