Sitting Down with Shea Moisture CEO Richelieu Dennis – Part 2

So we left off part 1 with the question a lot of us have been dying to know the answer to:


While we are on products – we are all crossing our fingers (laughter) that you are going to do a gel.  Is there…are you looking to expand the lines?

There will be a gel within the next 60 days.

Yea! Do you understand how happy that makes me!

[laughter] There’s a gel coming

Within 60 days and by then my current stock will be out and I will be good (laughter).  The Coconut and Hibiscous line seems to be the most popular and I say that because the smoothie is the most popular item.

The smoothie is the most popular item, but as a line the Raw Shea line is the most popular.

Which is your favorite line?

I’m a Yucca guy.  I use the Yucca in the body products.  I love the feel and the texture of it.

Do you contribute to the say in making the products?

Absolutely.  There is my mother, my sister and myself and our creative director.  Between the 4 of us we come up with.

And you take pride in your product.

You got to and I think it shows in the product.  I think that’s where you really see it – in the product.

It really does.  Let’s jump over to Facebook. One of  the things that I think a lot of your consumers enjoy is the feedback.  I know if I post a question on your page, I’m going to get a response within 24 hours or if there is something on the wall and someone wants to know what product to use or should I go here you are very responsive.  Do you find that is a big help?  (1) the feedback from the consumer, both positive and negative, and (2) do you  find that interaction is necessary to be successful?

It goes back to who we are.  We respect the people that use our products. We take pride in them using our products, like they take pride in what we do.  It’s got to be a two-way conversation and that’s what we try to do.  If somebody spends their money on your product and they got a question, you got to answer the question.  It’s just that simple.  If you post something on there, it’s going to get answered.  No matter what it is, it’s going to get answered.  If we have a question that we want to know, we’re going to ask it and we’ll talk.  Like the gel – everybody is like when are you going to do a gel, well ok  if we do a gel what would we put in the gel?  What are using in the gel.

That was nice – I noticed that.  It helps as a consumer to know that you really are listening. One of the things I noticed as a user of your product – just  because it says to use it as a leave-in, I don’t necessarily use it as a leave-in because your products are versatile. For some of the newer users because there’s no directions on the bottle and there’s minimal on the website – is there a plan or have you opened up the option to either put some information on the bottle or even some tutorials on the website?

We are actually doing both.  We are building a new website that will be very content driven.  We are figuring out ways to aggregate all of the users that are doing reviews, on YouTube and all that, so people will have a place to go to get that information. Then we’re looking also at how we can do a better job on the labeling to help people understand how to use the product.

One of the other questions I had, I don’t want to keep you much longer.  There is a lot of media talk about women of color embracing their natural hair. Some are calling it a movement some are even calling it a fad.  What is your take on it?

I don’t think it’s a fad.  I don’t think it’s a movement.  I think it’s who we are and I think we’re just getting more comfortable with being who we are. I think that one of the things that we always have to be careful of, as a people, is how we judge each other.  I understand why people want to call it a movement because it gives it some credibility.  It gives it some longevity, but we’ve been black forever.  We don’t need to be a movement. If you want to wear your hair natural wear it natural.  If you want to perm then you perm.  If you want to shave it off, then you shave it off.  No matter what you do you should be comfortable with it and your society should be comfortable.  That’s what we been fighting for all these years, right?  So I don’t call it any of those things.  We make product for natural or perm.  We don’t make perms, but if you’re going to perm your hair we got to help you take care of your hair. It’s all about the individual.

Again I don’t want to keep you.  I could sit here and ask you a ton of questions but thank you.  I’m going to let you get back.

It was such a pleasure to interview Mr. Dennis.  It is clear that he cares not only about his product, but the consumer as well.  The hair show was packed and every time I walked past the Shea Moisture booth it was full of people.  So for Mr. Dennis to take as much time as he did to sit and talk with me truly shows that he cares about those that buy his product.