Two Latinas are taking matters into their hand in the beauty world. From the lack of foundation selections to advertisers misrepresenting what Latinas “look” like, Joanna Rosario and Leslie Valdivia created Vive Cosmetics. Their goal is to empower Latina women while including the Latinx community in their mission. A Mexi-Rican (Mexican & Puerto Rican) Rosario always had a strong passion for business ownership and wanted to fulfill her dream of creating makeup. While Valdivia, a proud Mexican-American is a believer in making dreams into reality.
Latinx is not about ”he” or “she,” it’s gender neutral and once you celebrate our culture and being gender neutral or whatever you identify as.
What made you want to create Vive Cosmetics?
Leslie: For a while, I was working at non-profit, where we work with with the Latina community. I learned how to own a business. And I learned a lot about process development along with an appreciation of the Latina community, which led me to this journey. I started thinking, 'I can do this,' so why not give a shot. I wanted to show love to our Latin community and empower Latinx everywhere. I started thinking of ways to come up with something that “A,” would unite my interest and love for the Latina community and Latinas and “B.” something that I enjoyed. I began to look at the market, and I didn’t notice a Latina-owned make-up brand that focuses on culture and speaks about culture and our physical identity. Then I invited Joanna to a conference in Los Angeles, and I started telling her about this idea. Thankfully, she was like ‘Oh my god, I’ve been thinking about the same thing for a while too.’ And that’s kind of how we came together to start this little venture of ours.
Joanna: For me, I own a small business myself, I own a tax franchise. I’ve always had the idea of owning a business, and I love makeup. I've never really felt represented by any makeup brand out there. There are so many big companies, and there’s nothing out there that celebrates all cultures. We want to create who we are as individuals, as Latinas and Latinx. Leslie and I went hand in hand. She has experience in non-profit, and my business background meshed perfectly together. We started about a year ago from scratch, and it's exciting. We’re getting a lot of encouragement, and people you know are being represented by us and by what we’re doing.
What made you ladies gravitate towards making lipsticks first opposed to other beauty products?
Leslie: Since I worked at a non-profit I learned how to speak to our market and research well. We did extensive market research on the way. Latinas wear beauty products.In research and surveys, we did, we found that lipstick was the number one beauty product used by Latina women. It wasn't a huge surprise that Latinas love lipstick. It's so true because even with the ladies that don't wear a lot of make-up they wear lipstick. That’s why we focused on that particular product plus we come from working class parents. Our goal was to start with lipstick and then hopefully later down the line expanding to more.
Joanna: Of course, lipsticks are Latinas favorite go-to products. We did, a lot of market research with her Leslie's sorority and from the research that we found that Latina’s buy the most make-up. Guess what? It's true! In our culture, we grow up embracing our beauty and independence. So that’s why we started with the lipsticks.
A portion of a customer's purchase goes to supporting women of color. Please explain how your consumers are helping with this cause?
Joanna: We wanted to create a company that celebrates our culture but also gives back to the community. We don't have all the resources, but we can push others to feel empowered and supported. We agreed that giving back to non-profits that empower women would be a great idea in keeping true to our mission. Once a year we’re going to donate 25 cents per lipstick, and we want to bring social awareness to inspire women and give back to the community.
I see that your gear towards advertising to the Latinx community, why is it so important to advertise to the Latinx audience instead of saying “Latinas” or “Latinos.”
Leslie: We’re trying to make people see that we understand how people see their identity. Identity is very intricate and intimate, so not everyone identifies as 'Latina,' even if we see them as being. There is Latina and Hispanic and all these other names that one may identify as. Latinx is not about ”he” or “she,” it’s gender neutral and once you celebrate our culture and being gender neutral or whatever you identify as. So that was one of the most important points that we felt we wanted people to see that we understand that term. We want to be encompassing of everyone in the way that's it is not about “he “ or “she” but it’s about “us” and our cultural celebration.
The brand celebrates the Latinx culture and offers five shades of matte liquid lipsticks, which are cruelty-free, vegan, and waterproof. Their social media campaign is hashtag "beso-proof.," indicating its long lasting. With the chicest' shades named Spanglish, Maria, Cafe Con Leche these hues will keep you connected to your culture and date night ready. You can purchase the different lipsticks at vivecosmetics.com.