At the Beaute Study, we have highlighted women founders in their success stories about their life and their brands. One of these powerful women is the founder of Rebundle, Ciara Imani May, who is creating a space for Black women in clean beauty with the first US-made plant-based braiding hair. Learn more about the impact of Rebundle on the hair industry with hair extensions and on clean beauty.
What was your personal mission when you began this brand, and how did you develop the mindset of the health and environmental disparities in the industry?
When I started Rebundle, I was on a mission to provide a healthy and sustainable alternative for plastic synthetic hair. I was focused on decreasing my waste any way that I could, and I couldn’t ignore the amount of waste my hairstyles created. Once I gained a deeper understanding of the type of plastic and chemicals found in plastic synthetic hair, I was hellbent on finding something better because I felt that this was a major oversight by the industry.
In the hair industry, there are rumors that it is hard to get into the business due to the unsafe practices of how they collect hair from other countries to how it’s sold here in the States & other Western countries. Did you have any trouble getting suppliers for your brand?
The rumors you’re referring to mostly apply to the human hair industry, which I was not trying to penetrate. The plastic synthetic hair industry has its own challenges with transparency around where and how it’s made. It was easy to get in contact with some of the hair factories in China and even Indonesia, but none of them could assure me that their products were safe, non-toxic, or even ethically produced. I decided not to go that route because I had no confidence in the supply chain.
In the beauty industry, we are seeing a rise in transparency. As a new brand, how do you intend to develop that communication not only to your customers but at an industry level?
Something you’ll find with us, that you likely haven’t seen from other hair extension brands is the ingredients that we use to make our plant-based braiding hair. You’ll also see that we’re not hiding who’s behind the brand; we’re Black women making braiding hair for ourselves and our community. We’ve also been intentional about being accessible for questions and engagement. This level of transparency is important for us as well as the industry as a whole because we can’t move towards a healthy and sustainable future without involving our customers.
What is your brand’s definition of clean beauty? Why is it important not only to your brand but to each member of your team?
‘Keeping it clean’ is one of our company values: We deserve alternatives. We strive to set the industry standard for non-toxic, eco-friendly hair extensions with all of us in mind. This is done by only using ingredients that are equally better for your scalp and better for the environment.
In the industry, we see more clean beauty products in skincare and makeup. How do you believe that your brand’s impact on this industry will change it for the better?
We have clean beauty products in almost every other category, but the option wasn’t there for braiding hair. I see this category explosively growing over the next few years, with us leading the charge and the industry adjusting to consumer’s demands of transparency and accountability.
What are your goals for the future of your brand? Not only with your clients but also your professional clients like braiders?
We’re going to change the braiding hair and hair extensions industry for the better. Our company’s leadership and our brand reflect the primary consumers (Black women) who make this industry worth $10 billion. We, along with our customers and Rebundle Braiders, will ensure that our children don’t experience scalp irritation while wearing their hair in braids.