National Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

Celebrating Hispanic Founders!

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we're spotlighting the Hispanic founders and co-founders of our favorite beauty brands. We believe that they bring unique perspectives to our industry, and we're so happy to be able to feature them and their fabulous products!

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Rea Ann Silva of Beautyblender

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Rea Ann Silva

Hollywood makeup artist Rea Ann Silva knew there had to be a better way to apply liquid cosmetics like foundation than the wedge-shaped sponges that were the industry norm. So, in 2002, she made one. Now her hot pink Beautyblender teardrops are ubiquitous, appearing among the must-haves of pro and amateur makeup enthusiasts alike.

"Making it in the beauty industry as a Latina had its challenges. The one question throughout my life and even today has always been ‘What are you?’ Not being able to identify myself as either white or black provided certain advantages and at the same time presented unique challenges. I never saw any women that looked like me in a position of power who could mentor me in business, so I learned a lot of things the hard way. Being a Latina gave me license to see and live with skin-tone vibrancy. As a makeup artist, it helped me perfect my artistry in cosmetic complexion application, and this experience helped me create the Beautyblender. To me, being Latina means that I’m part of a colorful, vibrant, passionate and beautiful culture. I hope to continue to inspire and mentor other Latinas around the world."
– Rea Ann Silva

Renée Garacochea of Glissant

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Renée Garacochea

Renée Garacochea was a beauty industry veteran with extensive experience in clean formulation when she met Dr. Karyn Eilber, a urologist who specializes in female pelvic medicine. Together, they created Glissant, a line of natural lubricant and bath salts free of hormones and chemicals.

"My beautiful grandmother used to tell me to work hard, always wear lipstick, have faith and love your work—life will give you back what you put in. All the products I’ve created since I started formulating in 1993 have herbs and extracts from Mother Earth. This is something I learned as a child from my grandmother who used to cook every day like there were 100 people coming over. She would pick fresh herbs from her garden; soak beans bought from a farmer and always get fresh meat straight from the butcher. She taught me that what you put in your body is important. She instilled in me optimism, worth and a sense of my cultural duality.

I’m always first an American because that’s why my grandmother came to this beautiful country. Freedom is something that’s taken for granted these days. She used to tell me, ‘We don’t know how great we have it here in the USA.’ I’m a loud and proud Mexican American woman. Thank you, Grandma Carmen. May you rest in peace."
– Renée Garacochea

Joanna Vargas of Joanna Vargas

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Joanna Vargas

Joanna Vargas

The Oscars’ red carpet has nothing on aesthetician Joanna Vargas. Between her NYC and LA outposts, she sees more celebrities than a season of Saturday Night Live. A-listers flock to her for facials and body treatments that combine technology with her hands-on technique. After opening her first spa in 2006, Vargas helped make her signature glow more easily accessible to all via the launch of her eponymous plant-based skincare line in 2011.

"I feel my passion for beauty comes directly from my background. My aunts and my grandmother were incredibly beautiful to me and always done up. They smelled so good when I hugged them! Being done up at the pool, or just running to the grocery store, was such a part of being around them. My grandmother in particular was passionate about her self-care, and it was that passion that I brought to my career.

Representation matters so much. I remember growing up and looking at fashion magazines—there was no one in them that looked like me. No one. No one had my hair texture. And I know now as a mom, my kids just don’t feel comfortable without being in a more diverse environment. The beauty industry has changed a lot for the better since I began my career 20-plus years ago, but we have a long way to go. Honoring my heritage is a beautiful way to open the way to the next young person who dreams of creating."
– Joanna Vargas

Veronica Fisas, CEO of Natura Bissé

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Natura Bissé

Veronica FisasDaughter of Founder Ricardo Fisas

In 1979, Ricardo Fisas started his skincare company in a Barcelona apartment based on an observation he’d made while managing a livestock feed factory: The hands of employees who worked with amino acids were extremely soft. This eureka moment led him on a product development path that incorporated marine extracts and other botanical ingredients, resulting in five creams that launched the brand worldwide. Today, the brand is helmed by his daughter, Veronica, the company’s CEO.

Fabian Lliguan of Rahua

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Fabian Lliguan

The son of hairdressers, Fabian Lliguin followed in their footsteps, moving from Ecuador to New York City to pursue his craft. However, he made frequent return visits to the Amazon rainforest, where he met the Quechua-Shuar tribe and discovered its locally produced rahua oil. Amazed by the oil’s hair-healing benefits, Lliguin, along with his wife Anna Ayers, built an entire haircare brand around it, launching in 2008.

"Ecuador is a country with exuberant nature, from the highest peak of eternal snow in the Andes to the majestic Amazon rainforest—not to mention the enchanted Galapagos Islands. Ecuadorians love nature and rely on nature for beauty product ingredients and results. My brand is an extension of the Ecuadorian culture where beauty and nature walk together.

It’s extremely important to me to represent my heritage in the beauty industry. Doing so revives Ecuadorian and Incan ancient beauty traditions that scientists are now beginning to understand and are finally becoming able to explain for the benefit of the world."
– Fabian Lliguan

Tata Harper of Tata Harper

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Tata Harper

Tata Harper

A native of Colombia who eventually relocated to rural Vermont after stops in Miami and New York City, Tata Harper was unable to find clean, high-performance skincare that was also 100 percent natural. In 2010, she took matters into her own hands with the creation of her luxury line, using ingredients she grows on her 1,200-acre organic farm.

"I grew up in Barranquilla, Colombia, surrounded by a vibrant Latin culture that was so unique and impactful on shaping who I am today. As a young girl, I was immersed in a household of strong, entrepreneurial women who loved beauty. We’re a total of 35 cousins and 20 of those are women, so there was a dedication to self-care. My grandmother would host spa parties in her house every weekend and invite all these women to come try her hair mask or body scrub. I loved helping her make the products from scratch using local Colombian ingredients. I would watch her teach the women how to take care of their skin and noticed how much more confident and beautiful they would feel afterward. From a young age, I had a growing appreciation for helping women embrace their individuality and be the best version of themselves. When I started to formulate my own products, I thought there was no better way to see if they worked than hosting my own spa parties. I would invite my close friends and family over, and I’d walk them through some of the first regimens that we created. Trial and error and listening to the feedback of those I loved and trusted resulted in a line of products that are high performance and deliver incredible results. Still today, one of my favorite parts of my job is hosting beauty classes and helping women feel confident and more beautiful in their own skin."
– Tata Harper

Jules Miller of The Nue Co.

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The Nue Co.

Jules Miller

The supplements arena was ripe for reinvention when Jules Miller entered the game in 2017 with The Nue Co. By crafting capsules devoid of the usual synthetic fillers and bulking agents and made with responsibly sourced, clinically proven ingredients, she turned people on to the benefits of pill-popping.

"I was born in London but moved to Colombia at an early age. My mother is from ‘El Quindio’—the coffee region of Colombia. I have wonderful memories of the raw beauty of nature there. My Colombian heritage is something that had a huge influence on me growing up. Health and beauty in Colombia are not about how you look, but how you feel about yourself within. This, along with my fascination for the healing powers of nature, has never left me, and is something I’ve tried to channel with The Nue Co.

Our belief as a brand is that our collective health is an ecosystem, comprising our physical, social, mental and environmental well-being. It is so interlinked with the health of our planet, and we believe it’s our responsibility as a business to raise the bar for our sector through optimizing the health of people and operating in a way that respects and preserves our environment.

Coming from a Colombian family, I’ve learnt a lot about the powerful benefits of both natural and medical grade ingredients. Fusing together my heritage (my mother taking me to herbalists in the local market and my grandfather schooling me on the ins and outs of clinical studies and evaluations) is how we develop most of our formulas."
– Jules Miller

Saluting More Hispanic Creators!

While we’re super in love with the Hispanic founders of the beauty brands we carry (see above), we also wanted to shine a light on six fantastic Hispanic female founders of lines we don't sell.

Cindy Deras of Parisian Pet

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Parisian Pet

Cindy Deras

A native of Honduras, Cindy Deras opened a pet boutique there in 2007, inspired by her two chihuahuas. She moved her base of operations to Miami the next year and started her own line of ultra-chic pet products, from carriers and clothing to accessories and other accoutrements.

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Parisian Pet
Reyna Villa of Quiero Prints

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Quiero Prints

Reyna Villa

When she’s not running her successful graphic design and branding company, Reyna Villa is tending to her other East LA-based business, Quiero Prints. The colorful stickers, stationery, t-shirts and jewelry are emblazoned with fun phrases (Tacos Before Vatos) and clever designs “inspired by our Spanglish-speaking Latinx roots.”

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Quiero Prints
Kristen Gonzalez of Selva Negra

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Selva Negra

Kristen Gonzalez

Committed to ethically made, sustainably sourced, size-inclusive clothing, Selva Negra, founded by fashion school grad Kristen Gonzalez, is beloved by insiders for its polished, comfortable designs. From jumpsuits to jackets (with most items ringing in under $300), it’s fashion forward without the fast fashion remorse.

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Selva Negra
Maritza Mendoza-Aguirre of Soulful Succulents

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Soulful Succulents

Maritza Mendoza-Aguirre

Inspired by the healing power of plants (specifically succulents), Maritza Mendoza-Aguirre started gardening when she lost her voice, due to a health issue. That journey led her to begin leading succulent-arranging workshops (Sip ‘n’ Succs) in Southern California, as well as selling her own succulent-based creations online.

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Soulful Succulents
Fernanda Medina of Syd + Pia NYC

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Syd + Pia NYC

Fernanda Medina

Bronx-based designer Fernanda Medina creates unisex demi-fine jewelry under her Syd + Pia NYC label using 14k gold- and color-plated brass. The accented earrings and sleek stacked rings have been favorites of the fashion set since the brand’s 2014 launch, appearing in publications like Elle and InStyle.

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Syd + Pia NYC
Yola Jimenez of Yola Mezcal

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Yola Mezcal

Yola Jimenez

Crafted from local, organic agave, Yola Mezcal, based on a recipe passed down to founder Yola Jimenez by her grandfather, follows a 400-year-old artisanal mezcal-making tradition. The all-female hand-bottling facility in Oaxaca, Mexico, offers direct pay and environmentally responsible production practices, while the farm itself uses sustainable planting and growing techniques.

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Yola Mezcal