Fierce Boss Ladies

Because Beer Was Cheaper Than Water Where She Lived, She Started Experimenting And Created An Award-Winning Beer

Jessica “Jess” Fierro’s husband was stationed in Germany for five years. It was during that time that she started to become fascinated with beer and the brewing process. Years after her stay in Germany, Fierro is now making a name for herself in the home brewing world – yeah, also known as a male-dominated field. Her beer named Doña Neta after her abuelita, took the competition by storm to bring home a win on Viceland’s Beerland. And the flavor is not what you’d expect to see at a brewery…

Jess Fierro’s journey into the world of beer all started as an *accident.*

Fierro’s husband had been stationed in Heidelberg, Germany when he was in the military. While in Germany, Fierro toured a beer brewing facility and, as she told mitú she realized, “It was just cheaper to drink beer than anything else.” Thus began Fierro’s beer experimenting phase to find – or create –a beer that best suited her palate.

Before she knew it, her Germany-based home business started picking up and by no means slowed down when she picked up and moved to Colorado, where she learned more about the business side of the industry.

My office. My brewniverse. #LatinaBrewer #Mexican #MyCraft #Chicana #MyPassion #Brewday ???????✊?

Posted by Jess Fierro on Wednesday, July 5, 2017

“Once we got orders to come back to the states we were extremely lucky to get Colorado Springs, Colorado, which is known as the Napa Valley of beers,” Fierro told mitú. She added: “I quickly just started getting my feet wet so to speak and knocking on doors and asking people in the industry if I could brew with them and it kind of just took off from there.”

When Fierro was ready to give her beer a name, she turned to her abuelita for inspiration and she went with  Doña Neta.

Fierro told mitú that her abuela’s name was Ernestina but everyone she knew called her Doña Neta.

Fierro also wanted to infuse Latino flavors from her childhood, like tamarindo, into her beer.

Jess Fierro / Facebook

Fierro told mitú that tamarindo has a special place in her heart because of her childhood summers spent with her abuelita in Obregón, Sonora.

“My grandmother was her own entrepreneur. She used to make these little balls of candy of rolled up tamarindo,” Fierro told mitú. “She’d put four or five in a baggie and we’d go and sell them with her. For me, when I was sitting down one day and there was a beer that almost imparted that flavor. From that moment I knew I needed to make a tamarindo beer.”

But Doña Neta’s tamarindo beer is not your amateur beer. It recently won Viceland’s Beerland, a competition of home brewers across the country. That’s pretty legit.

“If I’m being honest, my first thought was, ‘Holy shit. I just won this.’ I think that for a minute there I heard her say it but it didn’t really register in my head,” Fierro told mitú. “There was a group of Latinas in the far corner that had been rooting me on the entire finale and when I saw them jump up and then I look over and see my husband crying and my daughter and my family that was kind of off on the side that I knew it was real.”

Fierro wants Latinas to see her story as a successful example of breaking into a male-heavy industry.

Courtesy of PrayTell Agency

“This is going to help me kind of deliver that same message that I want to deliver: representing women in craft beer and representing Latinas in craft beer,” Fierro told mitú. “Equally as exciting to winning the competition is that I have this platform that I can use to speak and represent women and Latinas. I do feel like we are underrepresented and I would like to see more of us, not only in this industry but any industry that is male-dominated.”

For her, the most rewarding part of this journey has been being able to connect with so many people through a piece of her culture.

Courtesy of PrayTell Agency

“That’s a piece of my culture in that glass. That’s a piece of my heart in that glass. In every sense of the word. Doña Neta means something to me. I put the recipe together,” Fierro told mitú. “I’m putting a little piece of my culture in there that belongs to a story. It’s an incredible feeling, especially to know now that there are people who I don’t know Facebooking me and messaging me or what have you and telling me that my beer is amazing. That’s an amazing feeling.”

READ: From Enfrijoladas To Conchas, This Mexicana Is Giving These Mexican Comfort Foods A Vegan Twist

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There’s A Wave Of Latina Candidates In The Midterms — And Their Reason For Running Might Inspire You To Do The Same


There’s A Wave Of Latina Candidates In The Midterms — And Their Reason For Running Might Inspire You To Do The Same

A record number of women are running for office this year — many of them fueled by rhetoric and policies coming out of the Trump administration that they hope to challenge.

According to Politico, at least 575 women, a combination of public service veterans and newcomers, are vying for House, Senate or gubernatorial seats — a wave that rivals 1992, the so-called “Year of the Woman.” That year, 24 women were elected to the House, the largest group to enter during a single election, while the number of women in the Senate tripled, though it must be noted that there were only three female members prior to the election.

Currently, a majority of the women running are on a Democratic platform, and many credit progressive women’s movements like #MeToo, which has brought attention to the prevalence of sexual violence, and the Women’s March, which has encouraged ladies to become civically engaged, for their decision to campaign for office.

Among the wave of female candidates are a historic number of women of color, who, more than their white counterparts, were inspired to run after the 2016 presidential election. According to a poll of 1,000 women conducted by Bustle Trends Group and VoteRunLead, 31 percent of women of color said that Trump’s election win increased the likelihood of their running for office or becoming more engaged politically. In comparison, 24 percent of white women echoed the statement.

For Latinas, frustration over Washington’s steady attacks on reproductive rights, immigrants, survivors of sexual violence, trans folks and the environment have energized them to run, many for the first time. FIERCE spoke with a varied cast of Latina candidates — millennial, immigrant, queer and small-town — about their campaigns and how they intend on resisting the Trump agenda should they be elected to office.

Veronica Escobar, Texas’ 16th Congressional District Seat

(Photo Credit: Twitter / Veronica Escobar)

Like millions of people throughout the country, Veronica Escobar will never forget Election Day 2016. “I was distraught, I was frightened and I knew that I had to work twice as hard to help elect progressive candidates to fight a dangerous agenda,” the El Paso native told FIERCE. But when Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced he was vacating his 16th Congressional District seat in an effort to oust U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, it was Escobar who threw her hat into the ring. The 48-year-old Mexican-American, who taught English and Chicano studies at colleges in El Paso before becoming a county commissioner and later a county judge, beat out five other candidates in Texas’ March primary and is expected to win the general election in November. Should she be elected, Escobar — whose priorities include shattering the myth of high crime rates on border cities like hers, comprehensive immigration reform, trade, the environment and expanding access to healthcare — would be the first Latina, possibly alongside Houston’s Sylvia Garcia, to represent and serve Texas in the House of Representatives. “It’s monumental to me personally but also a great source of pride to know a border community is the one that finally broke the barrier,” Escobar said of her likely win, also noting that she is prepared to accompany politicians in Washington who have been pushing back against the Trump agenda. “I would be joining a core group of people fighting a resistance. I feel like I’ve enlisted in their effort and am ready to be a soldier in that effort,” she said.

Catalina Cruz, New York’s Assembly District 39 Seat

(Photo Credit: Twitter / Catalina Cruz)

When Catalina Cruz learned that Trump was elected president, the lifelong activist felt like she needed to do more to ensure the safety and rights of her community. But she hadn’t considered what her mentor suggested to her: running for New York’s Assembly District 39 seat. At 35, the formerly undocumented colombiana has the experience and skills for the job: She’s an attorney and the president of the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County and was previously the chief of staff for former council member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, the director of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Exploited Workers Task Force and counsel to the Immigration Committee at the New York City Council. After consulting with her mom — who basically said, “duh, mija” — the Jackson Heights, Queens-based Latina entered the race. “It was the right political climate for a candidate like me, for the story and accomplishments like mine,” she said. “What better way to combat anti-immigrant sentiments in Washington than having an accomplished Dreamer run for office?” While Cruz credits fellow Latina politicos like Ferreras-Copeland and former New York City council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito as her biggest political inspirations, she does acknowledge that Trump’s election rushed her 5-to-10 year plan. “Let’s get the first Dreamer elected out of Queens, where he claims to be from, and stand up for immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ families and all the folks attacked on a daily basis by Washington,” she told us.

January Contreras, Arizona Attorney General

(Photo Credit: January Contreras for Attorney General)

In Phoenix, January Contreras is running for Arizona attorney general. Formerly a county and state prosecutor before founding Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services (ALWAYS), a legal aid organization protecting Arizona’s women and children who are victims of abuse, the Mexican-American believes now more than ever the work of lawyers and courts are crucial. “We are at a point right now where our democracy is at stake. We are lacking checks and balances because people don’t want to hold each other accountable, and that’s what needs to stop. We need someone there who is going to say the Constitution applies to all people; you don’t get to choose whose rights are protected and whose aren’t,” the 47-year-old candidate told FIERCE. Contreras, who has had a career in public service, has long been advised to run for office, but she credits the current “unique moment,” where the “new federal administration and state leaders no longer hold each other accountable,” as inspiration for entering the race. For her, securing the civil liberties, safety, health and future of Arizonans are of the utmost importance. “Someone needs to stand up and be ready to do the job of the attorney general on Day 1, and I’m ready,” she said.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York’s 14th Congressional District Seat

(Photo Credit: José A. Alvarado)

Upon Trump’s election, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — a former organizer for Bernie Sanders’ campaign — made a commitment to herself to advocate even more than she previously had for marginalized communities. To start, the 28-year-old Puerto Rican left the Bronx, New York for a cross-country road trip, which included stops in Flint, Michigan and Standing Rock. As soon as she came to the conclusion that politics could no longer be something that’s merely extracurricular for her, she received an email from Brand New Congress, a post-partisan PAC that recruits everyday working people for Congress, asking if she’d be interested in running for New York’s 14th Congressional District seat. “I didn’t know what the next step on my journey would be, but it felt like it was put there for a reason, so I pursued it,” said Ocasio-Cortez — who entered the race to unseat Rep. Joe Crowley, who hasn’t faced a challenger in 14 years, in May of 2017. The Latina, who is calling for a “political revolution,” says Trump unknowingly created an enormous opportunity for activists to become candidates and challenge him in Washington. “The issues we’re confronting today have always been there, their seeds have always been there, but this administration has brought them ahead,” Ocasio-Cortez told us. “…I personally feel more emboldened to do everything possible, to leave it all on the field, for my community.”

Rochelle Galindo, Colorado’s House District 50 Seat

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rochelle Galindo)

As a woman, a Latina and a lesbian, Rochelle Galindo’s intersecting identities have been severely targeted by the Trump administration. While the Colorado-based Mexican-American, who has represented Ward 1 on the Greeley City Council since 2015, has been involved in elected politics since she was in college, she believes her run for Colorado’s House District 50 seat could afford her more power to take on the president’s agenda. “I think you can make the biggest impact locally, but I do see that my candidacy now as a state representative can be more impacting in pushing back against the White House,” Galindo, 28, told us. The contender, whose entry into politics stemmed from a drive to ensure local government was both transparent and reflective of the people it represents (she was the first openly queer woman on the Greeley City Council), says one of the best outcomes of Trump’s presidency is the women who have become inspired to run and challenge him. “It was unfortunate that he was elected, but the silver lining is how many people being engaged and wanting to make a difference locally. … We are building a bench for a better tomorrow,” she said.

Read: 6 Reasons Why You — Yes, Hermana, You — Should Run For Office

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Watching Her Mom Sacrifice Her Pets For Caldo Inspired Her To Create This Super Successful Line Of Soaps

Fierce Boss Ladies

Watching Her Mom Sacrifice Her Pets For Caldo Inspired Her To Create This Super Successful Line Of Soaps

Marcela Arrieta is proud of her soap company Majestic Bliss Soaps. Not only does it work to help clients relax after stressful days, the company tries to do as much good as possible. According to Arrieta, the soap company’s philanthropic work is just one aspect of what makes the brand so appealing . It doesn’t hurt that the soap is also vegan and cruelty-free. Arrieta spoke with FIERCE about her soap brand and why she believes companies who are doing social good are thriving.

Arrieta is the co-founder and creative director of Majestic Bliss Soap, a vegan and cruelty-free soap line.

“I’ve always loved animals. I remember growing up we had lots of chickens in our backyard. I considered them my friends not food,” Arrieta says about her decision to go vegan. “So when my mom would sacrifice a chicken for caldo de pollo the notion of eating my friend felt incredibly wrong. Later in life, as I began to study alternative medicine, I heard my teacher utter these words, ‘When you show mercy to the animal kingdom, mercy will be shown to you.’ I took this as a sign and immediately became vegan.”

It was her love of animals and commitment to helping others that inspired the soap company.

“The traditional soap that you see on the shelf, like Olay, those commercial brands, they actually use animal fat,” Arrieta says. “If you look at the label it says it there but in a scientific way. It’s there because it’s the cheapest kind of oil you can get. I stay away from any form of animal product and I source from companies who stay away from any form of animal product.”

“I put myself in the shoes of the consumer,” says the entrepreneur.

Arrieta believes that when it comes to choosing between two identical products from different companies, the company that does social good will be the one to get her money. “That’s what I incorporated into our company,” Arrieta says. “We do that on the daily. We donate our products, services, and time to organizations that do that.”

Making a special soap for the furry, four-legged members of families is also a part of what makes Majestic Bliss Soaps so popular.

Her experiences with her own dog, who deals with a rather severe allergy to grass, is what pushed Arrieta to extend her product to cats and dogs as well. To help her dog feel relaxed and soothed, so that the allergy was less intense, Arrieta began to produce a soap for pets. “They deserve the same quality as any human being,” Arrieta says about her Fur Paws soap. “I don’t see them as dogs, or cats, or pets. I see them as furkids.”

Majestic Bliss Soaps also does more than just donate money and time. They also donate to people in need.

After Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Texas, Arrieta sent 200 pounds of soap to the people in Houston. She even included bars of soap for the pets that had been displaced alongside their owners. Every month, Majestic Bliss Soaps donates money, products, and time to a list of organizations that benefit both humans and animals including Alleviate Skid Row and the Cesar Millan Foundation.

While the soaps aren’t marked with Mexican names or scents, Arrieta says her culture is very much apart of her product’s creative process.

We're so excited! These beauties are heading to @wholefoods in Sedona ✨✨✨?

A post shared by Majestic Bliss Soaps (@majesticblisssoaps) on

“I was exposed to a lot of colors growing up. I am from Jalisco the region that is called Los Altos De Jalisco,” Arrieta says. “There’s a lot of music and color surrounding me. The colors really did come from an inspiration from my upbringing but in reality everything came from my mother and my grandmother.”

Arrieta’s biggest piece of advice for any Latina trying to start her own company is not to feel bad about asking for help.

Power Couple ?❤️ the perfect Ying & Yang. Our founders Marcela and Plinio Arrieta.

A post shared by Majestic Bliss Soaps (@majesticblisssoaps) on

“The biggest lesson that I learned is not to be ashamed or embarrassed to reach out for help. You would be surprised how many people are there, ready and willing to assist you in any capacity they can assist you in,” Arrieta says. “Unfortunately, at least the background I came from, is that we are very orgulloso. Basically, I am too proud to ask for help because people are going to think that I am weak. We need to put that pride aside.”

READ: This Afro-Latina Artist Is Inspired By Her Daughter To Create Art That Shows The Beauty Of Black Women

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