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Meet Beauty Entrepreneur Nancy Twine, Founder of Briogeo || Images Courtesy of Cid Nichols

When Nancy Twine sought to found her natural hair care line, Briogeo, two years ago, her career trajectory couldn’t have seemed more different — or more impressive. The former Vice President at Goldman Sachs left a thriving corporate job after 7 years to start her own company, which has earned significant acclaim.

But while the path wasn’t easy, her deeply personal connection to her products served as endless inspiration. Briogeo is a company that started, for Nancy, out of inspiration from her grandmother. Nancy’s grandmother was born West Virginia, raising a family of 8 on a small farm.

“My grandmother didn’t have a lot of money or resources, so she was the ultimate DIY woman. To be thrifty and to save money, she learned how to make personal care products for the family.”

Nancy’s grandmother left more than her entrepreneurial spirit to her granddaughter; she also kept a journal of different formulas that she would make. Nancy remembers:

“When I was younger, we used to create different face scrubs and hair treatments. I was probably around 8 or 9 years old and even then, we always wanted to do something bigger.”

Over two decades later, Nancy’s family tradition is now available to the masses.

Twine is creating a following of “eco-chic” women that now have a variety of options of where they can shop for their natural haircare products. No longer are customers forced to mix their own formuals or find items at a farmers market; eco-chic women can now shop at trend-forward places, like Sephora.

What makes Briogeo just so good for you? Well, they are, what Nancy defines, as a “6-Free” hair care product line. They found the top 6 most controversial ingredients found in most hair-care lines from a health or environmental concern, or simply unnecessary, and made sure not to include them in their formula. The 6 ingredients you won’t find in Briogeo are:

  1. Sulfates. These are synthetic salts that are extremely harsh on your hair. They are used as cleaning agents in household cleaners and are reported to lead to scalp irritation, hair loss, breakage and more.
  2. Parabens. A preservative used in pharmecuticals as well as foods. In the 1990’s, parabens were deemed xenoestrogens―agents that mimic estrogen in the body. In 2004, parabens were found in breast tumors and are linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.
  3. Phthalates. Salts or esters of phthalic acid, most commonly used as plasticizers and in liquid solvents. You might recognize them in hairspray. They are what keeps the hair flexible vs breaking. While they are found to create reproductive issues, the FDA has ruled them neglible, for now.
  4. Silicones. Every time you wash your hair with shampoo that has silicone, it further coats your strands, creating a build up that isn’t easy to wash out. This build up can lead to cancer at its worst, hair loss, and a dry scalp. The silicone blocks needed oils from penetrating your hair.
  5. Artificial fragrances. If it’s an artificial fragrance, it probably contains phthalates, and a slew of other toxins that can disrupt horomone activity, cause birth defects, allergies, and more.
  6. Artificial dyes. You find these not only in your personal and beauty care products, but also in some your candy, drinks, meats, fruits, vitamins, toothpaste, cough syrup and more. (Red #40 or Yellow #5 ring a bell?) Artificial dyes can be toxic and contribute to ADHD.

Nancy proudly explains, “Our motto is ‘When in doubt, leave it out.”

And it’s not just what’s on the inside — even the bottles are environmentally friendly, constructed from PCR (Post Consumer Resin). Briogeo takes sold milk jugs, sterilizes them and breaks them down into little pieces of plastic. During the bottle manufacturing process Briogeo uses new resin, but also incorporates 25 percent of that resin from the recycled milk jugs and then the bottles in turn are recyclable.

What you WILL find in Briogeo is all natural products with hair healthy ingredients like ginger and ginseng. Nancy explains, ” If you’ve ever tasted ginger, it has this very spicy invigorating affect, and it’s known to increase blood flow throughout the body. When applied topically to the scalp, it helps to increase blood flow to the hair follicle which helps to support hair growth over time.”

Nancy shows me all the great natural ingredients that are in her products 

One of the biggest misconceptions, is that as an African-American founder, Briogeo is only for people of color. Nancy explains,

“I come from a diverse background. Members of my family who were black, white, Native American, members with different hair types with different needs. When i created this line, I wanted to create something all of my family members could use, all my friends could use which is why we’ve broken down our line into three different categories: curl, volume, and repair.”

I’m impressed to see just how much Nancy takes user feedback into making adjustments for her product. “A lot of our textured hair fans go through product quite significantly and this 5.25 ounce jar just isn’t enough. So we’re actually going to be eliminating this size and transfer  over to a larger format, 8 ounce format to be released next spring!” Nancy, excitedly and exclusively tells Hello Beautiful. Feedback from Briogeo customers is invaluable to Nancy as she uses it for future product development and improvement upon current product and packaging.

From the ROSARCO line || One of Nancy’s favorite and most popular Briogeo products!! 

 So what do fellow entrepreneurs or budding entrepreneurs in training need to know and do to be successful? Nancy gave three key jewels:

  1. Networking is key. Nancy drops knowledge: “You can’t think that “I’m gonna do it all myself” i think everyone really needs help. I don’t have a co-founder, but i have a team of people who work with me and I’ve been really able to network in the industry and find really good mentors which is really important if you’re coming into this industry for the first time and learning the ropes from scratch like I did.
  2. Do as much right possible from the beginning. “In the beginning, I tried to do my own packaging design,” Nancy sheepishly admits. “I’m not a graphic artist and I was trying to cut corners. I think back and I just think to myself ‘had I released this packaging design…’ >>trails off into a laugh<< I mean was horrible. At the time I thought this would suffice but design is very expensive and it was just one of those things I wanted to invest in from the very beginning because it could make or break the success of this. That’s not to say you have to spend a lot of money in the beginning, but sometimes in order to do things right you have to make the investment.”
  3. Business experience. Nancy explains, “If I hadn’t that 7-year experience of working in the corporate world or business world there was no way I would have been able to execute this product line. So investing not just from the  monetary standpoint, but from a knowledge stand point and getting that experience s just as valuable as having the money to put towards it.

While Nancy Twine has a lot of work to do in making Brioego a household name, the young entrepreneur is well on her way. She has plans for global expansion. With her grit, business acumen, and drive, we no doubt know that we will continue to see Briogeo pop up in all the right places.

Hello Beautiful readers get 10% off of Briogeo products here with the code: HelloBeautiful

Check out our Instagram @HelloBeautiful for some behind the scenes videos and pictures with Nancy Twine!

How One Black Female Entrepreneur Left Corporate America To Build A Natural Hair-Care Empire  was originally published on