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How To Take Smart Risks: 4 Tips From A Clean Hair Care Founder


Briogeo founder Nancy Twine left her career on Wall Street to start a clean hair care company inspired by her mother and grandmother’s home-concocted formulas.

While clean hair care products is a trend in 2023, it was a new category when Nancy launched her brand Briogeo 10 years ago.

“I’ve always been taught to take smart risks,” Nancy says. “So I knew that if I was going to leave my career in finance to start my own company, I wanted to feel really good about what I was going to embark on.”

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Nancy did everything she could to mitigate risk. In the early days, she was bootstrapping the business and working on Briogeo nights and weekends while she tried to prove out the concept.

Those calculations and late nights paid off. Briogeo scored a partnership with Sephora, and in 2022, the company was acquired by Wella Company. Nancy still holds the position of CEO.

On Shopify Masters, Nancy shares  some of her tips for taking calculated risks and making the full-time leap to entrepreneurship.

1. Research the market

Briogeo hair care products
Briogeo often utilizes natural ingredients like honey or superfoods to address hair and scalp issues. Briogeo
Nancy did extensive market research before joining the industry. She read white papers at a small business library in New York, trying to determine whether clean beauty was just a trend and what other companies were doing to incorporate natural ingredients into hair care products.

“I wanted to make sure that I was launching in an industry that was growing and that had a large addressable market so that I had people to sell my products to,” Nancy says.

2. Don’t quit your day job right away

Nancy kept her job at Goldman for almost three years while she built Briogeo. She says it was challenging, but it was the right move for her.

“I didn’t have the stress of trying to figure out how I was going to pay my bills or make ends meet because I had income from a career coming in,” she says. “I think that really helped me mentally.”

3. You don’t have to be a full-time entrepreneur to hire others

Juggling two jobs doesn’t have to slow the company’s growth. In fact, Nancy says one of the smartest things she did was bring on other people. She hired a branding agency and a chemist, so they could move things along while she was at her day job.

“I really focused my time on the things that were special to my talents, which is coming up with formula concepts and briefs and working on product names and marketing concepts,” Nancy says.

Nancy started creating her own hair care formulas because she couldn’t find the right products for her own hair texture. Briogeo

4. Build trust with your investors

Any time you bring on investors, it’s a risk. However, Nancy spent years building relationships with the private equity firm VMG Partners and, later, The Wella Company to make sure their visions of Briogeo matched her own. She describes it like a marriage.

“It’s a legally binding agreement,” Nancy says. “And before you enter into that, you want to make sure that you’re very clear with what it is you want, how you operate, and what you need from your partner, so that you can have a really successful and aligned outcome.”

To learn more about how Nancy navigated an acquisition and her thoughts on the future of clean beauty, listen to her full interview on Shopify Masters.

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This originally appeared on Shopify and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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