Before her 30th birthday, Nancy Twine had already left her successful career in finance at Goldman Sachs to pursue her next adventure: starting a hair care company.
Taking that chance paid off. Nancy’s brand, Briogeo (the combination of two words—Italian for “vibrant” and Latin for “of nature”), offers women a plant-based natural hair care and made her the youngest African American woman to launch a line at Sephora. But Nancy’s success wasn’t sheer luck—she’d been working to perfect the recipes for her hair care products since she was a young girl, mixing up natural remedies with her grandmother. Briogeo’s formula is free of sulfates, silicones and parabens, instead incorporating natural oils, vitamins, and antioxidants. It’s a smart move in this era of wellness, and we can’t wait to see where Nancy takes her company next.
Diversity in hair care products has been long overdue. What was the moment you decided to take the leap and break into the industry with Briogeo?
After working in finance and within the same team for 7 years, it felt right (and normal!) to be ready for a change. Ultimately, launching Briogeo was inspired by the experience of 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. These childhood memories ultimately inspired me to do something greater with the passion for creating and start my own clean beauty line.
What are some daily habits you have that contribute to your success?
One of the major keys to success for Briogeo has been staying true to who we are from the beginning.
Find something you REALLY believe in and that you won't quit until you've succeeded. Some people think that finding success as an entrepreneur is easier than it is. It's the most difficult and challenging undertaking I've ever experienced - but the key is to keep going.
Overtime, I've been able to control the impulse of "freaking out" about most things. After seeing things go wrong hundreds of times, you brain starts to adapt and realize that it's never the end of the world. There's always a solution and no set back is too large to overcome. I do work hard and think about work a lot - and there's got to be balance to that. I try to spend my weekends focused on myself - and not on my business. I allocate a few hours on Sunday night to prep for the week, but other than that, I really focus on unplugging fully to give my mind a break. It's really important. I'm trying to make meditation and yoga a more regular part of my wellness routine, but I still struggle finding consistent time during the week, but I'm working on it!
What does a typical day look like for you?
It greatly depends on whether it's a week day...or the weekend! During the week, I try to get up no later than 7am so I can squeeze in a quick workout or meditation. If I'm lucky, I can get through all of the overnight emails (we have several international retailers and vendors) before I get into the office. I always have my best days when I can manage to be productive before the work day actually starts. I live in Union Square, so my commute is relatively simple - just 3 stops on the 6 train to our NoMad office, where I typically arrive by 8:30am. My mornings typically consist of team meetings, calls, and working my way through e-mails. I typically take a late lunch around 2pm before re-focusing back on projects at my desk. I don't travel as often as some of my other entrepreneur friends. I find that traveling can set me back quite a bit with projects I'm working on, so I only travel if it's absolutely necessary. I'm a very hands-on CEO in a very fast paced business - so there's never a real break during the day! I typically get home between 7:30p - 8:00p and cook dinner before finishing the day with a read.
What was your biggest hesitation when you started Briogeo?
Briogeo has never taken any outside VC investment, and very early on it was difficult funding the various needs of the business, so I was constantly dipping into my personal savings to fund the business until we became profitable.
What are the common challenges you've seen among female business owners and entrepreneurs?
Rushing to get a new product launch underway, which we ultimately had to stall. Sometimes brand's are faced with tight timelines to launch new products, but I learned very quickly that it's not worth sacrificing putting your best foot forward in order to hit a deadline.
Never rush into launching an idea. Part of success is taking the time to be thoughtful and smart about your approach. Often we can get excited and impulsive by our own ideas and feel the need to rush them through. Slow and steady wins the race!
What are two qualities you think every entrepreneur needs in order to be successful?
Perseverance & grit.