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Pictures courtesy of Maeva Heim

Maeva Heim is the Founder the Beauty Industry Has Been Waiting on

The 31-year-old founder of Bread Beauty Supply is changing the conversation around haircare for textured hair.

It's nearing 9 p.m. in Australia, and Maeva Heim is dimly lit from behind and smiling warmly at her computer screen, ready to talk shop. We're here to discuss hair care, namely her brand Bread Beauty Supply, and how black beauty has made the globe smaller.

The 31-year-old is the founder of Bread Beauty Supply, a haircare line that encourages all textures and curl patterns to come as they are. "We don't want to tell you what to do with your hair. Enough people do that already," Heim says of Bread's brand philosophy. "We are just here to provide really good products for whatever you want to do with your hair at any point and not dictate to you how things should be. We're just women making the good products. You're making the good hair, and that's it. We're not here to define the rules."

But it's impossible to talk about recent strides in beauty products for textured hair without talking about the summer of 2020. In the weeks following the murder of George Floyd in the United States, a crescendo of cries rallied through global streets asking for not just equality but equity. The world watched with scrutiny as black boxes filled social feeds and brands made pledges to diversity. Those calls pinged from executive boards to the shelves of some of the world's largest beauty retailers. Meanwhile, after years of formulation, fundraising, and perfecting formulas and ingredients during a global pandemic, Maeva Heim introduced Bread beauty to the world in a perfect storm of timing and execution. The July 2020 launch filled a wide gap for Black beauty between homemade beauty products and behemoth beauty brands as Heim focused on an often under-explored direct-to-consumer middle.

Lauded on social media for their innovative packaging and nostalgic scents (the brand's award-winning hair oil smells like Froot Loops), Bread is a brand that makes hair care basics for not-so-basic hair. Typically, women with textured hair have not been included in the conversations around the idea of "'lazy girl hair" with minimal and effortless maintenance and styling - something Heim wanted to change. Part of Bread's mission is deleting category terms from the brand language – e.g. 'anti-frizz — that the brand feels unnecessarily demonizes characteristics that are natural to textured hair.

Photo courtesy of Bread Beauty

Born and raised in Peth, Western Australia, to an Ivorian mother and a French father, Heim grew up as one of the few Black kids in her neighborhood. Her days weaved between school and helping her mother run her braiding salon, one of the only of its kind in 1990's Australia. From sweeping floors, answering phones, and assisting with product orders, Heim's introduction to the world of beauty was rooted in the practice of doing.

Heim would go on to study business and law at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, before working in marketing at L'Oréal, followed by an internship at Procter & Gamble in Singapore. But it wasn't until her relaxer exploded in her luggage during a flight between New York and Chicago that she began to think seriously about not only her personal hair journey but also about the beauty industry's gaps.

After ditching chemical hair-relaxer and returning to her natural texture, she pitched her idea to Sephora and, in 2019, was selected as one of the first-ever Australian participants in the Sephora Accelerate program, securing a launch deal for both in-store and online.

But what's most striking about Heim, aside from her penchant for focusing on the brand and the consumer, is her focus on the innovation gaps for Black beauty products. Uniquely shy on social media but poignantly focused on every nuance of her brand and serving Bread's prior overlooked customer base, Maeva is the founder the beauty world has been waiting for.

*This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity

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A Letter from the Editor: Introducing OkayAfrica Stories

We want to hear from you, where you are, how you are.

OkayAfrica community,

While we have been learning to accept, and adjust to our temporary norm, COVID-19 has changed life in every corner of the globe. As a brand and a publication, we are always looking for new impactful ways to tell the stories of life, art, and culture in our global community. In the past, through our editorial coverage on OkayAfrica, we have been able to reclaim narratives and focus on allowing new voices access to the masses. Now it's time to replicate that model with fewer barriers so we can hear directly from you about how you are impacted by COVID-19.

As the news of the pandemic began to unfold with focus on celebrity cases, I longed to see faces whose experiences mirrored those of our audience, I wondered how our readers were coping, I considered the uncertainty of the young artists, travelers, scholars, dreamers whose lives and pursuits were suddenly halted. But more than that I thought endlessly about the ways we could hear directly from you and how you could connect with one another. For that reason, I am so proud to introduce you to our OkayAfrica Stories, a new user-generated content platform dedicated to your voices.

OkayAfrica's Stories powered by Hypno will give us all a direct look into the lives of those surviving the current global pandemic on the continent. My hope is that the UGC platform will bring communities together to create, share and explore original content. The platform works on both mobile and web to automate the production of branded video content starring you. Members of our community will be able to record 60sec videos in response to automated prompts based on the categories of their choice. Once recorded, the video joins our public collection of videos from everyday Africans around the world expressing their realities during the COVID-19 crisis.

The goal has always been the same, in a pandemic and otherwise, it is our mission to connect the globe to the stories of Africans on the continent and in the diaspora. If we cannot do this by gathering via travel, around food, through dance, and have it captured by photography, we will be called to do what we always do: innovate. The things we can learn from one another are endless, the power and comfort that comes when we centralize our voices are boundless.

We are looking to provide the comfort of togetherness, and an outlet for expression, delivered when you need It, when you can handle it and where you can access it. While are only physically apart, our stories will continue to be what brings us together.

We want to hear from you, where you are, how you are.

I am so excited to introduce you to OkayAfrica Stories and look forward to the stories you will share that I know will provide warm comfort and inspiration for your peers.

I look forward to seeing you there!



Warmly,

Rachel Hislop
Editor in Chief, OkayAfrica

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