Fierce Boss Ladies

They’re Young, Women And Latina — And They’re Behind Some Of The Most Popular Online Shops

Latinos are 55 million strong in the U.S., and as we continue to grow, we are also making our mark in the business world. This is especially true for Latina women, who are among the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs. With culturally relevant fashion and beauty lines, millennial women of color are following the trend.

Here, 12 young Latinas who have started their own brands, do it for the cultura and prove we have a lot of talent, creativity and smarts to offer.

1. Tanya Menendez, CMO and Co-Founder of Maker’s Row

(Courtesy of Tanya Menendez)

In 2012, Tanya Menendez, a 30-year-old Nicaraguan-Salvadoran badass, co-founded online marketplace Maker’s Row. The company connects U.S. manufacturers with more than 11,000 product-based businesses. “My [career] highlight was the first time I met a woman that started a multi-million dollar business employing other women in a factory in New Jersey because of my work at Maker’s Row,” she told Fierce. “It really hit home that we were creating jobs and helping democratize entrepreneurship.” That’s not all. The millennial has a new venture: Snowball, a guide for financial decisions that is currently in the beta stage and open for sign-ups.

2. Lora Arrellano, Co-Founder and CEO of Melt Cosmetics

(via Instagram)

Lora Arrellano’s rise is what Latinx dreams are made of. She’s a michelada-drinking, Frida Kahlo-loving Latina who is no stranger to using her social media following of more than 1 million to grow her business and gain the attention of superstars like Rihanna. She went from working at Nordstrom, to becoming Riri’s makeup artist, to establishing one of the most popular makeup brands, Melt Cosmetics. The first line of her highly pigmented, ultra-matte shades of lipstick sold out immediately in 2012, and it has since expanded to include eyeshadow palettes and lipliners. This year, Arellano, 30, and her co-founder Dana Bomar also premiered their digital reality series, Lipstick Empire.

3. Emerald Pellot, Founder of GRL TRBL

(Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher)

Afro-Dominican-Puerto Rican Emerald Pellot is an illustrator, writer and intersectional feminist. The 28-year-old is also the woman behind GRL TRBL, a line of pins and prints she started in 2017 as a direct response to the Trump administration. From an Afro-Latina Sleeping Beauty-inspired pin that reads “Stay Woke” to her “Latinx Pride and Power” print, Pellot offers so many goodies. “When I started, I didn’t imagine a response as enthusiastic or that this project would endure for so long. Resilience will always be the highlight of my career,” she told us. “Whatever it is, clearly outline where you want to end up, then plan the steps to get there. Don’t be inflexible, and don’t be too hard on yourself.”

4. Rachel Gomez, Founder of Viva La Bonita

(Courtesy of Rachel Gomez)

Latinx ‘gramers have probably come across one of Rachel Gomez’s super-popular designs from her hit shop Viva la Bonita, including clothing with a signature red rose and “Bonita” emblazoned on it. The 30-year-old Mexican-American founded the company about four years ago and regularly releases new items. “I want to continue building this platform that will represent all Latinas and continue to show the value of the Latina Market,” she told us. “Nothing worth having comes easy, and our Latina community is so worth it. When times get tough, remember that all of these successful women and/or Latinos in business were just like you. We all have a Chapter 1 in our book of life. Your story is your story and it will unfold at your timing.”

5. Kayla Robinson, Founder and CEO of Green Box Shop

(via Instagram)

Afro-dominicana Kayla Robinson became a familiar figure in social justice apparel after Frank Ocean wore her shirt that reads “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic when you can just be quiet?” Her brand, Green Box Shop, is 100 percent trade-free and also sells “Bigot Tears” water bottles and “Deport Racists” tees. “To me, fashion is a valid way to express your opinions and desire for social change. I feel as though we can really make a difference with the things we put our money into,” she told Teen Vogue.

6. Kim Bjanes, Founder of Brown Badass Bonita

(via Instagram)

Kim Bjanes is a writer and artist, and you’ll find her words adorning tees that promote pride in la raza over at her shop, Brown Badass Bonita. The 26-year-old Mexican-Salvadoran is an entrepreneur and graduate student who also advocates for immigrant rights and fights bigotry through her designs. “I aim to use my brand as a source of empowerment and a movement for the Latinx community, particularly for those who identify as mujeres. I want our Latinx community to each experience their own revolution. I will do everything in my power to make this happen,” she told us. Bjanes advises fellow Latinxs to “remind yourself you are a guerrera fighting for your dreams and the life you deserve.”

7. Patty Delgado, Founder and CEO of Hija De Tu Madre

(Courtesy of Patty Delgado)

Patty Delgado’s famous “Virgencita” sequin denim jacket is a big seller at her shop, Hija De Tu Madre, being both a bold fashion statement and a shout-out to her cultura. The 26-year-old graphic designer started the line in 2016 with inclusivity in mind, offering various sizes of the signature jackets and motherland necklaces. “Use what you already have to create something. You don’t need a ton of money to start a dream,” the mexicana tells us. “Use the tools and community around you to help you grow.”

8. Adassa Ramirez, Founder of MicMas REMiX

(Courtesy of Adassa Ramirez)

Made with all natural ingredients, MicMas REMiX is a hair care line founded by 38-year-old Puerto Rican Adassa Ramirez that celebrates Afro-Latinidad. As written on her website, “Our goal is to inspire pride in all hair because there is no such thing as ‘pelo malo/bad hair.’ Your texture does not determine whether it is good or bad.” Beyond her hair products, Ramirez also sells accessories promoting Black Latina pride, including an “Afro-Latina Magic” tee and an “All Hair Is Good Hair” tote. Her career goal is to expand to Puerto Rico and establish a natural hair salon where she could sell her products.

9. Julie Sariñana, Fashion Blogger and Creative Director of Sincerely Jules

(via Instagram)

Los Angeles-based mexicana Julie Sariñana started blogging in 2009 and with her popularity came an idea for an eponymous clothing line, Sincerely Jules. Through it, she mixes her high-fashion style with casual LA flair. “My blog’s motto is to Dream, Believe, Achieve. I firmly believe that we should always dream big, believe in each of our dreams and aim to achieve them!” she told Teen Vogue.

10. Joan de Jesus, Founder of Babe Comets

(Courtesy of Joan de Jesus)

Joan de Jesus, a 27-year-old Brooklyn, New York native, uses her artistic abilities to create fly earrings through her brand Babe Comets. The Dominican-Salvadoran mujer is hoping to expand the business to other accessories, but for now you can purchase her lightweight, colorful pom pom earrings. She considers her community the greatest part of the business. “The community of badass babes that support the brand, highlighted in a series I’m developing called ‘Babe Luv’. Community is everything. You don’t need medio millón. Start with a handful of people who support you and your brand and grow from there. Be nice! it goes a long way,” she told us.

11. Julissa Prado, Founder of Rizos Curls

(via Instagram)

Stemming from her own struggles with her curly hair, Julissa Prado developed Rizos Curls, one of the first Afro-Mexican hairlines. After two years of trial and error, she came up with a formula that’s completely natural. “I’m brown and I got a brown ass family, and we have very diverse hair, from wavy to kinky. I made this product for anyone with curly hair,” she told us.

12. Sofia Luz Eckrich, CEO and Co-Founder of Teysha

(Courtesy of Sofia Luz Eckrich)

Sofia Luz Eckrich, 28, combined her love for her Mexican roots with her international know-how to co-found Teysha, a shoe company that showcases styles made by Latin American artisans. Her career highlight so far is “growing to a place where 70+ family members are positively impacted by Teysha’s production in Guatemala.” Her advice for women aspiring to follow her lead: Take it “paso a paso and never ever stop going.”

Read: You Have To Give These Latinx-Owned Skincare Lines A Try

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People Are Accusing Kat Von D Beauty of Scamming Customers With Their Famous Tattoo Liners

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People Are Accusing Kat Von D Beauty of Scamming Customers With Their Famous Tattoo Liners

Yes, we know. Makeup maven Kat Von D has been long been on the outs with fans who once adored her. In addition to the slew of offenses stacked up against her, Von D’s recent declaration that she would not be vaccinating her son after his birth certainly has not done her any favors.

Now, the tattoo artists’ latest controversy means she’s enduring another fall from her fans’ graces.

Beauty enthusiasts are currently accusing Von D of scamming them out of their money with the Trooper Tattoo Liner

Cheyenne Vaughan / Facebook

At the end of last month, Facebook user Cheyenne Vaughan accused Von D’s makeup brand of “putting a sample-size eyeliner into a longer-shell tube,” and then selling it to customers for “triple the price.”

Vaughan shared a photo of the eyeliner in her post that showed the dismantled product in three pieces. One was a long tube, the other a cartridge that holds the actual product, and the last piece: a cap.

“Yall I’m about to lose my mind right now,” Vaughan wrote in the post. “Kat von D really been putting a sample size eyeliner into a longer shell tube and selling to my dumb ass for triple the price. I’M ABOUT TO LOSE MY MIND RIGHT NOW.”

Facebook users who saw the post were quick to respond to Vaughan.

“That’s what you get for supporting an anti-vaxer,” wrote on user.

Others came to Von D’s defense, asking Vaughan to support her claims with actual facts.

“Did you actually make sure this is factual, by weighing the amount of liquid in each one? I didn’t think so. Wtf is wrong with people??”

And of course, many didn’t waste time in bringing up the fact that Von D is anti-vaccinations.

“Y’all need to stop supporting the anti-Vaxer,” one wrote.

“That’s what you get for supporting an anti-vaxer,” replied another.

Six thousand shares of the post later, and Von D responded with her defense.

@thekatvond / Instagram

In a post to her Instagram account, Von D asserted that she wasn’t cheating customers. In fact, according to her, while the cartridge is the same size for every liner, the amount of ink inside of it differs depending on the liner size.

“The cartridges in both full size liners and mini liners are the same — it’s the amount of product inside each cartridge that is different. So, for example, the product fill on our full size Tattoo Liner is 0.55 ml, while the product fill for the mini is 0.2 ml – thats over DOUBLE the amount of product! Any brand who has an eyeliner with similar component on the market will tell you the same thing. You need that much cartridge space for the pigment to flow out,” she wrote.

See for yourself in the comments section of Von D’s post on whether or commenters are satisfied. Hint: people remain stanning their anti-Vanti-ant-vaxx position.


Read:This Mexican Scientist Is Making Eco-Friendly Shopping Bags Through Nopal Juice

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Meet Michelle Poler, The Venezolana Inspiring Women To Face Their Fears

Fierce Boss Ladies

Meet Michelle Poler, The Venezolana Inspiring Women To Face Their Fears

According to Michelle Poler’s checklist, her life was close to perfect. After graduating high school in Caracas, Venezuela, she moved to Savannah, Georgia to study advertising. While there, she said “I do” to her then-boyfriend. Once she received her bachelor’s degree, she relocated with her husband to Miami, where she swiftly landed an ideal industry gig. But as she fulfilled each life goal, many of them feats for immigrant women of color in the US, she didn’t feel as gratified as she’d been told she would her whole life.

In fact, Poler, who had always lived life according to the safe and secure to-do list society created for her, didn’t start feeling happy until she ditched the rule book entirely and started uncomfortably facing her biggest trepidations through Hello Fears.

A social movement, Hello Fears empowers people to step outside of their comfort zone, engaging in activities that make them a little uneasy, so that they’re able to tap into their full potential. The project, started in 2015 when Poler was a graduate student at New York’s School of Visual Arts, uses storytelling and media content to help people embrace fear and realize the joyous life they fantasize about.

“The core of this project is to inspire people to tackle daily fears,” Poler, 30, told FIERCE. “We discovered that courage is contagious, so by me sharing my story and other people’s stories, others reading are more willing to face their own fears.”

But before the Brooklyn-based entrepreneur started encouraging her more than 30 thousand followers to be courageous, she had to confront her own terrors. While earning her master’s degree in branding, she had a class assignment that required her to do something, anything, for 100 days. The self-described scaredy cat used the opportunity to help her confront the anxieties that were limiting her from success and pleasure. From there, “100 Days Without Fear” was born.

For the next 100 days, Poler tackled a new fear each day. Starting small, the New York transplant, who at the time was scared to ride the subway alone or be out late at night, found herself conquering those apprehensions. She also ate foods that freaked her out. She experienced the torture of a Brazilian wax. She faced rejection passing out flyers on city street corners. And she dined at a bar alone.

“I started getting confidence as I was facing my fears,” she said. “Achieving those small things and gaining that confidence helped me move to more complicated fears.”

Soon, Poler was tackling horrors that few brave individuals would even dare to think about, from holding a tarantula, to skydiving, to posing nude in front of an arts class. Once she completed the physical tasks she thought she was never capable of doing, she moved on to a bigger feat: facing the fears that were getting in the way of her leading her most fulfilled life. That meant quitting her secure but unsatisfying job in advertising and confronting problems in her familial relationships.

“One of my biggest fears was losing my parents, but I wasn’t going to kill them for this purpose,” Poler jokes. “So I decided to write a letter, a very honest letter as if they were dead, telling them all the things I love and appreciate about them and also things I would like to change in our relationship so we can enjoy life together on this planet.”

The experience was emotional, both for her and the now thousands of followers she had as her project went viral. But the tough and tearful conversation, which Poler shared in a video, were worth it. When it was time for her to face her 100th fear, speaking publicly about her experience at a TEDx Talk, her Panama-based parents were in the crowd, being more present and expressive, just as she had asked of them in her letter.

With her class assignment complete, and now jobless because of it, Poler was inspired to turn her personal journey into a business and movement, one that could inspire others to lead their best lives just as she was starting to. Through Hello Fears, the Latina now helps thousands of people take the first step of welcoming the things that make them uneasy and provides them with the tools to conquer those trepidations. She does this primarily through storytelling, from original, empowering Instagram content, a digital course, a blog where people share their own fear-defeating stories and through keynote speaking engagements. Poler averages about 70 conferences a year, bringing her powerful message of triumph to teenage girls as well as big corporations like Google, Facebook, Netflix and Microsoft.

“Fear is so universal. Everyone can relate. I speak to people of all ages, backgrounds and genders, and all relate to fear and courage,” she said, noting that most of her talks are for girls and women.

In speaking with tens of thousands of people around the country, she has found the thing most people are afraid of is failing the people they love. Unhappy wives don’t leave toxic marriages because they’re worried about how divorce might impact their children. Talented artists don’t pursue their passions because they’re scared of disappointing their parents. Partners with academic dreams don’t apply for graduate school because they fear losing income could put their relationship in turmoil.

“The fear of failing others, that’s the thing people take into account the most before taking a risk. But when we think like that and stop taking risks because of our fears of failing others, we start failing ourselves,” she said.

According to Poler, there are two types of fears that keep people from realizing their dreams: personal and culture. The former, which also includes not wanting to fail loved ones, is avoiding hurting your ego. Rejection is painful, and trying and failing is a bitter death to the soul, so we protect ourselves from that hurt by refusing to face the fear. Similarly, cultural fears, the worry of what society might think of you for behaving outside of the status quo, also keeps people in unhappy situations.

But Poler says when we remain in our comfort zone, we risk never evolving into the people we have the potential of being. For her, we grow when we challenge ourselves and we accomplish our goals the quickest when we look fear straight in the eye. She would know. Before embarking on her “100 Days Without Fear” class project, she was tasked to write a ten-year plan for her life. A year later, by braving her fears, she made all the ambitions she thought were slightly unfeasible to complete even in a decade happen in 365 days, from being paid to speak publicly, to starting her own company to building a brand with her husband. Now, just four years later, she started a relationships podcast with her husband, is writing her first book and had her story picked up for a series on Fox.

“If you have any goal in mind, if you face your fears, the probability is you will get to your goal faster and you actually get there at all,” she said.

For those hoping to conquer their fears but are unsure where to start, Poler suggests making a list of the rewards that facing their fear could bring them, from tiny outcomes to possibilities that might at first seem unrealistic. “Ask yourself, what’s the best that can happen? Fill your mind with rewards and positive thoughts that take you back to the reason you wanted to do this in the first place,” she said. She also proposes keeping an accountability partner, someone who will remind you of what you stand to gain by overcoming your terrors and will inspire you when you feel like giving up.

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Yesterday I had the honor to speak to a group of 500 certified Emergency Nurses. And I thought: fearless! The things they see everyday ???? I could not be able to handle it. They have to deal with loss, tragedy, blood and pain (emotional and physical) day after day ???? . What can I teach them? I thought ???? . For some people it takes courage and intention to be at least 10% “selfish” and take care of themselves, for once. These people spend their lives caring for others, so much, that they forget to find the time for themselves. So THAT was my mission yesterday: to challenge them to do something for themselves and not feel guilty about it. . Same goes for entrepreneurs and their work. So many hours working to make it, saving all of our money and investing it back into the business. But, what about us? . When was the last time you got yourself a massage at a spa? Or took a night off to do something by yourself that you LOVE to do? Or splurged at a restaurant that you’ve always wanted to go? Or bought tickets to see a show or a concert? . It is OK to do these things once in a while. Spoil yourself, you deserve it. You worked for it. #noguilt . When we take care of ourselves we feel happy, we bring our best selves to the world and then we will be able to help others, because happiness is contagious ♥️???????? #selfcarefirst #courageis #hellofears #mentalhealth #behappy

A post shared by Hello Fears (@hellofears) on

For Poler, facing her fears not only allowed her to live the joyous life that degrees, a career and marriage couldn’t do alone but it also showed her, for the first time, how mighty she is.

“One thing I learned is that I’m way stronger than I thought. I perceived myself as a fragile person who was going to break at any point and needed someone to rescue me. I’m way stronger than that. Maybe not physically — I should probably go to the gym for that — but mentally I’m way stronger than I thought. I can handle myself. I can survive on my own, if I wanted to,” she said.

Read: Venezolana Verónica Sanchis Bencomo Started Foto Féminas To Promote Women Photographers In Latin America And The Caribbean

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