Nancy Twine, founder of Briogeo Hair Care

Entrepreneurial endeavors go one of two ways: either you act instantly on a creative idea, or a side hustle simmers away slowly before manifesting into the fullest expression of itself. For Nancy Twine, it was the latter—she started her career in finance, working for Goldman Sachs, and spent seven years quietly evolving her plant-based haircare line before making the move from a woman with a career and a passion project, to full on entrepreneur. “I remained within the same team for 7 years and by that point, a change felt right,” she says.

By meditating on decisions rather than going full throttle on the accelerator straight away, it gives you time to iron out growing pains and kinks in your business plan before you’ve put your idea or product out into the world. Nancy grew up making personal care products with her family in their kitchen, so her manufacturing know-how was dialed, allowing her the time and energy to focus on branding and fine-tuning her business plan. That meant that she had the time and energy to spend on developing her product so that it was as strong as it could be before taking it to market—and when it comes to tradeshows or pitching to editors, this is an invaluable advantage.

I have lots of entrepreneurial ideas, but they’ve yet to come to fruition, which makes me wonder what the differentiating factor between thinking and doing is. For Nancy, it’s perseverance, dedication and focus, and retaining this from the initial concept stages to brand building, launching your product, and evolving your business. “I encourage those starting their own business to stay the course and don’t let setbacks slow you down,”—read on to find out how.


Nancy Twine, founder of Briogeo Hair Care


ON STARTING HER CAREER IN FINANCE BEFORE LAUNCHING BRIOGEO

My first full-time job was at Goldman Sachs where I worked in the Commodities Sales Division. I interned at the company during the previous summer and then managed to land a full-time position. I loved the fact that every day was a different challenge and I was surrounded by really smart people who encouraged me to think outside of the box. I remained within the same team for 7 years and by that point, a change felt right. I always knew I wanted to create my own line of hair care products. Launching Briogeo was inspired by making natural products at home with my family and later wanting to have a larger impact on the natural beauty sphere by launching my own plant-based hair care product line.

Mid-way through my finance career I began seeing the shift that was happening in natural beauty – more people were seeking out natural, toxin-free alternatives to their beauty regimen and I knew that I wanted to fill this void. After working in finance for so long, I was ready to move on to the next chapter and pursue my dream.


Nancy-Twine-Briogeo-The-Lifestyle-Edit-1BALANCING A FULL-TIME JOB AND STARTING A BUSINESS

It can be hard to manage your time when working and trying to get a business off the ground. I really relied on my friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve learned that as much as you’d like to, you can’t always do everything on your own.

Creating a product isn’t rocket science, but it does take a ton of perseverance, dedication, and focus. If you have those three things, anything is possible. Actively research the market you’re looking to pursue and conduct focus groups to test the viability of your product or concept. The more you can learn and strategically tweak your plan before launch, the better chance you have at bringing a strong product or concept to market. Having the right amount saved really depends on your business plan. Again, it’s important to research and forecast what your potential expenses and cost of goods sold to help determine what your budget should be.

Once I had my first four products developed, the focus then became finding retailers to distribute the products, and trade shows were a great opportunity to connect with buyers.

Working in finance first taught me a lot of basic skills like how to create spreadsheets, presentations, craft professional e-mails, and manage a client base. It also taught me a lot of strategic skills like how to problem solve for our client’s needs, grow a business, and overcome challenges.

ON THE RECIPES FOR HER SIGNATURE PRODUCTS

Once I had my first four products developed, the focus then became finding retailers to distribute the products, and trade shows were a great opportunity to connect with buyers.

During product development, we had access to so many more innovative natural ingredients than my family or I had growing up, and I was eager to make Briogeo a “next-generation” level of high performing natural products. Despite not using original family formulas, my family’s passion for innovation, creation, and entrepreneurism has inspired every facet of Briogeo.

ON FUNDING

I used most of my savings to get the business off the ground, but being able to fall back on my own savings gave me quite a bit of flexibility. I also raised some additional funding through angel investors and family and friends.

SECURING CUSTOMERS & STOCKISTS

In the beginning, much of our marketing was grass roots based. Fast forward to 2017, where social media is king, much of our brand awareness is driven by these social media. These platforms have proven to be a very effective way for us to get the word out and engage consumers with our brand.

Trade shows are always a great opportunity to connect with buyers. I discovered Cosmoprof, North America’s largest beauty trade show. It was there that I landed my first account, Fred Segal in Santa Monica. The biggest takeaway from the show was getting the chance to meet with the buyers at Sephora, which is now our largest retailer.


Nancy Twine, founder of Briogeo Hair Care


Nancy Twine, founder of Briogeo Hair Care
Nancy Twine, founder of Briogeo Hair Care


THE MOST IMPORTANT MISTAKES SHE’S LEARNED FROM

Rushing to get a new product launch underway, which we ultimately had to stall. Sometimes brands are faced with tight timelines to launch new products, but I learned very quickly that I’d rather take the time to put out something great that I really believe in then to rush through a process and have it be mediocre.

ON BEING AN AFRICAN AMERICAN IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY

As a woman of color in the beauty business, I encourage other diverse woman to pursue their passions and to never feel hindered or disadvantaged by gender or ethnicity. There are a number of female leaders who have helped pave the way for diverse woman to be recognized for their skills and talents and I feel fortunate to be in a place where I’ve never felt like my background has put me at a disadvantage — or at an advantage, for that matter. I truly believe that it’s hard work, passion, and dedication that make you stand out. And within the beauty business, specifically, I feel it’s an equal playing field — with creativity, vision, and work ethic being the major drivers of success.

That said, it’s incredibly exciting [to be the youngest African-American woman to ever launch a line at Sephora] and I hope that it can inspire other women of color who are looking to pursue similar ventures. Sephora has been an incredible retail partner and I’m so proud to see Briogeo making its mark in Sephora doors across the nation.