Although Latinas make up a large portion of hair product consumers in the US, they have been largely underrepresented when it comes to brands and their hair concerns. To add fuel to the fire, Latina-identifying women have been even more underrepresented when it comes to the boardroom, with very few mainstream brands being founded by them.
Rizos Curls is here to change that. The female and Latina-owned collection was started by Julissa Prado. We got the chance to tap Julissa on her entrepreneurial journey, being one of the only Latina female founders in the hair space, and how she’s going to dominate the mass market space.
(via Rizos Curls)
Mane Addicts: What was the inspiration behind the line?
Julissa Prado: The inspiration to create Rizos Curls was my own personal curl journey to learn how to love my natural curl texture and that of so many women around me. Because no product on the market gave me the definition I needed for my own curls, I ended up creating a formula from natural ingredients. Then in passing, I’d meet so many curly women in the bathroom, in the elevator, in dorm rooms, and they’d tell me “I love your hair.” They’d ask me “How do you get your hair like that?” I’d tell them I have my own concoction. I made so many friends because I’d say “OK, I’ll come over and do your hair.” I’d do their hair, teach them my process, and they’d start wearing their hair naturally. In 2017, I finally made the formula professionally with a lab and launched Rizos Curls, and all those women became my first customers.
MA: What type of Latina is the line for?
JP: Rizos Curls is a hair care line for any woman or man with curls, kinks, or waves. Our customers are insanely diverse from White, Latinx, Black, Afro-Latinx, and everything in between. [They are] from all over the world as we have national and international distribution, having shipped to 57 countries. I decided to name my brand Rizos Curls as a way to celebrate my culture. I felt that no brand uniquely understood the Latina curl culture nor how to speak to me. Rizos Curls is the three C’s, curls, community, and culture. Everything we do is centered around that. [That being said], many non-Latinx people love Rizos Curls. Our formula of high-quality natural ingredients is unlike anything in the market. Many use our products and come back after their first use because their curls are more nourished, more defined, and overall healthier. We are proud that our products are sulfate-free, paraben-free, silicone-free. We don’t fairy-dust our products so you get the full benefits of all the ingredients included, so they are products worthy of any person with curly/textured hair.
MA: What is your favorite product from the line?
JP: I can’t pick just one! Our Curl Defining Cream, which many curlies call a “magic potion,” is the product that was the hardest to create. I wasn’t getting the definition I wanted from any other curl styling product. Other curl creams were either too heavy or too light. Our Curl Defining Cream literally takes your current curl pattern and enhances it. It defines and holds curls without leaving hair crunchy, creating defined, bouncy, shiny, frizz-free voluminous curls.
MA: Why is it important for a Latina to have a voice in the beauty space?
JP: It’s important for Latinas to have a voice in the beauty space because we’re very often underrepresented. Latinas are one of the biggest consumers of beauty across categories yet we don’t have a seat in the table within conglomerate brands. We’re not authentically included in brand marketing (if we’re even included to begin with) and we don’t have as much access to resources, capital, or funding compared to our non-Latina beauty founder counterparts. Yet, my community rallied around Rizos Curls as soon as I launched. I took the brand from a $50K life savings-investment to $1 million dollars in sales in under two years with not a penny spent on advertising. Now that we’re at Target, retailers and the industry are taking notice of the power of authenticity and celebrating curls, community and culture! Now that I have a voice in the beauty space, it’s my personal mission to help the next generation of Latinx beauty experts, executives or entrepreneurs thrive in this industry.
MA: What was the most surprising thing you discovered on your entrepreneurial journey?
JP: The most surprising thing I discovered was that in order to grow, I will never stop learning. Every day I face challenges and situations that humble me because I have no idea how to solve them. Learning from the obstacles I face every day is what allows me to grow. I now realize [this] is an important part of entrepreneurship.