Nubian Heritage got its start on the streets of Harlem. Fresh out of college and without jobs, Richelieu Dennis and Nyema Tubman set out to bring the healing traditions of African Black Soap and Shea Butter to the community they loved. Short on experience but full of passion and determination, they mined their knowledge of culturally authentic healing traditions to create natural skin and body treatments to share with their families and community. That was back in 1992, and they've held fast to that commitment every day since.
Passionate about sharing the healing possibilities in Nubian Heritage soaps and other products as well as the cultures they come from, Dennis and Tubman were guided by their community's demand for wellness products that spoke to their unique needs. Expanding their reach for the rich healing philosophies of ancient cultures, their passion spread to communities around the globe.
Guided by the legacy of ancient Nubia, the world's first melting pot, Nubian Heritage remixes global healing traditions into modern wellness solutions. Ancient Nubia was once a center of cultural trade - a place where goods, ideas and customs from across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean came together to influence each other, then spread across the ancient world. That was the inspiration for the young Nubian Heritage owners: to bring together traditional healing practices, cultural wisdom and indigenous ingredients, remix them and create modern natural solutions for skin and hair care.
This was and still is the Nubian Heritage mission: to make cultural exchange the model for transforming the global community.
The journey of Nubian Heritage has been a long one, but it's far from over. What began in Harlem continues globally as individuals and communities are empowered with healing traditions, rituals and philosophies from around the world. Those same Nubian Heritage owners are constantly developing new products and remedies, and our customers are constantly discovering and sharing new paths to wellness.
Nubian Heritage's co-founders Richelieu Dennis, Nyema Tubman and Mary Dennis created a brand over 20 years ago on the streets of Harlem. After graduating from renowned business school Babson College in 1991, Dennis and Tubman were unable to return to their home country of Liberia due to civil war. Fresh out of college and without jobs, the childhood friends partnered with Dennis's mother, Mary, to bring the healing traditions of African Black Soap and Shea Butter to the community they loved.
Passionate about natural products with indigenous ingredients and fascinated by the cultures they come from, the three Nubian Heritage owners began handcrafting shea butter soaps and salves to sell as street vendors. Guided by the legacy of ancient Nubia, the world's first melting pot, Dennis sought to remix healing wisdom and culturally authentic practices into modern wellness solutions that became Nubian Heritage soaps. In daily conversations with the community as a street vendor, he heard and strove to answer the demand for healthy products that spoke to people's unique wellness needs.
The story of who owns Nubian Heritage begins with these three, who founded parent company Sundial Brands, and the Nubian Heritage brand was born. Grassroots efforts and strong word-of-mouth brought their collections of Nubian Heritage soaps and balms to the attention of retailers, and Nubian Heritage products began showing up on shelves nationwide, including at Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, Wegmans, Sprouts, Pharmaca and independent health food stores.
Believing in the power of commerce to change the world, Richelieu Dennis pioneered Sundial's Community Commerce program. Because Shea Butter is central to the company's products, Nubian Heritage owners source it ethically from seven women's co-ops in Northern Ghana where the brand works with over 700 women who are paid ethical wages as co-op members in a healthy environment.
Sundial Brands monitors these co-ops to ensure that all the members enjoy elevated efficiency, health, profitability and quality of life. The women in Ghana become Sundial's partners, not just suppliers, and with their rise in income, they experience greater health, access to education and the benefits of financial freedom.
Dennis Richelieu remains a pioneer in researching, testing and utilizing rare, raw materials from all over globe, as well as incorporating these ingredients into Nubian Heritage skin and hair care formulations in culturally authentic ways. As an avid, constant gardener at his home and office, he continues to draw inspiration for his products from the powerful wisdom of nature.