Many Black women and men wear their hair in protective styles such as twists and braids that use hair extensions that are often made from plastic.
According to a 2020 report by Refinery29, synthetic hair is made up of “ultra-fine strands of plastic” and non-biodegradable materials like polyester, acrylic, and PVC that contribute to landfills. Synthetic hair can also cause severe scalp irritation and itchiness on contact.
This scalp irritation is what inspired Rebundle, a Black owned plant-based hair extension brand, to offer a biodegradable alternative to synthetic braiding hair. They are the first beauty brand to address both the health and environmental disparities in the hair extensions industry.
The St. Louis-based startup is led by co-founder and CEO Imani May and co-founder and chief marketing officer Danielle Washington.
May got the idea for Rebundle after experiencing discomfort from her braids while wearing braids back to back as she grew her hair out.
When the brand officially launched its first product, Braid Better hair, in Jan. 2021, the pre-order inventory sold out within a month, with over 14% of sales coming directly from Instagram. The page also grew from 1,000 followers to now over 14,000.
The product is made from naturally extracted banana fiber, which is sourced internationally. The hair can be cut, dyed, and manipulated the same as any other hair. It is also resistant to heat and can be flat ironed.
Yesterday, the Rebundle announced that it has raised $1.4 million in a pre-seed round.
Several investors participated in Rebundle’s financing, including St. Louis startup funder Arch Grants, a nonprofit. Other investors included RareBreed Ventures, M25, Closed Loop Partners’ Ventures Group, Sku’d Ventures, Chicago Early, Big Delta Capital, Precursor Ventures, Evergreen Climate Innovations and Innocreative Capital.
The new investment will be used to plans to add additional team members and establish a new local manufacturing facility.