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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.