New York, NY (January 2015) – Not many people would consider taking the leap of faith from a high-paying Wall Street career into the risk-laden world of a natural beauty entrepreneur, but Nancy Twine, founder and CEO of Briogeo Hair Care, did just that and quickly discovered her true calling. Since hitting the market less than a year ago, Briogeo, pronounced [bree-oh-jhee-oh], has been quickly gaining clout with beauty industry experts and recently landed its first major contract with Sephora, making Twine the youngest African American female to ever launch a line with the major retailer.
Prior to getting her start in the beauty industry, Nancy spent close to seven years working on Wall Street. The now entrepreneur graduated with honors from the University of Virginia in 2007 as a finance major and immediately began her career in the Commodities Sales division at Goldman Sachs, where she was later promoted to Vice President in 2012. Though captivated by the energy of Wall Street, Twine decided to follow her passion, relying on her traditional, modest roots to build Briogeo, the now flourishing natural hair care brand.
Briogeo was inspired by a family tradition of formulating personal care products from scratch at home, using recipes passed down through generations. In an effort to cut costs in supporting a tribe of ten, Twine’s grandmother developed her own soaps, lotions, and hair care products using only kitchen essentials, which became wildly popular throughout the community. Armed with her knowledge of the industry, Twine put her passion for natural beauty products in motion and founded Briogeo Hair Care.
“Beauty shouldn’t be compromised by harsh or harmful ingredients,” says Twine. “The Briogeo team has carefully formulated a gentle, plant-based assortment of hair care products that live up to their performance claims – delivering the vibrant, beautiful and healthy hair women endlessly strive to achieve.”
Twine introduced the beauty industry to Briogeo as an exhibitor at Cosmoprof North America 2013 and officially launched in the Fall of 2013. In less than a year, the brand has landed honorable distinctions from top beauty publications including Women’s Wear Daily, Lucky, InStyle, New York Magazine’s The Cut and Refinery29 as well as meaningful retail placements in Fred Segal, UrbanOutfitters.com, The Cosmetic Market and most recently Sephora.
Twine aims to make Briogeo a domestic and internationally recognized hair care product line that transcends the barriers of ethnic vs. non-ethnic hair care.
Where are they now? Q&A with Briogeo
- What’s new with Briogeo since the show?
Since CPNA, Briogeo has launched in-store and online with Sephora which has been one of our biggest milestones to date! We’re so thankful for the incredible opportunity CPNA has given us to network and establish relationships with some of the world’s largest beauty retailers. We’ve also launched three new products since the last show and have two new launches underway in May 2015. In addition, we have also been able to expand our sampling and marketing reach by partnering with beauty sampling boxes who we also established relationships with via CPNA.
- What are your key learnings since being out in the market?
Keeping the brand fresh and current is key. It’s crucial that we maintain a steady cycle of new product launches that help differentiate Briogeo from its competition and also appeal to our demographic. Our planned launches will not only help expand the breadth of our product line, but will also be a key driver in establishing Briogeo as an innovator in the hair care market. We’ve also learned that marketing and PR is not a sprint, but a marathon. Effective and strategic marketing initiatives need to be continuous and planned for the short and long-term.
- What are your top 3 tips to success for new start-ups / entrepreneurs?
- Know your competition and be sure to have a clear and concise message for how your brand is differentiated amongst your segment.
- Networking is crucial for new startups. Utilize trade shows and industry events as a way to find mentors, meet buyers, and establish connections with other entrepreneurs in your market.
- Persistence is key. Be open to constructive feedback and use it to think about ways you can refine your brand and strategy. Every entrepreneur faces setbacks and disappointments, but use those experiences as an opportunity to evolve and as the motivation to keep pushing harder.