Rizos Curls’ Julissa Prado Shares How Her Latino Upbringing Taught Her Essential Entrepreneurial Skills

LinkedIn

With her enviable mane of bouncy, pink-hued curls, Julissa Prado serves as a walking advertisement for the effectiveness of her products. Roughly one year ago, she officially launched Rizos Curls, an all-natural product line for curly-textured hair. In that short span of time, Prado has amassed 52k+ followers on Instagram, received up to a thousand orders per month, and quit her job to pursue her business full time. But though it might look like overnight success from the outside, her growing business is the result of many years of hard work and hard-earned lessons.

As Prado tells it, she couldn’t have reached this point without the help and support of her family and her larger Latino community, who served as the inspiration for her brand. “I always thought when I made Rizos Curls that I’d make something that would work perfectly for textures as diverse as those of my family’s. In the Latino community we have so many kinds of hair textures – wavy, curly ringlets, coily textures. I have tías that fall under all of those categories. I wanted to make something that allowed us to fall in love with our natural hair,” she explains.

For Prado, Rizos Curls has been a family affair – from consulting with her brother on her business plan, to running her fledgling company out of her parents’ and uncle’s houses, to learning key lessons about how to budget & save from watching her own father run his restaurant business.

Below, she explains how her upbringing helped her develop her entrepreneurial spirit and the skills to build a DIY business.

Your company is directly inspired by the Latino community – can you talk about how the idea came about?

I grew up in very predominantly Latino communities and neighborhoods [in Los Angeles]. I have a huge family, and when we were very young we all lived in one apartment building. Almost every unit was a different family member, so that can give you an idea of the culture and the environment that I grew up in. Growing up, I always saw how so much of my community had textured hair – they had wavy, curly, coily hair, a variety of textures. But they went to great lengths to straighten it, and not embrace it. There was a lot of self-hate around their hair. There was always this notion of ‘your hair is not done until it’s not curly.’

I remember the exact moment where I realized “Oh no, I can’t do this my whole life.” I was going to a quinceañera and my older cousins straightened my hair. Back then, in the hood, we didn’t have flat irons yet, so what they did was put my head over an ironing board and use a clothes iron. My hair was burning! I remember being over that ironing board and thinking “We’ve got to do better than this, we’ve got to figure out a way to feel good about our natural hair.”

So that’s where the idea first started. Even at a young age, I was aware that so many of my insecurities were connected to my inability to embrace my natural hair and myself in my natural state. Once I learned to love my hair it allowed me to love myself, and I wanted to create that feeling in my community. Rizos Curls is not just about the products. We’re a trifecta of the Three Cs: curls, community & culture.

What pushed you to make the leap and turn this interest into a career?

I’m very close to my [older] brother, and he’s the one who helps me a lot with Rizos. We’re very opposite. I’ve always led with my heart and emotion, and he’s ruled by logic. So when I decided I really wanted to go forward with this Rizos idea, I went to my brother with my business plan. I was still pretty young, around 15, and I presented the whole plan to him. He did all this market research – which years later, in business school, I learned is very important when you’re starting something new. Understanding your market, understanding the size of the demographic you’re targeting. He did that research on his own and was blown away. He couldn’t believe a product like Rizos Curls didn’t exist already.

Time passed, I went to college and grad school, and everything I learned, all the business acumen I acquired, all reaffirmed that I had to take this leap. Everything pointed me to, “You’re lucky no one’s jumped on this opportunity yet.” But it took me four years to figure out my product formulas, and I beat myself up a lot for taking so long. I was juggling it with getting a masters, working a full-time job, and maybe I just needed to trust the process. There were many times in that four year process of testing formulas that I didn’t get the results I wanted, and felt like giving up.

Continue onto Remezcla to read the complete article.

Cara Santana Joins Glamsquad As Their Global Engagement Officer After Her Success With The Glam App

LinkedIn

Actress and former CEO of The Glam App, Cara Santana, has joined Glamsquad as their Global Engagement Officer. The longtime actress founded The Glam App after struggling to find on demand beauty services during filming in more remote locations where services were not easily accessible. After exiting her own on demand beauty platform, Santana has recently joined the Glamsquad team to bring a fresh perspective to their scaling business model. She shares how she went from a Hollywood start to entrepreneur.

Yola Robert: You have pursued acting since the age of fifteen, but have always loved the world of business.  How did you shift from the acting world into the business world? 

Cara Santana: My fiancé is also an actor so I would end up getting a lot of attention on what I was wearing to events or red carpets when I was with him. He encouraged me to start a blog to keep meaningful conversation ongoing with women from around the world. I loved helping women feel like luxury was accessible. Eventually, I started working with brands as a digital influencer and that was my first foray into the business world.

Robert: The idea for The Glam App came to you when you were shooting Salem in Shreveport, Louisiana. What white space in on demand beauty did you discover while you were there?

Santana: I had arrived in Shreveport with only 24 hours to get rid of my acrylic nails, fake eyelashes and long ombre hair extension. I didn’t have transportation, they wouldn’t send anyone to me and I had no idea who I would even go to in the area. I thought to myself, “Gosh, this must be a problem that women find themselves in all the time.” I wanted to find a way to give accessibility to luxury beauty services at any time. As an actress I have developed relationships with so many hair stylists and makeup artists so it made sense to create an equally advantageous platform for not only a consumer of beauty, but also a provider of beauty. That was the catalyst to launching.

Robert: Being the founder and CEO of The Glam App was your version of business school. How was your experience going to business school in real life?

Santana: It was a long journey of trial and error. If I had known everything I was going to encounter and all the struggles that would have come my way, I probably wouldn’t have launched a business.

Robert: What advice do you have for women out there who are thinking about starting a business?

Santana: Firstly, You have to be super passionate about what you are doing. Secondly, surround yourself with people that are better at doing things than you are. I think the reason why The Glam App was so successful was because I hired people with my weaknesses as their strengths. Thirdly, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Culture Circuit: Latinos & Film – A Sundance Film Festival Perspective

LinkedIn

The Sundance Film Festival is known for championing eclectic, independent work from artists around the world. Given their specific diversity-driven initiatives of years past, the 2019 edition of the festival was no exception, particularly with respect to cinema of interest to the Latino community. To the contrary, if you spent any time in the last few days in the snowy, mountainous air of Park City, you saw that this year showcases an embarrassment of riches when it comes to quality cinema from Latin America.

But, like all things involving Latino culture, Latino-related films at Sundance defy reductive simplifications. The picture that emerges is of a vibrant, diverse, and complex community of films and filmmakers. As told through the eyes of these artists, Latinos experience much of the same angsts as all other members of society. At the same time, we have a unique set of anxieties—and a beautiful, distinctive perspective—that makes Latin American cinema rewarding.

For the complete article, continue on to Awards Circuit.

5 tips to help families talk about online safety at home

LinkedIn

Home will always be the foundation of any child’s learning, and healthy online habits are no different. Google’s Be Internet Awesome created a bilingual Family Guide and online safety tips in English and Spanish to help families practice good digital habits in their everyday lives.

Families will learn to Be Internet Awesome by learning how to share, be alert, be strong, be kind and be brave online. The guide offers tips, conversation starters, vocabulary words, goals and scenarios that will assist in raising strong and smart digital citizens.

The new resources were released on Safer Internet Day to help foster conversations between family members.

You can download the resources on the Be Internet Awesome website or check out the blog to learn more about additional new program updates.  Below are five tips families can share with their children on how to stay safe and smart online.

Be internet smart

 

This Latina Started A Studio With Her Family And Became One Of NYC’s Top Trainers In The Process

LinkedIn

Samantha Ortiz started a business before even realizing she started a business. A couple of times a week, her sister and her sister’s best friend would find themselves in the Ortiz family living room getting ready to be led in a workout by Samantha. Thanks to social media and personal referrals,what started with just the three of them slowly grew into more structured classes — and this was the beginning of Triple Threat Bootcamp, or the Ortiz family business.

“I outgrew my parents’ living room,” explained Samantha Ortiz. “I had to start running bootcamp classes in public parks and [eventually] I rented a small studio on the 3rd floor of a building, but [even that] still didn’t feel like home to me. I had this image in my head of having a fitness studio designed with monkey bars, a slam wall, a view overlooking Brooklyn, equipment all around the room and a place where my clients could call home. A few months after renting the small studio, my family and I were driving up Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn and as we stopped at a light, I looked up and saw a “for rent” sign. We called and the rest is history.”

Samantha’s mother, Aileen Ortiz, who now serves as President and CEO of TTB, never doubted the why behind her daughter’s decision because she related to it herself.

“I was motivated by the vision of seeing the three of us using our talents and skills to bring a healthy lifestyle to others,” shared Aileen. “My interest in healthy living began 26 years ago and I instilled that in my girls from a young age.”

The duo is rounded out by Christine Ortiz, Samantha’s sister and the studio’s Operation Manager and co-owner.

“We have always believed in health and wellness,” shared Christine Ortiz. “Combining fitness and nutrition was a no brainer once Samantha became a trainer. We wanted to impact more people in our community and be pioneers of female fitness entrepreneurship.”

With their mother at the helm, the studio has grown to be a staple in their Brooklyn neighborhood and has provided a platform for others to experience Samantha’s training style. This year, for a second year in a row, Classpass (the flexible fitness membership app) recognized Samantha as one of its top fitness instructors in New York City.

The recognition serves to underscore how Samantha’s mission behind TTB has simply been amplified as its grown.

“I was inspired to open Triple Threat Bootcamp because motivating others to be the best versions of themselves has always been my passion,” says Samantha Ortiz. “I felt like it was my mission to bring fitness and health to my community.”

Below Samantha shares more insight on what it has been like running a business with her mom and sister, what advice she has for other Latinas, and what she would do differently.

Vivian Nunez: What advice do you have for any Latinas who are looking to break into fitness and the business world?

Samantha Ortiz:I love to remind my fellow Latinas that anything is possible. Being Latina in the fitness industry and owning a fitness studio with your family (mom and sister) isn’t normal by any means but that’s what I love about it. You don’t have to follow the crowd, you can create your own lane. Don’t be afraid to go after what fuels your soul. Even if you don’t know everything, you will learn along the way. Life is about taking chances and learning from every experience. Last piece of advice, network. Go to events, reach out to people who are in your field of work. There’s nothing like being surrounded by like minded people.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Under Alex Gallardo, New Artistic Direction For Sony Music US Latin

LinkedIn

At a time when Latin music is experiencing unprecedented popularity and Sony leads the Latin category in U.S. market share, according to Nielsen Music, Nir Seroussi’s unexpected exit from Sony Music U.S. Latin — on Jan. 18, after four years as president and another four as managing director — came as a surprise to the Latin music community. Sony did not give a reason for the change, although both the label and Seroussi said they were parting on amicable terms.

But the announcement of Alex Gallardo, 43, as the division’s new president puts an artist favorite at the helm of the company and reinforces its commitment to investing in A&R.

“Sony Music Latin Iberia is the home of the artists and will always be. It’s my most important flag,” Afo Verde, Sony Music Entertainment’s chairman/CEO of Latin America, Spain and Portugal tells Billboard. “[Alex] is a consummate professional, musician, A&R, lover of music and all of its creative process from start to finish.”

Gallardo, who spent six years as senior vp A&R for all of the company’s regions and is known as firm and even, will oversee a staff of nearly 100. “What’s important is to understand artists, their needs and motivations, and to create the best environment possible for their creativity to flow,” he says. And his appointment was met with praise from many in the artist community. In a statement, Shakira called Gallardo a “professional” who is “in touch with the musical landscape and understands artists,” while Ricky Martin says, “His focus, knowledge and passion makes artists trust the process.”

To read the complete article, continue on to Billboard.

This Latina Went From Product Development To A Frida-Focused Online Pop-Up Store

LinkedIn

For Tatiana Figueiredo a career in entrepreneurship wasn’t the end goal. Figueiredo was building a career in product development across tech companies when she started an Instagram for fun. Her intention behind the Instagram page was to celebrate Frida and her contributions to her own Latinidad, over time the Instagram page has garnered thousands of followers and now serves as a marketplace for Frida-inspired artwork.

“I learned as a product manager that the most important skill is not knowing everything but knowing where to find the information you need and then learn it quickly,” shares Figueiredo. It’s a huge deal to just know that the answer is not necessarily to hire an expert but instead to spend a few days nerding out to learn something..

Her tech background and exposure to the startup world has helped her navigate an entirely different career than she expected. Her understanding of her parents’ expectations of her has also helped her make peace with the guilt that came with leaving her steady job.

“My parents sacrificed everything to move to this country for my sister and I. Then, when it feels like everything is going well with my career, I’m making good money, moving up fast, all of a sudden I declare that I’m going to quit and [to pursue a passion project because] “I’m not fulfilled in my current work”. That’s just not something my family will ever be able to relate to. What has helped me is to put all that first-generation guilty energy into doing my best making sure the things I’m building are successful. I owe them that.”

Below Figueiredo shares advice for Latinas who are teetering between a traditional job and wanting to pursue their own passions, what inspired her to focus on Frida, and how she balances consulting with building up the brand.

Vivian Nunez: What red flags would you encourage others to look for when it comes to career transitions? 

Tatiana Figueiredo: I think the idea of “going all in” is romanticized too much. Whether you’re going into entrepreneurship or just want to transition to another job, do the work for the transition while you’re still grounded in a job – and a paycheck. From my experience this is better than just quitting and starting from scratch for a lot of reasons. First, you don’t want to put too much financial burden on your next opportunity from day one. If it’s something you’re doing on the side at first, you’ll have more time and energy to figure it out without money pressures. Also, creatively, you’ll have time to expand your focus and have fun if you think of it as just a side project. And most importantly, you might have a great idea but you might actually hate working on it. By doing it on the side for a while you’ll be able to tell if it’s something that gives you the kind of energy you’re looking for. Same when looking for a new job: talk to the people doing it, ask about their day-to-day, try to live a day in your new life and see if it’s what you really want.

Nunez: What inspired you to use Frida as the center for your new brand? 

Figueiredo: I studied a little art history in high school and college and always thought Frida was the most unique artist we studied. In those classes, I think she was literally the only female artist we focused on. I was immediately drawn to her work and her life. I researched all I could about her, watched the documentaries, read her diary. While I was learning about Frida in Art History, I was also studying Latin American History and Spanish. It was through all these things that I began to connect my experience as an immigrant from Brazil to the broader experience of women in Latin America and Latinas in the US. Frida’s story and voice was always inspiring to me because of her mix of strength and vulnerability that was so familiar to me because I saw it in the women of my family.

But I didn’t intend to make her the center of a brand at first. I didn’t think I was even starting a brand. I started the Instagram as a side project while I was winding down a bigger work project. I had been saving images I saw on Instagram and figured I’d just post them kind of as a public art board. It was just for fun. After I started I realized the lack of women artists I saw in Art History years earlier was still a thing. Even on Instagram, the big art accounts post male artists 90% of the time. So I made it a rule that we would only post non-male artists. It was from there and through the Instagram account that I met a few women artists to partner with for a pop up shop and the brand grew from there.

Nunez: How has your Latinidad inspired your career? 

Figueiredo: Where I’m from – and in many Latin American countries – entrepreneurship is not something cool that some people get to do, it’s how people survive. I come from a family where everyone runs a business. My parents always ran businesses, my aunts and uncles all had their hustles, it seemed like I was always around someone trying to create a new thing to make money. In Portuguese and Spanish there’s not even a cool word for it like “entrepreneurship.” As varied as it has become, my career still seems like an internet version of what my grandparents started (because they had to).

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

A Latino Wine Company Is Challenging Perceptions in Washington, D.C.

LinkedIn

Politics aside, Washington, D.C., has undergone a remarkable transition in recent years. Its dining scene has evolved from cookie-cutter steakhouses and chain restaurants (plus a reliable handful of Ethiopian-American destinations), to boldly creative bars and restaurants showcasing culinary influences from the Mid-Atlantic and around the world.

The wine scene is evolving, too. Until quite recently, there were very few places Washingtonians could go to learn more about “New World” wine from places like ArgentinaChile, and Uruguay, and be able to take home a bottle to enjoy with their family and friends.

Enter Grand Cata, A Latino Wine Company.

For owners and friends Julio Robledo and Pedro Rodriguez, opening a specialty wine store presented an opportunity to raise awareness about the diversity of Latin American wine. It was also chance to embrace their cultural identity and improve the representation of Latin America across the city.

“We met in late 2007, working for a Latino-focused non-profit organization,” Robledo says. “For both of us, wine has always been our passion. I remember growing up as a kid in Chile, seeing a bottle of wine would mean happiness — at family barbecues, holidays, birthdays and so on. Through a bottle of wine, we can tell a story, share how we grew up, and, in a way, bring part of our family here to the city.”

To read the complete article, continue on to Vinepair. 

The Hispanic consumer has a major impact on the 2019 U.S. markets

LinkedIn

If one thing is clear as we start 2019, it’s that America is changing. According to a Claritas report (registration required), in the United States today, there are 131 million multicultural Americans, making up 37.5% of the U.S. population, with Hispanics accounting for the largest portion at 19.6%.

Minority groups now represent the majority of the population in more than 400 U.S. counties. There can be no doubt that America is becoming multicultural and that Hispanics are a significant part of this change.

Although some brands are starting to face the facts, there is a still a long way to go before advertisers understand the U.S. Hispanic market and unlock its potential.

What’s Changed

From the enormous success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians to the rising popularity of Hispanic celebrities like Cardi B, America has changed a lot in the past year. We’ve seen advancement in film representation, a resurgence in cultural and political movements, and the continued popularity and application of technology like smart homes and streaming media. And 2019 will be no different, with these changes impacting not only the people living in the U.S. but also brands across industries that will have to evolve with the changing American landscape.

According to 2017 estimates from the Census Bureau, there are over 58.9 million Hispanics living in the United States, and by 2030, U.S. Hispanics are expected to reach more than 72 million. More than that, this growth doesn’t just mean more Hispanics, it also means a transformation of the Hispanic market.

Hispanic consumers today are not the same as Hispanic consumers from years back. They are now the youngest ethnic group in America with the median age being 28. Realizing their youth is crucial for advertisers as it influences their media consumption habits, the technology they use, their abundance in prime spending years, and much more. Hispanics — especially in the younger age groups of the U.S. population — are also increasingly more diverse than older Americans. As a matter of fact, almost half of the U.S. millennial population will be multicultural by 2024 (registration required).

To read the complete article, continue on to Forbes.

How Knowing Her Worth Is Helping This CEO Build A Latinx Lifestyle Brand

LinkedIn

Patty Delgado understands Latina millennials living in America and who are trying to pursue their own version of the American dream because that is what her own hustle consists of.She navigated self-employment and working freelance in the design space after she graduated from college and eventually that transitioned into the new business she helms — Hija de tu Madre.

The Latina lifestyle brand celebrates a generation’s entrepreneurial drive while honoring the phrases and cultural realities that helped mold them. Delgado’s product line started with clothing and accessories and has now moved into the home office space.

“Back in 2016 I had a little idea for a jacket: a denim jacket embellished with a sequin design of La Virgen de Guadalupe,” shares Delgado. “With $500, just enough to make 30 jackets, I started my little ecommerce business called Hija de tu Madre. Once I started, I knew HDTM had the potential to reach a large untapped market: Latinas.”

In just two years, Delgado has gone from being entirely an online experience to having an office and showroom headquartered in Los Angeles. This year she plans to host events — panels, workshops, and networking opportunities — in the space and make it a larger cultural experience.

“We’re a $1.7 trillion dollar industry, but the business world doesn’t treat us as the superpower that we are,” shares Delgado. “Latinas are still the lowest paid labor group. How is it that we’re one of the greatest U.S. buying powers but with the greatest wage gap? With this political climate, and anti-Mexican and Central American sentiment, it’s my responsibility to create a Latinx safe space. Hija de tu Madre will continue to remind our community that our culture matters, and that we aren’t going anywhere.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

This Latina Nike VP On Why She Sets Aside Three Hours A Week To Mentor Others

LinkedIn

Andrea Perez is a Nike MVP if you will. This year she will be walking into her 16th year with the company having grown stronger, more dedicated to the brand, and more aware of her own skillsets with every year that passed.

Now, as Nike’s Vice President and General Manager of Global Brand Jordan for women and kids, Perez wants other Latinas to step into their power and into big dreams of their own.

“My advice for Latinas when connecting with others is to be very proud of who you are and what you represent and bring that to the table when establishing relationships,” shares Perez. “Also bring people up with you — for some of us it was a difficult ride to get to where we are at now, so let’s make sure to pave the road and invite others in.”

Perez’s love of sports dates back to her time as a varsity soccer and softball player and only grew into a commitment to a brand that championed all she believed sports and advertising should be.

“As a female athlete growing up in Mexico, I never felt as respected as the male athletes,” shares Perez. “However, in 1998, one company was completely changing the game – Nike. Nike was truly speaking to girls like me, through Mia Hamm and the 99’ers, through Jackie Joyner Kersee and launching numerous campaigns that I really connected with. I was only in high school, but I knew then that I wanted to work for a place like that and began creating Nike ads in my notebooks. It truly was the only place I ever wanted to work.”

Her time at Nike has afforded her the opportunity to mentor others who may want to walk on the same path. Every week Perez sets aside three hours of her time and dedicates it to meeting with those who want her advice on any aspect of their careers.

“I advise my mentees to come to meetings with something to talk about,” states Perez. “A lot of people want to establish relationships and the first thing they ask you is ‘tell me your story.’ I find that that question can be less valuable than coming with a specific question on how to help oneself. I start my meetings asking people a little bit about their background followed by ‘how can I help you?’. The sharper they are in their answer and their ask, the better the answer and insight they can receive from me.”

Below Perez shares more advice she gives to Latinas, what she’s learned through her 3-hours a week mentorship sessions, and why a career at Nike has been as dynamic as it’s been long.

Vivian Nunez: How have you fostered such a long career at the same company? 

Andrea Perez: Two reasons: Nike’s brand values and the ability to have a diverse career within one company. Regarding Nike’s values, I truly believe that life is better with sport. Not just the health benefits, but everything it brings to people’s lives, especially young women. To be in a place where I come to work every day and I feel like I’m contributing to that belief, it’s massive for me. Second, the ability to have a very diverse career. Nike is a really big company. There are three different brands within Nike Inc.: Nike, Jordan and Converse. Nike also has a variety of different functional areas from innovation, to marketing, to our Community Impact group, to Air manufacturing, to Valiant Labs. And offices all over the world. You truly can have an amazingly diverse career.

Nunez: You worked your way up at Nike and now serve as the Global GM of Jordan Women and Kid’s — what has been your biggest lesson learned through that journey? 

Perez: When I was working in Nike Mexico, our GM – a man named Cristian Corsi, had a sign in his office that said: “the desk is the worst place from where to see the world”.  I truly think that’s the best lesson anyone gave me. To be open to what’s happening outside your desk – with your team, with the other teams, with the organization, with the industry, with the consumer, with the world- is what truly makes you expand your mind and see opportunities. Personally, I think it also makes us better humans.

Nunez: What motivated you to set aside three hours of your time every week for mentorship? 

Perez: A lot of people have helped me out in journey at Nike. I had people that took their time to teach me, to give me projects, to support me, even to read my business school applications. I truly owe those people and feel I can do that by helping others out and paying it forward. Conducting mentorship meetings at determined hours of the week helps me keep control of my caledar and be centered before meeting people so that I can focus on the person I am speaking with and not veer off from the conversation or think about my to do list.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.