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
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
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
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
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
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.”