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How to launch exclusively into Sephora with Bread Beauty Supply Founder, Maeva Heim

Joining me on the show today is Maeva Heim, founder of Bread Beauty Supply. Or Bread for short.

Now, I Actually met Maeva by chance last year when I was in Melbourne visiting a friend and I recognised her voice from a podcast I’d listened to her speak on before and the rest is history - now she’s here with us sharing her story.

But, back to the episode - Bread is the best shampoo alternative and co-wash for kinky, curly, coily hair.

We’re talking about how she took a third door approach to launch exclusively with Sephora and what she’s learned so far while we have a few giggles along the way.

Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!

Maeva: Yeah, so my name is Maeva, I am the founder of Bread Beauty Supply, Bread for short and bread is essentially a brand, but we focus on textured hair. So hair that's curly, quietly, wavy or even handed. It is generally dry and there's a lot of moisture. And we launched the world in July of this year. We launched with Sephora. And I'm really kind of proud that we're one of the very few Blackphone friends to launch in Sephora, the definitely building that out and all of our formulas are clean and it's all about basically making textured hair care and hair care in general, simple and easy.

Doone: Amazing, and I've obviously been following along your journey ever since we met, so for the last year and I'm just so pumped for you, I see all of your updates and I've read about you like just scrolling somewhere else and seeing your brand.

Doone: Or like I was telling you on Instagram yesterday, someone I was asking the woman I was interviewing if she had any recommendations for new guests on the show. And she was like, oh, you need to speak to Maeva from Fred. And I was like, that's so funny that you say that because I'm interviewing her tomorrow morning issues.

That is so bizarre.

Serendipity or serendipity, indeed. Let's rewind back to your life. A few years ago when the light bulb moment happened, what was going on in your world?

Doone: What made you decide to start a brand?

Maeva: What was so many things? My journey was a really long one. I think to get to the point of launch and where we are now growing up, I don't think I ever kind of. Had an aspiration to launch my own brand will be a business owner, but it was kind of drilled into me from a very young age regardless, because my mum owned hair salon. So she was also an entrepreneur here in Perth. She had a salon that was this tiny little garage connected to the back of the Italian restaurant. And I was there all the time on weekends and after school and around all of these products that were for textured ham because it was a braiding salon.

Maeva: But I guess the moment for me happened later on.

Maeva: Then I ended up in a corporate career and that was kind of my thing. I was like, yes, I'm climbing the corporate ladder. That was always kind of the path that I wanted to go down. I was very much one of those, you know, dedicated, I guess, quite high achievers in school. And so it was that cool. This is the path that is laid out for you and this is what you're going to do. And so that was kind of what I was doing. I ended up working in marketing and beauty in the corporate space at L'Oreal, and I kind of just got to a point where I was really just fed up with the beauty industry. I was behind the scenes of this enormous corporation working on some of the biggest brands in the world. And I didn't feel like those brands were talking to me. And I was also privy to a lot of the behind the curtain things that went on that gave me that insight to be like, OK, I can see why there's a disconnect. I can see why these brands aren't catering to me. I can see why there aren't more foundation shades in the market for women who look like me and women have darker skin tones. And I really saw that as one, a huge problem and too an opportunity to potentially start my own brand because I was just becoming fed up. I was like, these companies have all of this money and we're all working so hard for this and that.

I just wasn't, you know, aligned to any more. And I wanted to do something about it and I wanted to know where that money was going. I was working with this enormous company and I didn't know where the benefit of that was going, the economic benefit. And I figured there weren't really a lot of beauty brands like really large brands that were owned by women or women of color.

And that to me was where this massive problem was stemming from, because I felt like you have to be in that position of power in order to really have the effects trickle down into the market. And I remember complaining about this to my partner one day and saying there aren't enough female founders in beauty that have massive companies. There aren't enough black women that the CEOs of these big companies that can make these decisions so that we see it impacting in the market.

And he was like, well, what are you going to do about it? And it was kind of that moment that I was like, oh, well, I guess I could do something about it.

You know, I've got this industry knowing how I've got this really this background in beauty. It's kind of been in my family, in my blood for so long.

And I figured, why not do something about it and start a brand that would have that goal of making the industry more diverse, providing more products and services that were better for women of color.

And so I left my marketing role and it took about I mean, I think it was overall like at least three years from that moment that I left to now actually launching the brand three or four years. And when I first left, I actually was considering launching a makeup brand. This was pretty fancy. And I often kind of make that distinction when when I think of the beauty industry is like this preventive phase and post phase, because Presente, you could not find a foundation for AIDS unless you were shopping at Mac. And so there was this massive gap in makeup. I knew that the entire industry had a problem, but that seems like the most immediate need. And so I was exploring, launching this makeup brand. I wanted to launch a brand that had one hundred foundation shades. And it was actually while I was exploring that concept and working in another role that was actually in the startup space so that I could kind of absorb a lot of startup wisdom that I went on a trip to the United States and I was in New York and we got on a flight to go from New York to Colorado. And I had a chemical in my suitcase, which is basically a very toxic, caustic product that you can buy over the counter and you use it to straighten your hair. And I arrived in Colorado, opened up my suitcase, and this chemical relaxer had exploded over all of my stuff. And it was a great time. We're in the middle of nowhere in the mountains somewhere. And I didn't have access to get another one. And I'd been chemically relaxing my hair since I was. Six or seven years old, so my entire life and it's kind of like bleach, so you have to top up for relaxer, it's like every three to six months.

Imagine that over the course of a lifetime of 20 plus years and back in the day and still now there are some really, really harmful products in ingredients in these products. And so you can imagine that the effect on your health is not great, especially for products that you're putting on your scalp so often and so frequently. All right. And a lot of the time, the experiences that you leave it on for a really long time and you get welts and scabs on your scalp. And so the issues that they call is in not only potentially internal, but external as well. And that is all just part of the experience. You don't really question it, do you? Get to the point where you can I should stop doing this. Really. And so it was kind of just in that moment that I was like, you know what, I should stop using this product. I had been slowly transitioning a lot of my body care and skincare products to things that were more clean and realizing that I was still relaxing my hair and putting this really harmful product on my scalp. So I decided to stop and go back to my natural texture very quickly. And I had no idea at that time that I had curly hair. And I know that sounds ridiculous in my head when it's if it's not like a patent, it's just like an effort. And so I didn't realize that I actually had colds like spiracles because I'd never even seen my hair naturally. So I had to look after it because I was constantly relaxing it.

You just in that routine? Yeah, it was always relaxed.

It was always in braids or in a wave my entire life. And so I had no idea how to look after it, what it was, any of that.

And I just made the snap decision in that moment, not realizing how difficult and cumbersome that transition process was going to be. And it wasn't until we got access to the shots again and I was able to get online that I was really shocked at the state of the category and the products that were targeted towards this type of hair. And I remember getting to the multicultural Halkett aisle, which is what they have in the US, and they make that distinction. And I was just so shocked and I felt like I had gone back to the 90s. Nothing had really changed. There was a lot of innovation happening in other categories and it just felt like this part of the beauty industry had been completely left behind. And so I went away and was like, these products just don't exist. There is nothing on the market that is simple. It was very confusing, very overwhelming.

And I was like, I just want to know how to wash my hair. And Nebraska telling me or giving me a simple solution to do that. The a lot of different product types retains a really long even if you research online, like looking at natural can retain or curly hair can retain its like 20 products after having a routine like I don't have time for that.

And so that was kind of the moment that I went away and started building bread to be this brand and all of these products in a really simple way, using a kind of philosophy and making routines really simple, starting with wash day.

And that first part of your routine, which is washing your hair. And it wasn't just me that was going through this experience. And so I knew that there would be a lot of other women who were going through these exact steps and then entering this market and being, there's nothing here for me. Relax. The sales at that time had declined almost 40 percent or five year period. And I think just anecdotally, so many women were going back to their natural hair and the natural hair movement was really a thing and still is a thing. It's very much like a coming of age. You get to a certain age, feel like I'm going to start relaxing your hair through her. And that was a good couple of years ago. And the brand had a completely different name, but.

I'm not going to say take this so embarrassing, it's embarrassing.

It was a very kind of trendy thing at the time. And and for that reason, within three weeks of me thinking of that night, somebody trademarked it. And I was like, oh, crap, I have to go back to the drawing board. But the concept remains the same.

It was like, we want to simplify textured routines and we really want to provide the staples and the essentials of your wardrobe. And so when I had to go back to the drawing board, I was like, what is it that we're doing? That's what we want to be. We want to be the staples like Staples, Staples in other categories and landed on bread.

Oh, I just love it, love it, love it, love everything about it, the name, the look, the language, I really think it's such a special brand.

Can we actually talk about the branding for a second before we get into how you actually built the company? How did you come up with the vibe? Like, obviously you've you've probably worked with someone, all that kind of thing, but it's so distinct in in its look and feel and and language.

How did you how did you get there?

Yeah, I think that a lot of the brand and the vibe and the aesthetic of it has been driven by this girl and this woman that I was seeing online who wasn't being spoken to by other brands in this space. And so I was looking at these brands. A lot of them were heritage brands, a lot of kind of conglomerates that have been around for a long time and have multiple brands in this space.

And a lot of that look and feel was very polished and Photoshopped and glossy. And then I would go on Instagram, for example, and see this woman who I felt like was a customer like me and that I could relate to as well and peristaltic. And the way that she presented herself was completely in opposition to what you would see in the market. And I thought this there has to be room for a brand like bread to be a product and something that you'd be really proud to have on your bathroom shelf. And that aligns with her identity. And so, yeah, the vibe has been completely inspired by her. And I worked with multiple different people and kind of bringing it all together. But I think in the end, like, I kind of just went with a lot of it was my gut and what I was saying and just trying to translate that into a brand. And so it's still superfluid and ever evolving, just like she is. And that has probably been one of the most difficult pieces of building this brand, because I feel that, yeah, for sure there is. When you have an idea in your head and you know what, you want something to look like, it can be very difficult for somebody else to translate something that doesn't exist and is like intangible in your mind. And of course, when you're working with designers, designers want to design. But if you already have a very kind of strict idea of what you want, it can be really difficult to kind of rein people back and be like, no, we don't need new concepts. We want this, but make it look professional.

And that's really tricky.

And we're still on that path of really finding that person or that that team that can translate that vision into tangible things, whether it's digitally or through print, because a lot of that work I still do myself.

Wow, incredible. I want to go back to when you had that light bulb moment where you make the decision like this is it? It's going to be bread. We're going to build this brand. What are the next steps? How do you actually build the brand?

And it's so funny because I was in this phase for so long of listening to all the podcasts, going to all the conferences, reading all the Founda stories. And that was always my one question is like, what is the first thing that you did? Because I felt so stuck even when I landed on this concept and even though I knew that this was what I wanted to build, there was still so much, I guess, like push and pull between, like, what do I do first? Am I doing the right thing? Like, what if I do that? I waste money on this and all of those things. And so I wanted to know from everybody, I'm like, what's the first thing you did? And I honestly can't remember any of the answers from that. And I actually can't remember for myself, I thought, I don't actually know what the first thing was. What I will say is that once I landed on the concept, was that cool?

I would buy this brand. I guess the first thing that I did was figure out if other people would, too. And I think there's different ways to do that for me. I was scraping the Internet, any kind of market research that I could find for free that would validate that there were other people that would need this. And so I was looking at Minitel reports, the Consumer Reports that was showing people buying relaxes less and spending more on products like conditioners or shampoo and how much and what the trend looks like and what the overall kind of cosmetics trends are, which if you look at anything, it's like fashion cosmetics, it's cyclical. And so I could see that it was going to be big, will become huge. That was going to be a real renaissance to the hackerspace, because at the time it was all about color, cosmetics, makeup, makeup, makeup is a big thing. And I'm like, cool. In a couple of years I was going to come around and then we're going to swing back. But just getting that data and getting those insights really made me feel confident about the direction and really made me feel good about how we would position this story as well to investors or to retailers or whoever it might be.

So that was one of the first things that I did. But again, insights and one thing, actually, it's another thing. So I guess after that, I spent a lot of time kind of crafting that visual language of the brand, figuring out what the products should be. And so that took a lot of time in terms of being able to test products, because I actually don't like to wash my hair very often, which is the whole point of the brand. It's difficult to be able to test a lot of products in a timely way because it just takes a little bit longer. And then I went about finding manufacturers everything. Nothing happened in a linear way. What's it like? Do this and then do that, because I'm just going to try all of these different things. And eventually I think they'll come to a straightforward path.

And I spoke to a lot of different manufacturers without a lot of different manufacturers, independent cosmetic formulators, all of those things, until we landed on the web with exactly what that launch product assortment would look like. But then also figuring out where do I want this brand to go? What are we trying to achieve here? And I knew that one. I wanted to create a brand that is going to scale quickly and be really big, because the whole point is that we want to change the cosmetic industry. And in order to do that, we need a brand where a woman of color has decision making power so that we can impact the industry. So I knew I wanted it to be big, which meant that we would need investment. And then I knew that I wanted to launch with Sephora.

And the reason for that was because I didn't feel like they necessarily had anything in here at Sephora. And I wanted the girl who was going in there and Bonfante to have an optioning hair as well. And so at the same time, I was figuring out, OK, cool, if we're going to launch with Sephora, how can I get into Sephora? How do I get a launch contract with Sephora before we produce a single product? That was my goal.

How do we get that purchase thought out before anything hits the line so that we had that kind of backing and didn't have to outlay so much without any guarantees? And so all of those things were happening simultaneously.

And I don't know, no one thing really happened at the same time. Everything and anything all at the same time. Yeah.

I'm so interested to know about the Sephora piece of the puzzle, because, like you said, how do you get a launch contract with a brand like Sephora, which is obviously huge and the goal for any beauty brand, I imagine. What were the kind of steps that you did to get on their radar? How did you make that happen?

Yeah, I think it's interesting because I definitely know brands that have been offered to launch in Sephora and have declined. And I think certain styles of brand work, really. Well, there and others, maybe not so much, but for us, I knew that I wanted us to be omni channel. We need a retail partner and Sephora is like that. And then, of course, we want to sell through our own homes. We have that close relationship with our consumer. But for me, it was kind of and I have talked about this in the past, but this idea of like taking a side door, because to your point, everyone wants to launch, it's a horrible mistake from. Right. And so going a traditional route of finding someone's email and sending an email to a buyer is probably not going to get you through. And so what I did was, one, I knew that there was an opportunity to potentially speak to like a Sephora executive at events. That's one way that I've been able to kind of meet different people and get people's contact and build relationships.

And so I ended up going to this conference in L.A. and I knew that there was going to be a Sephora speaking. I think it was actually they had mentioned that last minute she pulled out and somebody else ended up coming and.

I just basically stopped her at this event. I'm just going to wait for the right, as do and that was that window of opportunity. She kind of went off to get some lunch and then come back and she was just wandering around and yeah, I approached her and I just said introduced myself, said, I'm working on these brand, you know, what is your advice for being able to get a meeting with a buyer? And at the time, I knew that this wasn't very common. Like it's not really common that you can kind of approach the floor and go, hey, I've got this brilliant idea, give you a pitch and they'll go do it unless you're a celebrity or you're an influence because you've got that built in audience. But I knew that I had done it. I read this article, which was the brand is and yes, let's let's launch it. And I was like, cool, maybe you can do it. I'll give it a crack. And so, yeah, I told this they pay from Sephora what I was doing and she was like, do you have product samples? And I had some really early product samples at the time. And I said, yeah, I've got some samples and I've got a brand.

And she was like, well, here's my card, email me the deck and I'll get it to the right person.

And I was like, Oh, OK, great, how easy was that? And I thought, was that too easy? I don't know. I just asked for advice. And now you're going to connect me with the buyer.

Ok, let's do this. And so I booked a flight to San Francisco because I thought if there's a chance that this gets to the right person and they want to do a meeting, like I want to be there for, like, let's do it. And so I booked this trip to San Francisco and refined this deck while I was there.

I sent it off at midnight on a Sunday, got an email back, I think, Monday from the buyer, and she said, I can meet you 15 minutes tomorrow.

You were like, thank goodness, I came to San Fran and I thought, wow, OK, yes, but I think my flight or bus was going back that night. And so I had to change like tickets and everything was worth it.

And then the other way that I kind of went about it to kind of take that side door approach was I knew that before I have this accelerated program and felt like I could potentially be a good friend for that. And I reached out to all of the contacts that I knew in San Francisco and L.A. told them about what I was doing. And one of them from San Francisco said, oh, this is cool. You should actually meet with the woman who runs before Accelerate. And I said, Right, well, I'm in San Francisco, please introduce me. She did. And it just so happened that she was also available the following day at 10 a.m. and then the meeting with the buyer was at 11 a.m. They both picked the same spot to go on the juice downstairs from the CIFOR office. And so I set myself up in the corner of John the Juice. I think it's five to five Market Street and prepared for my meetings, which honestly would like life changing in the end, because when I met with the support buyer, we ended up chatting like an hour, an hour and a half. And she loved the concept, was really bullish on which she's the Halkett buy, but was really bullish on growing hair, which is the fastest growing category at Sephora.

It's the smallest, but super fast growing. She was really bullish on textured hair and really felt like this was a brand that was missing in the space. And then I met with the manager of Sephora Accelerate, who is amazing and is still the manager there today. And she was very supportive, but it wasn't open to Australia based Fountas at the time. So she was like, it might open next year and if it does reach out and you should apply. And so I kept in touch with the buyer and actually ended up meeting with her a couple of times over the years as I went back and forth from Melbourne to L.A. and when that Sephora accelerate opened up for the first time to Australia based scrounges, she ended up putting me forward as a recommendation, which was amazing and a huge bonus for me to be able to. I think there was some parts at the start of the application that I could skip over. So the application video and stuff like that. And I'm still doing that. I still do that location and the video. And I think Lily was the manager of Excel, said that the application that I did was the longest they've ever had in history.

You were like, I'm getting in there.

I'm just going like it, throwing everything at it so that you can say no. And so that's kind of how it all came about. And then got to be part of Accelerate, which was just the most incredible experience I probably ever had for the business. And we got to the end of that demo day presented the brand to a bunch of investors who were already interested in the beauty space specifically, and then following that, got the contract with Sephora, which was amazing, a long time coming.

But we got the oh, my gosh, isn't it crazy, that feeling of like a really serious goal that you have coming into fruition and actually like being realised and you just being, oh, hang on a second. I had an idea and then I had a goal and now I'm actually here.

Yeah, it's the best feeling, especially when you have a goal where you like. This is very unlikely. And I had already spoken to myself internally and thought this this is not going to happen. And just like, prepared myself for that outcome. And so regardless of whether it happened or not, I was still fine. But then when it does happen, you're like, oh, OK, let's go.

Oh, my gosh. Totally. Absolutely.

When you were going to us like to L.A. and San Fran of this kind of thing, was that because you were already positioning yourself to get American funding, or was it specifically for just Sephora side of things?

Yeah, I don't know that I was specifically positioning myself to get American funding because I did pitch to investors in Australia as well, but it was more so that I knew if we wanted to get funding at all, like the US would have to be our first target market because of the scale.

And so those trips back and forth were one about building relationships with the four out there, being seeing what was happening in the market and then also making connections with investors. But it was also about the audience. It was like, where is the place where we need to be first in order to capture this audience and figure out how this brand is going to grow and put us in a good position to have scale to begin with. And that was the US.

Got it. Totally. And what was your experience like when you were going through the process of fundraising and pitching to investors, investors in Australia? What's the Australian landscape like? The.

It's a very interesting landscape, I think, for startups in general, but especially beauty startups, because the market here is so young and it's very uncommon to have a pre launch, pre product, beauty startup, female found. All of those things get funded in Australia.

And I think I honestly only know of maybe one or two people. There's probably more, but there's probably not more than I think it would be single digits to get institutional funding. So that wasn't such a huge appetite, I think, for angel investors. That was a bit of an appetite. But I knew I needed like a really big lead and I just wasn't going to get that in this market. After having a few conversations, doing a few pitches, like, I think I need to focus my attention on the US where things are kind of heating up a little. And it just so happened that everything kind of came together at the same time because, one, we have damage with Sephora, too. We got the contract from Sephora and three, beauty in general, everyone was looking at and specifically there were so many funds and so many investors that were specifically on the hunt for investment and who are on the hunt for a textured your investment. So everything ended up aligning really perfectly.

Sounds like the stars really aligned on that one. It's so interesting. How had you been funding the business until that point? Because I imagine two years or three years, even when you were back doing the makeup side of things, you know, that's a lot of development costs.

Yeah, so I'm still working full time for most of that period. I did some work with the League of Extraordinary Women, which was an amazing way to kind of see how one startup business runs, but then also to be able to network with and meet so many other female founders who were part of that community. And then I ended up working with Grenelle, who is an amazing entrepreneur who I think you interviewed, right?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I was in her office that day was for that's when we interviewed it in that room, that which was really actually it was really fun. It is.

So Gretta, I had met I think when I was working at L'Oreal actually and I have no idea how I ended up coming across her, but we met while I was working at L'Oreal and kind of stayed in touch. And then at one point I caught up with their own. I I'm building this thing and really with just kind of showing it to her as a as a way to kind of get some advice. And she was like, well, I'm building this new startup called Influences, which is basically I can influence a marketing place.

Why don't you kind of work with me, learn everything that I know. And when you're ready to leave to do bread full time, you can do that. And we can have that conversation, which was just an incredible opportunity and experience to have and to really have that understanding from the get go that it was like this is temporary, but an awesome experience. And I was doing that full time and doing bread on the side for a really long time. And that funded everything. I think in manufacturing. The benefit is that a lot of manufacturers work on a you can get free samples, they'll do the sampling process for free. And then once you kind of get to that order phase, that's when you have to invest a lot. But I also took out a loan. I had to take out a personal loan to fund a lot of things.

And so I think that if I think about it, that that was really scary because I have almost never taken out a loan in my life.

The only debt that I have is for my degree. And I have one credit card which I pay off in full every month. And so getting into debt was really, really scary for me. But in the end, I just knew that I had to do it. I'm not going to survive. It's going to be very stressful. I just have to do this and just really like I had so much faith that this would come to fruition eventually.

But in five years time, it won't even matter and just kind of have to suck up that that fear of the moment for what I knew would be fine in the future.

Yeah. Calculated risk. Absolutely.

You launched this year. I think it was July, right? Yes. Yep. You launched in July and you had obviously the most incredible press here, there and everywhere. And since you've been on things like Vogue codes and all these really cool things, can you talk us through your go to market strategy and how you made all of those things kind of pop at the same time?

Yes, so we always launched in a very challenging time because we were in the middle of a pandemic, there were so many things going on socially. The Black Lives Matter movement was really like at its height at that time as well. And so a lot of things were planned in advance, but we didn't have a lot of opportunity to get everything together in the time that we needed because we were so focused on operations. It was like we need to get this product from this country to this country into that warehouse and into the forward on time. That is our number one priority.

And so, yeah, it honestly was not very smooth sailing.

And I think we're just now finding our feet. And we had all of this incredible launch press, which is amazing. And we had an amazing press launch partner to help us with that. And I think that for us, our go to market was very much about establishing ourselves in the press so that we could kind of build out our brand equity and then focus on things that are further down the funnel, which is what we're doing now. And so, yeah, it was very Presland launch and that had been our strategy from the get go. Now we're figuring out what are the levers we need to pull to get people to a confession. And I love all that stuff. And just figuring out now that we're actually selling like what is that path to purchase? Because every brand and customer is different. Beauty especially is very different and has its own nuances. And then you have to add in that layer of text in here, which has another layer and really figuring out who your best customer is, because we have all sorts of people coming to us to buy our products, not just women who have textured have straight hair like, my God, I really want to buy this, like, is it going to work for me?

And so we have to really figure out exactly what our finals look like for the right people who know who's going to be our long term valuable customer that is loyal to the brand that we can really, really focus on. And that's just a lot of trial and error.

Obviously, we're very digitally focused. We have our own apron. We have our retail partnerships. We will have more retail partnerships in the future, which I think is a really great way for us to go to market in other countries, too.

I think having a retail partner is not just for the commercial side of things, but as a marketing channel as well is huge. And so we always look at our planning and our plans for distribution with that lens is like who is going to be the best marketing partner for us? And those are that's very country specific and really looking at each country and each region with a different lens to figure out what that looks like. And yeah, I think just working through what our social strategy looks like, what our content looks like, because we don't want to look and feel like the brands. But at the same time there are formulas that work that you kind of have to play into. And so our biggest challenge is really figuring out that balance between like direct response and what works, but also maintaining the brand integrity and all kind of brand vision.

And I'll look and feel because that's what differentiates us. And as soon as we kind of cross that line, very hard to go back. So that's a huge challenge, especially for a brand that we have very lofty projections and goals and all of those things.

So, yeah, something that we're definitely working through on a daily basis.

Yeah, totally so true. Once you've compromised that integrity, it is hard to go back. I'm wondering what your biggest driver for growth is at the moment now that you've kind of used all of that launch excitement.

You're a few months in? Well, six months and quite frankly, go further into the track. What's working for you at the moment?

Yeah, I think what's working for us, because we did have that initial big push, it's like a lot of people have seen us know about us and they're kind of hovering around the brand. But what's working really well for us, actually, and this is going to sound so boring influences, but it's that thing that it works, right?

If you get the formula right, then it was.

Yeah. And I think that formula is so different for every brand for us. We have that big push at the beginning. And so now it's about finding the right influences, influentials who are the trigger point and that conversion point for people. So it's like who is an authority that people trust and believe that says, oh, I love this brand. And someone has saying that now that you said you love it, I'm going to go and buy it.

And that's what's working for us really well is just the the hot part and the grunt work is in finding who those people are and doing that in a very cost effective way, which is difficult because you have to know that they work for before you're able to invest a lot. But that is definitely what's working for us. And part of that strategy means that you almost have to spray and pray a little bit. So we do a lot of gifting.

We do a lot of send outs to my influences, to celebrities, to influences, have really big followings. And a lot of the time, well, actually one hundred percent of the time that a really big influence or a celebrity has posted about us, it's not been paid so that organic brand fans and then we're able to see if we're getting a lift and go cool that somewhere we need to invest in someone we need to invest in because the audience trusts them their own authority in this space, even if you might not think that they are. And that is something that I really wanted for the brand, which is Hecke influences are amazing.

But I really wanted to be able to capture the audience and that influential person who is not a hardcore influencer.

And that has worked very well for us because often it's someone who almost never posts about beauty that is doing the best for us. So, yeah, something we're learning along the way. And we just need to find more of that profile and that person who has that style of audience where they just like hanging on every word that that person says, but they don't necessarily have to be a hero authority.

That's so interesting. But it actually really makes sense because if you're going to a haircare influencer or influence or beauty influencer who's posting product at the product of the product of the product, it's easy to get in the noise. It's it's such the channel is saturated. Whereas if you go to someone who is actually in a different category, who's able to be like, oh, hang on a second, I just found something that is absolute gold. You only hear about it then it makes total sense.

Yeah, absolutely. Great insight. What does the future look like? What's coming next?

Oh, my gosh, so many things, but I think first and foremost is international expansion. So this problem is one that I discovered in the US and there's a huge consumer base there. But interestingly enough, it's the same problem almost anywhere in the world. And so Australia is definitely on the horizon. Europe and the UK is on the horizon. I got new dates, but they're happening in the background. And I'm just really excited to see how Brand resonates with an international audience and how it resonates in different regions.

The Middle East is on the horizon. All of these places where, unlike the US, which is actually quite separate, it's a very saturated market, is very saturated, very fragmented. And so there are actually a lot of options for us.

Yes, but when the best options in other places, there aren't many options and there isn't a lot of access. So while the audience size may be smaller, the demand is higher because there's there's just not a lot out there.

Really excited to see how that all unfolds to is growing the team and really building out a robust kind of marketing engine internally. We use a lot of Bendel's and external agencies and that sort of thing. But I really want to bring people into the team internally so we can kind of foster this culture in this team of just like marketing wizards, which I'm equally excited about. And yeah, more things with Sephora as well, which I'm very excited about too. So we have some expansion coming up there and we have a really big brand campaign that we're planning for early twenty, twenty one, which is definitely something that I've been wanting to do ever since I first thought. Was like, why isn't anybody through. And so that's very exciting to to bring to the world in twenty twenty one.

Oh I'm so excited. Will obviously be following along and watching every post that you do. What advice do you have for women who have a big idea and want to launch their own business.

I think probably my best advice would be to.

This is going to sound really cliche as well. But remember to follow your instincts and your gut, I think once you start getting further along, it's harder to listen to that because you end up being surrounded by really, really smart business people and people who've done things before. But sometimes you can get lost in the knowledge and you forget why you're doing what you're doing. And you forget that the reason it doesn't exist is because nobody like you has done it before. And so you have to remember that you have the insight and you have the instinct as to what you need to do and take all of that advice on. And I think there's certain practical things where it makes sense to listen to other people, but always come back to your gut and remember why you're the one doing what you're doing and why nobody else has done it. Like there's a reason for that. And so it's important to remember that your gut can be trusted.

I love that that's so true, so true. We are up to the six quick questions part of the episode. Oh, great. No one happy throw a match up. What's your why?

Oh, I think I have a few different lines. One is family.

I think that I'm very lucky to have two immigrant parents who came here in the 90s and really did an amazing job of just giving myself and my siblings a wonderful life and supporting us through everything and anything. And I feel very grateful every day that I have that backing and that cushion. And so I want to make sure that I make them proud. And part of what I'm doing is so that I can give back to them for everything that they gave to me. And then I guess my other. Why is that? I always kind of had this intrinsic nature of wanting to help people and be a force of good. And so my hope is that in the system that we created and that we live in, where power is important and often to get power, you need money like money and power are intrinsically linked that I want to create bread to be this powerhouse brand that is really commercially successful so that we have the power to actually not just impact the beauty industry, but I think. People's lives overall, because the beauty industry is one of the biggest spenders in media and I think media just has such a critical role to play in one the way the people are represented and then to that directly impacting how they're treated in their everyday lives. And so if we can become a really successful company, we can have this media buying power that is hopefully going to be able to change the way that women of color and black women specifically are represented in media make that more nuanced and make that more real.

And yeah, that's something that we're striving towards every day with this brand.

Yeah, you're totally on your way there. You're going to do so well with this brand, I can feel it. It's already amazing. Question number two is what's been the number one marketing moment that made your business, pop?

Oh, great question. I think that for me, the number one marketing moment was probably.

I mean, it's probably what it was, that moment of being like with here and when we suffer like we've launched with the horror, which is just an enormous feat that was huge.

And to be able to come out to the world and say this is our launch partner was a massive moment for our brand and a moment that I won't ever forget or take for granted. And I'm just so excited to to build with so far and hopefully become the next big thing, which is funny, because that's where we live. Insta is the next big thing.

Ll Cool love about oh my gosh. So we'll be question number three is where do you hang out to get smarter.

What are you reading. What are you listening to. Where are you hanging out on the internet.

Oh, gosh, I really want to be able to read more. Everything has been so hectic since launch, but I used to read a lot and part of the reason that I ended up on the path that I'm on is because I was reading so much. I remember when I was working at L'Oreal and I would walk to work every day and have an audio book in my ear. And I was listening to books like The Magic of Thinking Big and the Hard Thing about Hard Things and all of those kind of like start up like classics and even books by Eckhart Tolle. Totally.

I never know how to pronounce that correctly, but those were those were books that really kind of led me on the path that I'm on now. And so I really want to get back into the books. But right now, the main place that I am kind of like learning new things is really I often really do feel a lot smarter having been on Twitter. And I know that that sounds nonsensical, but I feel like Twitter is often the first place that I find things out, whether it's news, whether it's industry, whether it's the voice space, whether it's insights on consumer and what other brands are doing. I get that information from Twitter and I do feel ahead of the curve because I feel like content on Twitter filters through to like Instagram and all of those things, but it generally starts in incubates on Twitter.

And so that's probably the main place where I'm consuming content these days.

I need to get back on Twitter. I feel like it's been a long time since I was, you know, hanging out there. I need to get like once you pop, you can't stop.

Like, I hated Twitter back in the day on the stand, how this works, why people on this platform. And then once you start building your following list and certain things start popping up and you feel like this is great.

Yeah, it is great. Question number four is how do you win the day? What are you doing that keeps you feeling happy and successful and motivated?

Yeah, I think one of my big things is my dog and just kind of having her there and being able to take that break in the middle of the day, take her out to the dog park and watch him run around with her mates down at the dog park. Gives me so much joy.

So, yeah, it really does fuel my day, which I love. And aside from that, I think creating a space that feels really aspirational. Right now, we're all working from home. The entire red team is remote, but we recently moved in. So I now have this beautiful space in the front of our house, which has like like beaming in throughout the day. I like my product set up in there and it just makes me feel so much more legitimate and really encourages me to work hard and kind of bring everything to fruition. Just looking at everything and looking at all of these flags that a pin drop. And yeah, that's definitely a great way to kind of give me a boost, making sure that space looks amazing. And then, yeah, having my dog that.

So you love that for you. I can't wait to get a dog. Holy moly. Yes. Gosh, I know it's going to be life changing. I feel like I've waited my whole life, you know, like 30 years in the making. Thirty one years in the making. Worth the wait.

Yes. It is a question of a five.

If you only had a thousand dollars left in your business bank account, where would you spend it?

Great question I would probably spend it on.

I'd spend half on.

Like a high performing influence and half on I mean, it's a thousand dollars, that's no love, but if I could split it, I'd spend half on that and half on headcount for somebody to actually execute it, because everyone says that the hardest thing that you do and the hardest thing in any companies like the people and finding the right people to execute on things.

And that is so, so true. And I feel like when you find them and you give them the autonomy to do things like that's what is going to move the needle for your business. And so, yeah, just a little bit of money it would have to go towards, like paying someone to do something for me.

Nice. And question number six, the last question is, how do you deal with failure? And it can be around a personal experience or just your general mindset and approach?

Yeah, my mindset and I guess approach to failure is almost like disconnect from a failure.

And I think a lot of that mindset has been driven by back in the day reading a lot of these books by Eckhart Tolle and understanding the ego and also just understanding that everything is like malleable and kind of changeable and that you don't always have control over things. And so when there is a failure, it's not necessarily like a denial of reality.

But I do kind of have this sense of, OK, like the failure happened.

But there's absolutely nothing like you can't go back in history, can't change things. There's absolutely no point in exerting energy on that. And the only thing you can do is think about what's next and the possibility of something new. And so I don't get hung up on this at all because I'm like, what's the point? What is the point? And if you fail at one thing, like, OK, this is going to be something else, and if you just keep moving forward like you, you'll get there at some point. And I think that a lot of the of stories that I kind of read about and heard about when I was first starting out in this journey was a lot about failures and mistakes. And so knowing that a lot of people who I really look up to and aspire to be like have also made a lot of failures and mistakes is very comforting. And knowing that those people often made failures and then got to a really successful point, I think is comforting, too, because, like, you just have to keep going through the failure. Like it's not the end of the world. That person's done it, that person's done it. And look where they are now and think about the possibility of that. And failure just forms as well. It gives you the Know-How and the backbone to be like, OK, cool, that failed. Why? And we have an opportunity to do something differently. And you can never be successful at everything in life like it's going to happen. It's like there is a it's a gang and like everything is one spectrum and another. You can't have happiness without sadness. You cannot have success without failure.

And so I'm certain that there will be many failures to come out of the process, which was so great.

Thank you so much for being on the show today and sharing a little about your brand and what you're building and where you want to go in the world for women everywhere, just loving it. Thanks for having me.

So cool. I'm going to be obviously cheering you on on the sidelines on things on Instagram. I'll see you then.



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