Interview by: Mattie Gonzales
What started Reina Rebelde? What was that moment where you said “okay i have to do this now!”
I turned 30, I had a mid-life crisis and had been talking about this dream of starting Reina Rebelde during my late 20s. I did not want to be that person that always talks but never actually does what she says she wants to do. That had never been my style, but as I got more settled into my career as a lawyer, the nice salary and got a little older, I could sense that complacency was setting in. When I started doing actual research on my idea around that time, all the data I gathered really resonated with how I felt and validated the need for Reina Rebelde - it was big a-ha moment for me. I was determined to figure out how to get this thing off the ground.
The makeup industry has been booming in the last decade and doesn't seem to be slowing down, how does Rebelde define beauty in a way that is sovereign and unique compared to the plethora of brands out there?
I have always been committed to our unique point of view and our brand voice and messaging around the awesome power of the Latinx community and all of us who have been ignored for a long time. Being as focused as we are has some downsides for sure, and it ruffles feathers at times, but I believe in my point of view. I am betting on this community and all of the people that we bring into the fold, because they often feel inspired by how unapologetic we are. As an immigrant, I always resented the philosophy that we should dilute fundamental aspects of ourselves to make other people feel more comfortable. I want all the Reinas Rebeldes out there above all else to be unapologetic about their pride and their uniqueness, and how messy it can be. It’s beautiful and bold, and it’s also what makes Reina Rebelde unique.
What do you think it means to be a Latin American business owner? How and why is this so important?
I think it is such an advantage to be a Latina entrepreneur. Growing up, I learned how to embrace and adapt to a variety of environments and people that are different than I am, while learning how to stay true to myself. I had to wear a lot of different hats, and I probably would not have had this exposure or experience if not for my background. I am also used to a lot of things not working out for me, having to push to make my way, living with disappointments. Turns out that in entrepreneurship, you need a lot of practice in these areas, because it requires so much tenacity and grit.
What are some of the challenges starting out, did any stand out for you personally?
The biggest challenge was and continues to be ME. I am amazed at how starting a business has pushed all my buttons, played on all my fears, highlighted my strengths, and revealed all of my weaknesses. Everything about Reina Rebelde is so personal for me, because the brand really came from within, and I feel a tremendous obligation to do right by it, while staying true to me. The rest of the struggles are real – the financial challenges of starting and growing, learning on the job, making mistakes – but in many ways they are the details of the bigger picture and they all eventually pass. Living with yourself as the founder, the CTO, CFO, CMO, COO – now that is challenging.
We know you are carried online and in select Targets, can we see the brand moving into other stores allowing it to be even more accessible?? Or is this information under wraps?
We are expanding our Target footprint in 2020, we also sell on Amazon, and in Mexico. We are exploring other opportunities for sure, but are taking it slowly, because the retail landscape keeps changing, so we want to make a considered next move.
What are some advice points to beauty entrepreneurs, people who are just starting to or thinking about launching a beauty brand?
Make sure you LOVE whatever you want to do, because you are going to be doing A LOT of it. The behind-the-scenes can be so different than you expect when you are at the idea stage, so that passion really keeps the fire burning through all the ups and downs of the journey. If I was not obsessed with the Latinx community, Reina Rebelde, and makeup – I would have already quit. I swear.
Mexican of course – Chiles Rellenos made by mi mami or a good Torta Ahogada from Guadalajara (my homeland). Of the junk food variety – Flaming Hot Cheetos and Capt’n Crunch.
Leather or Lace?
Mostly leather, with a touch of lace.
Town or Country?
Heels or flats?
Go to accessory?
My Virgen de Guadalupe pendant my abuelita gave me when I graduated from college. It’s my good luck charm.
Favorite/most used beauty product?
Very hard to answer! I love them all for very different reasons, but I use my Reina Rebelde Rebel Eye Paints daily to make my cejas full and dark and our Bold Lip Color Stick in La Jefa is a current obsession, because it just launched, and I worked on it for so long. It turned out as amazing as I hoped it would!
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