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Sundial’s new Madam C.J. Walker line set for Sephora launch

Amityville-based Sundial Brands has relaunched Madam C.J. Walker

Amityville-based Sundial Brands has relaunched Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture's haircare products, inspired by America's first self-made female millionaire. The line launches at Sephora on March 4. Credit: Sundial Brands

Amityville beauty products company Sundial Brands LLC is relaunching a haircare brand pioneered more than a century ago by African-American entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker, America’s first female self-made millionaire.

Sundial, a manufacturer of natural skin and haircare products under the brands SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage, created the new haircare line Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture. The brand will launch exclusively at Sephora stores nationwide on March 4. It will be the first time one of Sundial’s brands is sold at Sephora.

Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, invented a line of beauty and haircare products for black women in 1905. Historically, Sundial’s products have been predominantly purchased by African-Americans.

“It is exciting to have this partnership and be able to bring Madam C.J. Walker’s legacy back to life,” said Sundial founder and chief executive Richelieu Dennis, whose family-owned and -operated business was founded in 1992. “It is . . . true recognition that the marketplace is finally wising up and taking seriously women of color as consumers.”

The Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture brand has been in the works since Sundial acquired Madam C.J. Walker Enterprises in 2012. The enterprise had been run by a mother and daughter team that was producing the original products on a small scale, Dennis said.

Madam C.J. Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles, 63, of Washington, D.C., pointed out the new product launch will happen right after Black History Month and during Women’s History Month.

“This is a perfect fit for the launch to be around this time of year,” said Bundles, a former journalist whose parents worked in the haircare industry. “Through the years, Madam Walker has certainly become a staple of anything that has to do with black history, women’s history and entrepreneurship.”

The new line of 25 products consists of four collections for cleansing, treating and styling hair of different textures, from straight to curly. The line, priced at $24 to $32, includes shampoos, conditioners, gels, detanglers, stylers and oils.

“We completely reformulated the product line to be a natural line,” Dennis said. “In those days, [Madam Walker] didn’t really have access to the type of ingredients that we have today. She made do so she could serve her consumers who were dramatically underserved. Nobody thought of women of color as consumers.”

In September, Sundial announced it had sold a minority stake to private equity firm Bain Capital LLC in an effort to grow the business. Sundial employs about 300 people, most of whom work on Long Island at its two facilities in Amityville and two others in Farmingdale.

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