How Maeva Heim Brought Bread to Market During COVID-19

Beauty lovers want their daily Bread, even during COVID-19.

Despite the havoc wrought on the beauty industry in 2020, U.S. prestige hair care began to bloom. The category grew 8 percent in a year that saw overall prestige beauty sales fall 19 percent, according to The NPD Group.

Maeva Heim could not have predicted this growth when she first conceived of Bread Beauty Supply, a hair care brand made for Black women with textured hair. After running into pandemic-related freight issues in the months leading up to launch, Heim brought Bread to market in July via its own web site and a partnership with Sephora.

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Partnering with Sephora has been “impactful,” said Heim, who completed the retailer’s Accelerate program.

“Especially as a new brand, when you have a partnership like Sephora, you should rely on them a lot more,” she said. “It makes sense to not necessarily look at your split of sales between d-to-c and Sephora and how you want that weighted in a binary way. I think you leverage Sephora for what they are, which is the ultimate beauty retailer. That can be a huge channel for you. If Sephora does well, we do well.”

For context, Sephora’s chief executive officer Jean André-Rougeot recently revealed in an online conversation with Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass that Sephora’s online sales are quickly approaching $3 billion.

New launches are in store for Bread, though Heim noted she intends on keeping the overall product assortment “edited and simple.” She is listening to consumer requests, which she said have “somewhat surprised” her.

“The number-one thing people still want is styling products,” Heim said. “I think it’s probably a function of what people ask for us is what they buy. Treatments are still the number-one performing sub segment of the category in COVID-19 times. I think it’s just accelerated now.”

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