Mielle Founder and CEO maintains majority control with investment to further Mielle’s mission and community development
(Black PR Wire) Chicago -- Mielle Organics, the #1 fast-growing, Black-owned, and community-focused natural hair care company, announced today that Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based firm, has made a significant investment in the company. Berkshire typically makes equity investments of $100 million to $1 billion in size. The financing will support Mielle’s growth plans and help further its mission to educate, empower and excite Mielle’s customers and the broader hair care community. A portion of Berkshire’s investment will be used to support Mielle’s More Than a Strand program, which is core to the company’s mission to strengthen the bond between mothers, daughters, and young girls across the United States, Caribbean, and Africa. Company co-founders Monique and Melvin Rodriguez (CEO and COO, respectively) will continue to be majority owners and maintain control of the company. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“We are excited to forge this historic partnership with Berkshire Partners,” said Mielle CEO and co-founder Monique Rodriguez. “Their investment reinforces our mission for community development and growth of Mielle’s vision of global expansion. We are also thrilled to continue this journey with New Voices. They believed in Mielle from the beginning and have truly been a great partner. These are the types of steps it takes to create generational wealth and jobs for people of color. We are truly grateful for their partnership.”
This investment caps an impressive period of growth for Mielle, which last year saw category-leading growth rates despite the challenges of a pandemic that led more than 40% of Black-owned businesses to shutter. It also marks a major milestone for Ms. Rodriguez as only 93 Black women founders have secured $1 million in investment funding for their companies, according to ProjectDiane, a biennial report on the state of Black and Latinx women founders by the organization digitalundivided. Through Mielle Organics’ historic investment deal with Berkshire, Monique has paved the way for women-led companies to surpass the limits of glass ceilings society has conditioned us to believe are unbreakable for women of color.
“We started this business in our garage, sparked by Monique’s passion to build a worldwide community of women,” added Melvin Rodriguez, co-founder and COO. “During the past seven years, we’ve been able to expand our product lines, increase our distribution and invest in our community; we are excited to continue innovating and developing new products, grow awareness of Mielle, and reach even more consumers to give them products that they deserve.”
“We are honored to invest behind Monique and Melvin and in Mielle,” said Marni Payne, Managing Director at Berkshire Partners. “Mielle is an extraordinary business, but importantly has a larger purpose: to excite, empower and serve the community. Monique and Melvin have built this business from the ground up; we share their vision and are excited to support them as they continue their journey of growth and community.”
“When my family and I sold Sundial Brands in 2017, one of our stated missions was specifically to invest at least $100 million in women of color entrepreneurs through the New Voices Fund and other efforts; our vision was that when given the opportunity, Black women entrepreneurs will bring transformative wealth creation to their families and our communities. What Monique and Melvin are accomplishing with Mielle is a powerful example of the impact a successful and purposeful Black woman-owned business can have in driving economic impact to our community,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder of the New Voices Fund, Essence Ventures, and Sundial Brands.
Dennis adds, “I am proud that they chose to partner with New Voices in 2019, and I am even more excited to partner with Monique, Melvin and Berkshire Partners on this next leg of their historic journey where I fully expect to help them surpass our successes and impact in the beauty space. This is what creating equity and closing the wealth gap looks like - us investing in us so that there are not just a few of us, but thousands of us creating generational wealth to reinvest in our communities.”
William Blair & Company, L.L.C. served as the exclusive financial advisor to Mielle and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP served as legal counsel.
About More Than a Strand
The #MoreThanAStrand Global Beauty Campaign seeks to strengthen the bond between mothers, daughters, and young girls across the tri-continent of the United States, Caribbean, and Africa footprints through hair care. With this campaign, Mielle Organics aims to empower mothers and young girls through survivor storytelling, education, entrepreneurship, and economic development on a global scale. With the COVID-19 global pandemic affecting millions of businesses across the world, Mielle Organics is taking action to support recovery efforts with the launch of the #MoreThanAStrand campaign with a fund to invest in communities in North America, the Caribbean, and Africa to help get Black women-owned beauty and barber shops back up and running, as well as investing in future of entrepreneurs wanting to open their own businesses by helping cover start-up costs, certifications, tools, and other needs. Mielle Organics has also partnered with Rutgers University on a new NBH Professional Online Global Entrepreneurship Certificate Program, which the company will commit to providing 60 full scholarships covering costs related to the program for women who apply. Courses include Setting Up a Business, Generating Revenue, Marketing, and Financial Management, among many other courses to complete the curriculum.
About Mielle Organics
Mielle Organics is a natural hair care and beauty brand that believes healthier ingredients encourage healthier hair and skin. Mielle Organics launched in 2014 with the creation of the first Mielle Organics product, the Advanced Hair Formula, a unique proprietary blend of herbs, amino acids and minerals to support healthy hair, skin and nails, and immune system. Mielle products are Black-owned and CEO made and tested. Every product that leaves Mielle's facilities has been formulated and developed with a level of care and attention that is unmatched. Mielle is sold nationally at Sally, Target, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid, HEB, internationally in Europe, Africa and online at www.mielleorganics.com.
About Berkshire Partners
Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based firm, has 35 years of investment history. Berkshire Private Equity has made more than 130 private equity investments since its inception and has a strong history of partnering with management teams to grow the companies in which it invests. Stockbridge, the firm’s public equity affiliate, was founded in 2007 and seeks to make public equity investments in high-quality companies with strong competitive positions and long-term growth prospects. Berkshire Partners has been an active investor in the consumer sector since its inception; example investments include Aritzia, Bare Escentuals, Coty, CrossFit, Kendra Scott, and Portillo’s. Berkshire Private Equity has a flexible investment mandate and aims to invest $100 million to $1 billion in each portfolio company. For additional information, and to see a full list of the firm’s private equity investments, visit www.berkshirepartners.com.
About New Voices
New Voices Fund develops the talent, platforms, ecosystems, and infrastructures that level the playing field for entrepreneurs of color and invests in early and growth stage consumer-focused companies founded by people of color. Through its P.A.C.E model, a 360-approach to providing entrepreneurial solutions through purpose, access, capital and expertise, the New Voices Fund aims to close the equity gap in communities of color by partnering with founders to build leading companies and to drive scalable and sustainable commercial activities that create generational wealth and community impact. The New Voices Fund was founded by entrepreneur Richelieu Dennis in 2017 with an initial Fund I commitment of $100 million designated exclusively for women of color entrepreneurs, marking the nation's largest investment of its kind at the time.