Read the full article published in Authority Magazine here.
Mei-Lon Jimenez is co-founder and co-CEO of Chica Beauty. Founded with her sister Toni, Chica Beauty is all for revolutionizing the beauty industry by making the makeup process as easy as possible.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Almost three years ago, I co-founded Chica Beauty with my sister Toni after we noticed the beauty industry was missing something that matched our lifestyle and values. So, we decided to create it ourselves! Chica Beauty is all about inspiring inner beauty and empowering women through our unique makeup sets inspired by women on the go! Each set we sell has a story behind it and a reference to our culture. For example, our Love/Amore set includes our bold red lipstick, inspired by our grandmother whose favorite makeup was her signature bright red lips. Our goal is to simplify our customers’ beauty routines by creating our sets to work around their life so that they can focus on what matters most.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
When the world’s largest retail trade association, National Retail Federation, and the Qurate Retail Group launched the Small Business Spotlight program to support small businesses we knew this opportunity to be on live television and sell our makeup was something we had to take part in, and we were so excited!
The preparation for this experience took weeks and required hard work creating a studio in our own home, increasing our inventory and lots of calling back and forth with the producers. Once again our hard work was worth it because the day we went live on television has since been the highest sales to date! Hearing the “ding” of the bell after every sale brought us so much adrenaline and excitement. However, the most rewarding part of the experience was the interaction we had with real customers via the live chat box and comments explaining how much they loved seeing women on the television that looked like them. We were extremely grateful to Qurate and NRF for giving us a platform to share our story with women everywhere and help simplify their everyday makeup routines!
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
Once we started getting recognized by various organizations for our accomplishments, it felt very rewarding to know that all our hard work and resilience is worth it. Some of our proudest moments have been Los Angeles Business Journal’s Top 5 CEOs of the Year (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), featured on QVC/HSN for Hispanic Heritage month, honored in DC as Small Business advocates and been keynote speakers at numerous events. This has motivated us to keep pushing our mission and doing everything we can to be more than just a makeup brand. This means we put in the time to help beautify both our planet and our local community and invest in our youth. We’ve done this through cleaning up our neighborhoods, giving back through donations and having dedicated our time to speak to young girls during the pandemic about all things girl-boss!
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
The person that immediately comes to mind is a boss I had in my late 20s. He was someone who always pushed me outside my comfort zone by giving me more responsibilities. Whether it was presenting at conferences or just in the boardroom, he allowed me to become a leader. It built my confidence and helped me reach my full potential.
At the time, I was working for the 3rd largest company in the world. My boss was running late to a meeting, and I was the only female in a large conference room full of top male executives/c-suite execs from a major corporation. I sat at the head of the table waiting for him to arrive when he suddenly burst into the room, made a quick announcement and left. What he said was “She’s in charge. Whatever she says goes.” Immediately, there was a shift in the mood. And yet, after that meeting, every single person commented on how that was the “best, most productive meeting they had ever had in their career.” It was such a great compliment, and I couldn’t have done it without my boss lifting me up and setting the stage.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion-dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?
As I mentioned before, Chica Beauty values itself in being more than a makeup company and this has allowed us to make an impact in the beauty industry. We take inspiration from our customers’ hustle and success. We want not only to support our women on the go but also our local communities and environment. Therefore, we prioritize sustainable packaging, recycling and limiting waste. We also use high-quality ingredients, so our customers never have to worry about any damaging chemicals they are putting on their faces. Our initiatives have helped us grow our community of Chica Beauty and we believe that is something the beauty industry needs more of these days.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
- Natural Skincare & Cosmetics are Thriving. Most of our products are Vegan and all are phthalate and paraben free. We continuously test and try natural as well as plant-based ingredients when developing new products.
- Inclusivity. Chica Beauty caters to and understands the Latinx customer. We have a personalized assortment of products that complements and enhances their skincare traits. It’s so exciting to see so many new faces and skin tones in beauty and I’d really like to see more of it!
- Embracing natural beauty. It’s not just a trend, it’s a lifestyle. It’s all about embracing your imperfections and incorporating cosmetics that accentuate your natural beauty rather than covering them up. And we’re here for it! So, when we created Chica Beauty, we envisioned something more than just makeup; we wanted to provide simple beauty solutions and build a community that supports each other and celebrates true beauty.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?
1. Sustainability Packaging. Chica Beauty is on a mission to set the mark for how cosmetic companies approach green decisions. We live by the 3 R’s and encourage our customers to do the same. We have sustainable packaging and are working with a recycling brand to have our customers donate their used makeup products so we can reuse the materials instead of them going to waste!
2. Lack of Age Diversity — Before Chica Beauty, we noticed there was a lack of diversity when it came to how beauty companies advertised their products. We wanted to make sure everyone felt included when they researched Chica Beauty. We love featuring women of all ages on our website and social media. Our customers are women in older demographics who are purchasing our products, so it was important that they too were represented in Chica Beauty.
3. Idealized Beauty — Social media, beauty stores and magazines often showcase unrealistic beauty images in advertisements and marketing. That’s why at Chica Beauty we feature real girls and customers on our website and social media. We rarely photoshop our images and prefer natural lighting for all our photoshoots.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
To us, feeling beauty comes from our inner beauty. We believe this comes from confidence and empowering other women can lead to this confidence! Our makeup helps accentuate the beauty that’s already there.
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five Things You Need to Know to Succeed in The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
1. Personalization. Get to know your customers by talking to them, conducting surveys and asking questions. Listen to their concerns and then deliver products that better their everyday lives. Before we launched our first product, we spent a year asking our target market about their beauty routines and learned what their pain points were. From there, we developed products to meet their needs…delivering high-quality makeup products, sold as sets, inspired by their busy lifestyles.
2. Believe in your product! When my sister Toni and I created this company together, we knew we wanted to make a difference in the lives of real girls & women. That’s why we decided to create products that empowered women to showcase their true inner beauty & confidence. We believe our products can enhance the lives of our customers and when you believe in your product and what you’re doing, your passion truly shines through.
3. Build a strong team. You can’t do everything alone! Even if you’ve managed to launch a successful business, you didn’t do it by yourself. It’s the people in your life who have supported you and have gotten you this far. So remember, do as much as you can by yourself, then build a team with the most talented, experienced people who believe in your mission and can help you with the rest. We wouldn’t be where we are today without our team!
4. Do your best but also rest. Self-care is so important, and with increasingly busy lives, we can easily forget. Finding work-life balance can be challenging and as entrepreneurs, we get it. That’s why at Chica Beauty, prioritizing yourself isn’t a challenge. Our products make your beauty routine fast and simple because our makeup sets are designed to work around your life so you can focus on what matters.
5. Most importantly, believe in yourself. Having confidence in your skills and trusting in yourself is powerful. It’s about finding your inner strength so that you can carry on even when times are tough. As sisterpreneurs, we’ve faced many challenges and obstacles through the years, but by believing in ourselves and what we were doing, we overcame them.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
The beauty industry can often be overshadowed by being too superficial and harmful to your self-esteem by using makeup to cover up your “flaws”. But when I created Chica Beauty, I wanted to be the company that pushed the complete opposite of that mentality. Using makeup to enhance your true beauty and feel empowered is exactly our mission and I hope that the rest of the beauty industry can one day adopt this goal as their own.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” This has been so true throughout our entrepreneurial journey. Whether it’s through finding tradeshows to sell our products, sharing our story on live television or saying “yes” to hosted events across the US and Europe. Chica Beauty is going after what we want!
How can our readers follow you online?
Join our sisterhood by:
Subscribing via email on chicabeauty.com
Following our socials: @chicabeautyusa on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook!
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.