Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.
Nancy Twine didn't simply set out to make natural shampoos and conditioners, free of harsh chemicals and ingredients: She wanted to develop products that actually worked as well as every competing brand on the market, natural or otherwise. Considering Briogeo is now the fastest-growing haircare brand at Sephora and is on track to earn $35 million in retail sales in 2018, it's safe to say the Twine accomplished her goal.
Her success founding Briogeo is further proof that we're in the midst of a natural beauty revolution. The brand sits front and center in the Clean at Sephora section, an empire born of an idea that started in the kitchen. We chatted with Twine about her beginnings in beauty, her best-selling products, and more.
Tell us about your start in beauty.
My grandmother raised eight children on a small farm in West Virginia, and she didn’t have a lot of money or resources, so she would harvest all of these different plants and fruits and used them as the foundation for many of the family’s personal care products. Everything from soap to lotions to haircare, just through distilling different essential oils. When I was growing up, my mom—having grown up in an environment where so many of the products that she used were naturally sourced — we would make a lot of our own products ourselves in the kitchen. It was just something that we did as a mother-daughter activity.
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How did Briogeo come to be?
Fast-forward a couple of decades, and the market and demand for clean beauty has turned into something that just didn’t exist back then. After I graduated school, I started my career in finance. I worked at Goldman Sachs for seven years where I later became a vice president. Unfortunately, half-way through my career at Goldman, I lost my mom pretty suddenly, and it really just gave me a totally new prospective about doing what you’re passionate about. Whatever kind of work you’re doing or how you’re spending your time should be something that’s interesting or genuinely interests you. I just started to do a lot of soul-searching to figure out what I wanted to do next, and I thought about a lot of the time me and my mom spend together making our own products, and I felt like the clean market was just starting to come back. I saw that there was a really big opportunity for a brand to really own that category in haircare because unlike skincare, makeup and body care, there was really no one doing what we’re doing now, which is bridging the gap between truly clean hair care products and high performance.
What is the most popular product?
It really varies. Typically, our mask is our number one best-selling product, but we just launched a really new innovative collection, which was our Superfoods collection. It’s the number one best-selling shampoo and conditioner right now.
When was the moment that you knew your brand had made it?
The last two Sephora stores I was in, it was pretty dead because I went in at weird times. When I went to the haircare section, both times there were people shopping Briogeo. I thought that was the coolest thing, because the store wasn’t really that busy and no one was really in hair. The people that were, they were actually shopping our brand. That’s how I knew, and that was a very, very special moment to actually see people seeking it out. For years prior, so much of it was just trying to get people to consider us as a brand because we were so new and we hadn’t proven ourselves yet.
Do you follow a clean routine in your skincare and makeup as well?
Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Especially given my background and how much I know about ingredients that we don't include in any Briogeo products, it absolutely has to be a holistic lifestyle. It's not just using clean haircare products, but how do you incorporate that throughout your entire routine? One of the things that I'm so happy about is that the brands that I love and want to use happen to be clean. I think when you think about skincare and body care, they're at the forefront of that revolution. I think makeup and haircare tend to be trickier categories. There's less of an offering, but I think these days for skincare, the rite of passage is clean ingredients.
Briogeo may not be a household name yet, but the current push for more natural products for hair, skin, and otherwise, is just beginning. In other words, keep your eye on Twine.