Nancy Twine is the woman behind the charcoal and coconut-oil shampoo that releases aromas of mint cookies as it flows into dozens of 8-ounce tubes at a contract lab in suburban New Jersey. The 33-year-old then surveys the tubs of scalp-exfoliating formulas that retail for nine times the cost of mass-market shampoos such as Head & Shoulders. “This was a big one for us,” says Twine, founder of the hair-care company Briogeo.
As more and more beauty products are being manufactured at independent labs, handfuls of women started launching their own brands from make up artists such as Huda Kattan to celebrities including Kylie Jenner. However, Twine believes her seven years of experience at Goldman Sachs provided her with prepping, pricing, sourcing ingredients directly, combining orders to save money on production and build relationships with partners.
Briogeo is profitable every year since its beginning (four years ago) when it hit retail shelves. Since then, the company brings in more than $10 million in annual revenue. Some companies that contribute to Briogeo’s revenue include Sephora, Nordstrom, Forever 21’s Riley Rose and sample services like Birchbox and Ipsy.
“From the start I wanted to make sure that our margins were good,” Twine says, “so that not only could we reinvest back in the brand but so that down the line we never had to compromise.”
Unlike many other brands, Briogeo targets customers through hair texture rather than through ethnicity. “I remember going to CVS back in the day, and it was always very segregated,” she says. Briogeo formulates its own naturally derived products without sulfates, silicones, phthalates, parabens and artificial dyes.
“People were literally telling me you can’t do this without silicones,” Twine says. “I had to do my own research and tell chemists what they needed to be blending in order to get it to work better.” There has been a large gap in the haircare industry for nontoxic hair lines in general and even fewer for textured hair, which created a huge opportunity for Twine. African American customers purchased almost $500 million worth of shampoo last year, according to the research firm Mintel, and are the fastest-growing segment of the $13 billion U.S. hair-care market, according to Euromonitor.
Many of Briogeo’s products are priced slightly below other premium brands, which Twine takes pride in. The competitive pricing helped Twine convince retailers that her products could reach a new consumer base: one who desires to buy high-end, non-toxic product at the lower end of the luxury range.
“I love her price point because it says she’s taken the time to do her homework,” says Dana White, the African-American owner of Paralee Boyd. “We have money to spend.”