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BREAD—the vegan, Black-owned hair care brand here to save your curls

BREAD—the vegan, Black-owned hair care brand here to save your curls

You won’t find quite another natural haircare brand like Bread Beauty Supply. While you’ll often spot anti-frizz, extra definition products, Bread is the antithesis of that. The Black-owned brand made for 3A to 4C hair types is redefining, aspirational curls and carefree hair. In short the brand’s mission to simplify wash day, normalize frizz, texture and undefined curls. 

Sold on Sephora.com and soon in Sephora stores August 28th, the brand’s current lineup includes a gentle cleanser with a scent reminiscent of your favorite childhood cereal, a creamy, vanilla-scented deep conditioning mask and a lightweight everyday oil. The ingredients are clean and moisturizing, argan oil, aloe vera, starflower oil and more. 

Ahead of their in-store launch at Sephora on 8/28 we reached out via email to brand founder Maeva Heim for the full run-down of how Bread was born to how the products work together to what’s next for the brand.

What inspired you to launch BREAD and how did your partnership with Sephora happen?

BREAD has been a long time coming. The initial idea was sparked almost 4 years ago, when I stopped chemically relaxing my hair and went back to my curly textured hair. 

I was on a trip in the United States and took a flight from New York to Colorado. When I arrived in Colorado, I opened up my suitcase and discovered that the hair relaxer (chemical hair straightening product) I had brought with me had exploded over ALL of my clothes.

I was due for a top-up, but was in the middle of nowhere, and didn’t have access to get another one. I decided then and there that I was going to stop relaxing my hair. Straightening my hair with a relaxer was something I had done since I was 6 or 7 years old. And whilst I had protective styling (like braids and extensions) over the years growing up, my natural hair, when left out, was always straight. I had never in my over 20 years of life had to deal with my natural texture or even understand what it was. 

The first thing I wanted to do was to find care products that were specifically designed for my texture. Since I had grown up using products that were designed for straight hair, I knew those products were no longer going to cut it for my 4c, very textured hair.  

@breadbeautysupply

When I finally got access to stores and entered the ‘multicultural’ hair care aisle, I was taken aback. I felt like I had jumped in a time machine and gone back to 1995. I couldn’t find any brands on the market catering to my hair type that I could relate to. All of the brands I came across felt dated. They all seemed to speak in the same way, look the exact same, and the product selection was incredibly confusing. I was extremely overwhelmed and confused. I just wanted to know how to wash my hair and felt like brands weren’t providing that guidance in a super simple, time efficient way. 

Beauty shouldn’t be problematic or hard, it should be fun, and real – not overwhelming.

I soon discovered that I wasn’t the only one opting to ditch the relaxer. There was an almost 40% decline of hair relaxer sales over a 5-year period at that time, and a drastic cultural and commercial shift in the multicultural hair care category. 

A lot of young women who chemically relaxed their hair growing up undergo this transition when they reach adulthood and start questioning, or becoming more aware of, the types of beauty products they’re consuming and putting on their skin, so I knew there was now this whole group of consumers out there, just like me, who were also looking for this contemporary brand that didn’t exist. So, I decided to take my industry know-how and start building BREAD to fill this gap.

I knew from the get-go that I want BREAD to exist in Sephora. I wanted the woman who was already entering Sephora to buy her makeup and skincare to have BREAD as her option for hair. With a power-point and some early stage samples in hand, I managed to wrangle a meeting with a Sephora haircare buyer. She loved the concept, and we kept in touch for over a year while I worked on BREAD as a side gig. Then, last year, she put me forward for the Sephora Accelerate program, where I was mentored by the Sephora team and ultimately offered a launch contract. 

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NBGA: The in-store launch is huge, what does this mean for the brand and what are you looking forward to next?

Securing this contract with Sephora for both online and instore is massive. Being able to secure a contract with Sephora before even having launched a brand is a path usually reserved for celebrities and influencers, so I feel extremely grateful that Sephora believed in our brand mission and positioning so much so that they put early support behind it. 

We wanted to start with the US market as they would give us the opportunity to scale quickly, and now I’m super excited to be able to launch into our next key markets like Australia and the UK. 

NBGA: Can you give some insight into why you chose the products you did for the initial launch and how they work together

I like to describe BREAD as ‘haircare basics for not so basic hair’. Our mission is to become the essentials of every curly haired humans haircare wardrobe. We want to be the must have products that women with naturally curly hair not only to use, but also feel proud to display on their bathroom shelf. It’s all about creating staples, and must-haves – like bread. Get it? 

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When I first transitioned, the first thing I wanted to figure out was how to wash my hair, so we decided to start there, and take a considered and edited approach to our product assortment by tackling wash day first and launching kit 1 – wash (wash day essentials). 

We’re creating BREAD for the woman who doesn’t want to spend half a day washing her hair. Our aim is to make wash-day as quick as possible, so she can spend less time on her hair, and more time on other things in life. 

Transitioning from relaxed hair to naturally curly hair is hard and complicated, so we really want to make that transition as easy and fun as possible for the consumer that we’re speaking to. Not only that, but we want her to feel supported along her journey with educating and style tips, and constantly innovating with product, so that she feels more inclined and supported to stick with it long term.

NBGA: The marketing for the brand is so unique, how and why did you create such a strong brand identity? 

Thank you! 🙂

I noticed that there was a pretty consistent look and feel for brands across the textured hair category, and that there was an established idea around what it meant to have ‘good’ curls and what ‘aspirational’ was. This often meant a super glossy and defined ‘no curl out of place’ photoshopped look that just isn’t realistic for day to day life, and is often not achievable for all curl types – especially women like myself with 4c, super coiled hair. 

I really wanted the brand to reflect the woman I was seeing online and the way that she represented herself. I looked at her aesthetic, and what I believed was aspirational to her today, and reflected that in the brand look and feel. 

More broadly across the hair industry, I found that a lot of the language used seems to unnecessarily demonise traits that are natural to curly and coily hair specifically. Terms like ‘anti-frizz’, or ‘taming’ or ‘unruly’. What’s so bad about frizz anyway? Hair can still be healthy and exhibit frizz. As a brand, I want us to help make ‘frizz’ aspirational. 

To that end, women with curly or textured hair haven’t really been included in conversations around ‘effortless’ hair. I think there’s this rhetoric that textured or curly hair is hard, and time consuming to look after, and requires lots of product and manipulation. But I want our audience to feel like she can embrace lazy girl hair too – and that goes for all curl types and textures. What that looks like and what that means will look different across the curl type range, but I want all textures to be able to embrace this ‘care-free’ ideal if they want to.

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