Bex Gold of Brite Hair on combining ethics and fashion to drive innovation into the haircare space
Describe your business in a few words?
Brite Hair makes quality ethical, vegan, cruelty free hair color & hair care products that are accessible and fun!
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I founded a hair color brand after a long-term relationship ended – I was in my 30s and starting my life over in London. In a category controlled by large brands, I saw an opportunity to introduce fun and innovation into the space, with a focus on creating vegan, cruelty-free, high-performance salon quality products at an everyday accessible price point.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I started working with clean eco cleaning products in my 20s. I was living in a sustainable straw bale house in a rainforest in Queensland, Australia and I saw the direct impact of the products that I purchased at the supermarket on the environment through the grey water. After moving to London and working in high street product development, I saw the opportunity to combine ethics and fashion to create high quality, accessible products to meet the needs of today’s rapidly evolving Gen Y & Z consumer.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur! My first brand was a green, ethical home cleaning range that was the first in Australia to launch with plant-based surfactants. I was personally motivated to create this product after seeing the impact of traditional products; at the time I was living in a rainforest and was horrified that traditional cleaning products were killing the plants.
I sold that business (for a song) to my manufacturing partner when a long-term relationship ended. While I was in London resetting my life, I saw the buzz and excitement of high street brands, and I wanted to bring that sense of excitement to supermarkets. I saw that there was an opportunity to do something different in the hair color category, as traditional box color is full of toxic ingredients and typically has an over photoshopped woman on the front of the box.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Our products are all about popping on the shelf. We work hard to communicate what each product is very quickly and shout out to customers as they walk past and browse online.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
For my very first manufacturing run ever I made two errors – I didn’t know that labels could be applied off a roll, so I hand applied labels to 12,000 bottles! The labels didn’t even have a peel off sheet on the back and came off in segments. This was a rookie mistake, but I had no budget to reprint!
Those same 12,000 bottles were hand filled from 20L containers (I’ve since found you can apply a tap to those big drums) – I hand poured them over a sink after the first fill run (unlabeled due to my packaging mistake) went up in flames in a factory fire the morning they were to be delivered.
I had secured retailer orders for Christmas, so I took the offer for the 20L containers and hand filled 12,000 bottles. I looked pretty buff after lifting and pouring so many containers!
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
The new Naturally Brite Hair Color Made from Plants is something that I’m personally very excited about and proud of as I wanted a simple and safe way to cover my pandemic greys, and I’m sure many other people do too!
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We have seen a shift in demand as consumers have become more comfortable with doing their hair at home and are interested in testing out different looks.
We have a strong reactive supply chain, good communication with our retail partners and customers, and have continued to support our team to ensure we can do our best during these uncertain times.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We’re continuing to expand our retailers, ranging from Nordstrom to CVS, creating a very unique dynamic as the products are available in both prestige & mass markets. We’re constantly brainstorming and playing around with different formulas, so the options are endless!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
You cannot predict the future! Covid is something that no one could have properly prepared for and so many aspects were uncertain. Thankfully, we pushed through and persevered.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Well there’s a lot of unexpected things that happen with consumers and trends. However the one main thing is that I wish I had known that Consumer Packaged goods would become Omni Channel way quicker than was anticipated.
This would really have been beneficial as we could have been more single minded about getting our products into consumers hands and ultimately, experiencing their products on their hair. Our main goal is always to provide quality, cost effective products to people to transform their hair care experience, and make their world a little bit briter.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Eyes down, head up and keep moving forward!
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I do think work/life balance is very important and I need to start prioritizing myself at times. It’s very important to take care of yourself, and ultimately this will lead to even more productive work.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I started a challenge 1 Jan 2020 to run everyday and am still going!
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
My top 3 tips to staying productive each day are to take care of yourself, utilize time management tools, and focus on the most important/timely tasks at hand.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means that I can pave the way and provide others with opportunities they deserve!
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