Meet Maeva Heim, the founder of Bread Beauty Supply, a Black-owned brand aimed at simplifying and easing wash day and all things haircare related. From cleansers to conditioners and oils, the line produces haircare essentials for not-so-basic hair. We caught up with Maeva to learn more about her journey launching the Instagrammable and consumer-approved products and how she’s determined to make Bread a staple in every curly-haired person’s shower routine. Read the full interview with the incredibly talented founder below, and shop her line at the end.
When did you start your company?
“The idea for Bread was sparked over four years ago, and I’ve been working on it ever since then in different capacities along the way. For the most part, I was building away at night and on the weekend while I worked a full-time job. I didn’t officially set up the company and dive in full-time until last year, when I was invited into the Sephora Accelerate USA program for Bread™.”
What has your career path been like?
“Reflecting back on my life and career now, I’ve realized that in some ways, I’ve kind of always been in the beauty industry, and beauty has always been in my family. My grandmother was actually a soap maker in a small village in the Ivory Coast, West Africa, and would sell the soaps at the market, and in the ’90s, my mother opened an African hair salon in Perth, where I grew up. It was one of the very first African hair salons in the entire country, and one of my very first experiences in the beauty industry. From the age of 10, I would spend my weekends there braiding hair, sweeping the floors, answering the phone, and managing the booking diary.
Then, in my early teens, I would trawl through the American Black haircare forums to research product and style trends that were yet to reach the Australian market, and contact suppliers in China to source merchandise for the salon-like lace wigs and specialized hair extensions.
I ended up studying both a Business and a Law degree at university and had every intention of becoming a lawyer, but when I finished my degrees, decided to pursue business instead. Funnily enough, I found myself back in the beauty industry with a marketing internship at L’Oreal.
I worked across almost every category in the business—from makeup, skincare, and fragrance to gifting and even cleansing devices—but never found myself working on a hair brand.
It was my time there, and also my experiences as a consumer, that led me to realize that the beauty industry wasn’t really talking to me. As a woman of color, I didn’t feel like I was getting the same level of product availability or brand experience that everyone else was, and I was determined to change that.
I left L’Oreal knowing I wanted to create a brand that would aim to drive the industry toward a more diverse future. I had no idea what the brand would be at that time—there was so much work to be done, and I didn’t know where to start.
It wasn’t until I made a trip over to the United States, and flew from New York to Colorado with a hair relaxer in my suitcase. When I arrived in Colorado, I opened up my suitcase and discovered a straightening chemical hair relaxer had exploded over all of my clothes. I was due for my 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—something I had done since I was six or seven years old.
When I went to find products that were designed for my texture of hair, I was really overwhelmed and confused, and couldn’t find any brands I could relate to. That’s when the idea for Bread™ was born.”
What’s the core mission of your brand?
“We make haircare basics for not-so-basic hair. Our mission is to not just simplify textured hair and become the staple of every curly-haired human’s haircare wardrobe. We want to be the must-have products that women with naturally curly hair not only use, but also feel proud to display on their bathroom shelf.
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.
We’re also really intent on changing the language around hair, giving more women, with a variety of textures, the confidence to feel like they too can be part of a ‘lazy girl’ hair lifestyle. Part of my mission for Bread is to be a brand that makes all types of lazy girl hair cool. We want to make frizz aspirational.”
What’s your most popular item that you sell and why?
“Our Hair-Oil: Everyday Gloss is our best-seller, for a good reason. We like to say it’s like a lipgloss, but for your hair. It’s wonderfully multipurpose and can be used as a leave-in oil or as a pre-wash oil treatment for the softest hair of your life. It’s almost 100% natural origin and completely silicone-free—which we believe is important, not just for women with curly hair, but for anyone who experiences unpleasant silicone buildup on their hair over time.
We don’t think silicones are inherently bad. However, when you have them in all of your haircare products, and especially if the hair oil that you use daily is mostly silicone (which many of the brands we know and love are), the buildup can cause hair to become dry and brittle.
Not only do our customers love it, but editors do too. Our Hair-Oil won a coveted Allure Best of Beauty 2020 award, just two months after it launched.”
What has surprised you the most since starting your company?
“The biggest surprise to me has been how outrageously quickly time is passing. 2021, or even 2022, seemed so far away at one point, but the bustle and speed of startup beauty brand life mean that 2022 seems like it’s just around the corner. I really need to become better at taking in the moment; otherwise, I’ll blink and we will be five years in already!”
What’s a lesson you’ve learned as a founder?
“One of the key things I have learned, and continue learning on a daily basis, is that you have to learn to trust your gut. It can be hard to remember that, especially the deeper you go, and the bigger you get. You end up surrounded by lots of smart people, who have years of experience, and it can be really tempting to take every piece of advice at face value. However, at the end of the day, your instincts are what got you here in the first place, and you shouldn’t lose sight of that along the way.”
What can we expect in the future for Bread?
“Ultimately, my goal has always been to create a brand that can make it big, which is why we launched the way with did—with funding, and with Sephora. I want us, in the future, to have significant media buying power, so that we have the power to really impact the way women are represented in media. Women of color deserve nuanced representation, and to my eye, I don’t feel like we’re getting it. I think we’ve come a long way, but there is a long way to go.
I’m really excited to be expanding our haircare offering soon, in addition to branching out into adjacent categories—which I can’t say too much about just yet. We want to be as accessible as possible and are scaling globally very soon, so that more people will be able to get Bread.”
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