Briogeo’s CEO is mastering manes and breaking through barriers.
– KEYS SOULCARE
Update: In 2022, Nancy sold Briogeo to Wella Company. While Nancy continues in her role as Founder and CEO of Briogeo globally, she is now evolving once again by sharing her business expertise and life experience to enrich the lives of her community via NancyTwine.com.
As far as we’re concerned, Nancy Twine is the modern-day Ms. Frizzle. (In a magical, science-loving curl boss sort of way). After a successful career on Goldman Sachs’ trading floor, the former finance wiz took her passion for chemistry and quality into Briogeo Hair Care, and hasn’t looked back since. Through Briogeo, Nancy’s countering the myth that all hair isn’t created equal and redefining hair care by treating every type and texture under one united brand.
With earth-loving sustainability practices to boot, Briogeo is well on its way to becoming the latest household name. (And we’ve got the scoop on why you don’t want to miss out!) Read on for all the deets behind the magic of Briogeo and why Nancy’s vision may be your ticket to decluttering your bathroom shelves, once and for all.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE BRIOGEO AS A BRAND?
Briogeo is a clean, natural, [and] effective hair care product line that was really built on the belief that if you treat your hair and scalp the same way you do your skin, you will create the foundation for your healthiest hair. It’s also built on the fundamental belief that hair care brands should unite people, not separate them. So from day one, Briogeo has been about serving all hair types, textures, and ethnicities.
DID YOUR OWN PERSONAL HAIR JOURNEY AFFECT YOUR APPROACH TO BRIOGEO?
I spent so much of my time navigating my hair. Not because there was anything wrong with my hair, but because I had a really hard time finding products that would help me do what I needed to do. Whether that was to hydrate, detangle, heal a flaky, itchy scalp, or whatever it was: I really had a problem finding products for my hair texture.
My mom, who has since passed, was a physician and a chemist. She knew a lot about how to emulsify water and oil to create textures using different ingredients. Growing up, we would go to our local health food store [and] buy different extracts, oils, and butters. With my mom and her knowledge, we would turn them into very functional beauty and hair care products. So much of the inspiration for Briogeo really stems from those childhood memories.
I also wanted to create a brand that would unite all people authentically because we all know — and this still exists today — when you go to your grocery or drug store, there’s an abundance of products for the majority hair type. When it comes to products for more textured hair, there’s typically a very limited assortment on the bottom shelf with poor lighting and dated packaging. Out of all of the beauty categories, hair has had the most profound divide because of the nuances that exist between different hair textures. It does so much to separate people and make them feel that their hair is a hindrance.
WHY DO YOU THINK HAIR IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF PEOPLE’S IDENTITY?
I remember reading an article profiling different cancer patients and how, for the first time, they realized that their hair was a big part of their identity, whether they wanted it to be or not. Going from hair to not having hair made them view themselves in such a different way. It’s not just hair. We’re all so unique. At the end of the day, it’s about figuring out what makes you, you. What brings out your confidence? What brings out your brio? The first part of Briogeo means vibrant or full of life and passionate energy [in Italian]. That’s what this brand is all about. It’s all about bringing out your brio and that means different things for different people.
LESS IS MORE WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR PRODUCTS. HOW DOES BRIOGEO SIMPLIFY HAIR CARE?
The way that we think about hair care at Briogeo is very problem-solution. We have different franchise collections: Scalp Revival for scalp care; Don’t Despair, Repair for those that have dry damaged hair, Curl Charisma for curly and oily hair types, and so on. Within those franchises, we typically only have four to five different products. We try to keep it simple as part of our brand ethics; we’re not going to try to sell you something that we don’t think you need.
HOW DID YOUR JOURNEY WITH GRIEF LEAD YOU TO BRIOGEO?
I lost [my mom] so suddenly and it really changed my perspective on life. You think your parents are always going to be there and you don’t even think of a possibility outside of that. It was truly the first time I realized this life is not guaranteed to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re the healthiest person, even if you’re the most cautious person, you can’t control that.
When I was working in my finance career [before launching Briogeo], there were so many things I [was] grateful for, but I was spending so much of my time working. I was also doing work that I wasn’t passionate about. That didn’t sit well with me. I was like, what if I’m gone tomorrow? I had a choice, but I chose to stay in a career that didn’t fulfill me. Why? Because I was scared that maybe I wouldn’t be able to make an income doing the things that I liked? Or if I left this prestigious Wall Street job people would think differently of me?
Fear is the root cause of everything that sets us back in life. That was a big moment for me. I became really fearless for the first time in my life. I had this idea that stemmed from my childhood and my mom, and I decided to take a risk. Had I not gone through the experience of loss to create that different perspective on life, I don’t know that I would’ve ever taken that jump.
HOW HAS BUILDING YOUR BRAND IMPACTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO BEAUTY AND CARE?
The process of research and development to come up with formulas is a nuanced process that requires a lot of heart and thought. Sometimes I wonder if I wasn’t passionate about this brand, [how] would I think about innovation differently? Would I try to take shortcuts and use [other] ingredients because it was cheaper and would get me to my margin? Would I try to market products that the client didn’t need?
At least 90% of the beauty brands in my bathroom are from founder-led brands because I know the founder mindset. [As a founder], you take it personal. You don’t want to put anything out that isn’t perfect or that hasn’t been researched and tested a million times. You wouldn’t put anything out that you wouldn’t use. I think that’s been a big shift for me. Now I want to know the story. I want to know who’s behind [the product]. I want to know how invested they are in their brand.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST CONNECTED TO YOUR HIGHEST SELF?
I’ve gotten so much more connected to my body and being able to understand what my body needs to feel. Sleep is a big part of that. When I exercise, I feel better because I’m getting more oxygen to my body. When I see my friends, [I feel better] because there were points in COVID where I went weeks on end without seeing anyone and my energy was so out of balance. I have to be very mindful of that. I want to bring my best self into the world, so [finding balance] has been a big part of that.
WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE VISION FOR YOUR WORK?
I want Briogeo to be bigger. I want more people to experience the brand, our products, and what we have to offer. There’s still so much work to do to make Briogeo even bigger internationally. [I want] Briogeo to be something bigger than hair care and North America, but global and visionary.
WHAT IS THE HIGHEST VISION YOU HAVE FOR YOURSELF?
The highest vision that I have for myself really stems from being good to my body, being good to other people, and really being able to show up as my best self. In order for me to do that, I’ve gotta make sure I’m investing in myself. I’m staying in tune with myself. I’m treating myself well. Work is not everything because if you’re not feeling your best, then nothing else really matters. The highest vision for myself is being able to create discipline [around] investing in myself so I can bring the best Nancy into everything that I do, every day.
How has your hair shaped your identity? Share your experiences in the comments!