‘Wonder Curl’ founder Scarlett Rocourt shares hair-care secrets to perfect curls 

Scarlett Rocourt is a Haitian-born “Jersey Girl,” an entrepreneur, plant-based vegan, plant mom and gardener. She is passionate about living a healthy life and helping others to do the same. 

She is the founder of Wonder Curl, the leading indie Black-owned, vegan and eco-friendly hair-care line for all natural and curly hair textures. All products are free of silicones, parabens, phthalates, and are cruelty-free.

Wonder Curl specializes in hair-care and has developed a three-step system that simplifies customers’ wash day routine, helping customers embrace their natural curls with cruelty-free and vegan ingredients. Their signature hair-care bundle includes the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser, Moisturizing Hair Pudding, and the Get Set Hair Jelly.

From battling humidity to homemade remedies, Scarlett discovered the secret to perfect curls  

Scarlett’s entrepreneurial journey began unexpectedly in her home kitchen in 2010. At the time, she was living in Florida and her hair was losing a battle against the humidity. After struggling to find the perfect hair gel that would hold up against the weather, Scarlett decided to try her hand at creating her own homemade product. 

‘Wonder Curl’ founder, Scarlett Rocourt began her business in her home kitchen, searching for a hair-care remedy that would battle Florida humidity. (Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

Originally, she had plans of becoming a blogger and purchased the domain name ‘Wonder Curl.’ After a few weeks she realized this was not the path for her and instead, she found that she had a knack for creating products that helped keep her curls hydrated and defined. 

“I knew that if I had this problem, then other people with curly hair would too,” she said.

Working out of her home kitchen and determined to find a solution to her hair gel problem, she created her first product, the Get Set Hair Jelly. This first product would become one of three in Wonder Curl’s signature hair-care bundle, with  the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser and Moisturizing Hair Pudding later joining the line. 

Her blog domain soon became repurposed as her company name, and Wonder Curl was born. 

Scarlett set out on her mission to create products that would simplify the hair-care process for those with curly hair of all types. “I wanted to take the work out of our hair and I formulated the products, so you only need two products for styling your hair,” said Scarlett. 

Her greatest strength starting out as a minority business owner is that she is also a customer. When formulating her products, she created products that she would want to use herself. 

“My customers have the same issues with their hair as I had. I can relate to them because I am them. I always say that people will buy from who they like and who better than someone who is just like them and understands them?”

With her mission clear in her mind, Scarlett continued developing her line over the following years. She moved from Florida back to New Jersey, got a job in marketing, and kept working on her business as a side hustle. She managed this for over 3 years until her job discovered she was running a whole business while working for them. 

“They let me go and I decided not to look for another job but to pursue Wonder Curl full-time. That was about 2015 and I never looked back!” said Scarlett. 

The magic three-step process to getting those wonder curls

Over the years, Scarlett has perfected her products and now holds the secret to getting those perfectly styled curls with her three-step signature process. 

Made with all natural ingredients known to nourish hair, the unique formulas moisturize and keep hair hydrated for days, improve texture, and enhance natural curl pattern. 

“Those with curly hair know that wash days can be complex and include multiple cleansers, creams, masks, and gels. Even after spending hours on hair, it still may need to be restyled or refreshed within a couple of days. Don’t let all of that hard work go to waste. Wonder Curl has developed a new system that has everything needed in just three products,” said Scarlett describing the process. “The three-step system leaves hair hydrated and defined for days, without refreshing. Not only does this streamline hair-care routines, but it also makes it easier to achieve naturally beautiful hair.”

hair-care, Wonder Curl, Scarlett Rocourt

Scarlett shares the secret to perfect curls with signature three-step process. (Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

To get the perfect curls for yourself, start with the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser. This product does it all. It washes, detangles, and conditions. The Detoxifying Clay Cleanser was developed to combine all these steps, simplifying the process while leaving hair moisturized and fresh. Many cleansers leave curly hair dry and tangled, but the Wonder Curl formula guarantees hydration.

The second step is the Wonder Curl Moisturizing Hair Pudding, made with shea butter, castor oil, and aloe vera. This leave-in cream hydrates without becoming greasy, enhancing natural curl patterns while increasing the hair’s elasticity.

The Get Set Hair Jelly is the last step that sets hair in its natural curl pattern, without becoming dry, flaky, or crunchy.  

“We know that many hair gels promise hold but fail miserably in humidity. Not the Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly. Hair will have a flexible hold that is perfect for every curl type and is humidity-proof. It is also great for eliminating frizz and elongating your curls,” said Scarlett. 

Healthy hair happiness and giving back

Over the years Scarlett has helped countless people through her products. Starting out, she began attending hair events in NYC to promote her business and putting on workshops. Her hair demonstrations often gather crowds wherever she goes. 

“It’s so important to always give back,” says Scarlett.(Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

I was giving at a natural hair show in Philadelphia once. It was at a hotel, and they gave me an auditorium. I showed up a few minutes late and it was standing room only which I was not expecting,” said Scarlett, sharing a favorite memory. “I was demonstrating my products on my hair model, who in all fairness already had great hair, so one of the women in the front row who had tightly coiled hair asked ‘But will it work in MY hair?’ I responded, ‘I will do your hair next!’ So, after I was done with my hair model, she came on stage. I wet her hair and applied my products and as soon as the products touched her hair you could see her curls form beautifully. She was so happy.” 

Later, after the demonstration, Scarlett would find her booth mobbed with people from the auditorium who had seen the demonstration and were eager to try Wonder Curl for themselves. 

“We sold out of the products and even had people asking to buy our demo products!”  

These live demonstrations are one of Scarlett’s favorite parts of her job. “This is where I shine the most. I love the look on people’s faces when they see what their hair looks like using my products. They can’t believe how soft and defined their curls are.” 

A decade after starting her journey in the world of hair-care, Scarlett started the Healthy Hair Summit in 2020 to help others to grow their healthiest hair through proven expert tips. She never imagined her personal hair-care journey and homemade remedies would lead her here today. 

To other aspiring entrepreneurs, Scarlett shares one more secret

If you are looking to gain success or grow in your career then you should seek out 3 different types of people. 

The first is someone who is where you want to be. This is the person who has achieved most of their goals and will give you valuable business advice. They don’t have to become your friend, but someone you can text/call every so often when you come across an obstacle. 

Second, is someone who is where you are now and trying to achieve their goals. These are the people who will be struggling or have had a similar struggle as you. This is also the person who talks you off the ledge. 

Finally, the third is someone who wants to get to where you are. It’s so important that we always give back and help the next generation come up.” 

For more information, visit wondercurl.com or follow Wonder Curl on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Designer Samantha Telfair, thrives with her collection at NYFW

Samantha Telfair to present collection set to defy expectations during New York Fashion Week hosted by Fashion Designers of Latin America

Puerto Rican, Bronx born and raised, Samantha Telfair has earned the reputation as an energetic, exciting and strong leader in the fashion industry with over 10 years of experience.

theMERGER is Sam’s luxury contemporary brand. With it, she merges Uptown and Downtown NYC energy into chic ready-to-wear pieces. Her collection will come to life during the Fashion Designers of Latin America showcase during New York Fashion Week LIVE on September 8, 2021at 8 pm at Lavan 541 NYC.

Samantha Telfair

Samantha Telfair, founder of theMERGER. (Image via LatinxNewswire)

Her collection, theMERGER. State of Mind, is “inspired by the good times, the bad times, and the times we feel ourselves falling face first into this thing called life.” Through it, Sam details the not-so smooth voyage she’s faced. Her designs weave together to tell the story of where she is and where she comes from, creating a collection of empowerment which can only be described as a New York State of Mind.

“theMERGER. State of Mind collection embodies the energy of my hometown. It personifies the dual nature of the city; romantic but gritty, high-fashion with a city-slicker edge,” says Sam.

“This featured collection is more than designs down a runway,” she continues, “It’s my homecoming parade! It’s my tribute to the city that raised and shaped me. I’ve come a long way from my days on the 6, Just like the song DeJa Vu: If it wasn’t for the Bronx…”

theMERGER

themerger.nyc We’re O U T S I D E 🗽
#themergerstateofmind

Right from the beginning, Sam was high-profile. Early in her career she began as a wardrobe stylist dressing celebrities for red carpet appearances, editorial photo shoots, media appearances and music videos before making the shift from stylist to designer. However, it was her former husband, an NBA player who was convicted of gun possession, that had dragged her name through the media. Still, Sam did not let this define her and she continued to push through with her career, establishing herself as a major designer with pieces being worn by Ciara (Self Magazine), Josephine Skriver (Sports Illustrated Swimsuit), Julia Michaels and Angela Simmons. This soon led Sam and theMERGER to global recognition, and a front row seat at the FDLA show at NYFW.

You might be interested: Rosita Hurtado shares how she transformed a childhood passion into a successful design export

The Fall schedule for SS/2022 FDLA shows will take place during NYFW at its new location, Lavan541, an iconic, exceptional and luxury event venue, located in the heart of Chelsea at 541 W 25th St, New York, NY 10001. 

NYFW, New York Fashion Week, FDLA

FDLA New York Fashion Week agenda. (Photo courtesy of FDLA)

The fashion festivities will kick off with a virtual press conference taking place on Tuesday September 7th at 6:00 pm followed by an up-close in-person showcase featuring the best of Latin-American Fashion Designers, including Sam representing Puerto Rico and FDLA honorary president Agatha Ruiz de La Prada and special guest Custo Barcelona.

For ticket/show information: fdla.co/access 

Press: fdla.co/press

Top 5 Spring/Summer 2021 beauty trends for Latinas 

Looking to get ready for the warmer months and the summer post-COVID? Get inspired with these top Spring/Summer 2021 beauty trends for Latinas. 

Bold colors are in! 

Ditch the neutrals, 2021 is all about making a statement. Be bold with your color choices this summer. 

  1. Bold lips and bright eyeshadows are the way to go.

For Latinas, a go to lip color is fuchsia. Vibrant and exciting, this color will give you just the right pop to stand out. 

For your eyes, mix things up with some bright colors. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new colors that you may have avoided in the past. Some vibrant colors you might be seeing this year are bright blues and greens. After a year stuck inside, it’s time we put some color back into our lives with lively, fun hues.  

  1. Soft, smokey eyes

If you’re not ready to commit to the BRIGHT summer looks, maybe this Spring/Summer 2021 beauty trend might be more your style? Smokey eyes are a timeless look and a soft, smokey eye is the perfect look when you want to accentuate your eyes. Great for dates–Zoom or IRL–this look is sophisticated and confident.

  1. Glowing skin 

As the warmer months approach, one trend that will be popping up in the “fresh-faced vacation glow.” Whether you’ve actually been on a restful vacation or not, this look is easily achievable with a combination of products and technique. You can layer complexion products like highlighter and blush to create a multidimensional makeup look that will leave your skin looking glowy and fabulous. 

Photo by Nick Noel on Unsplash

  1. Rosy cheeks and warm-tone highlighters

On the topic of blush and highlighter, for Latinas rosy and warm-tones are the way to go especially for those with deeper complexions. Accentuate your natural features with warm highlighters such as peach, copper, bronze, and gold colors. 

For your cheeks, go for a rosy color. Cool tones will clash with darker skin, so again keep to those warm colors. Coral blush is a shade that works well on both cool and warm undertones and is versatile for both light and dark skin. For lighter skin tones, apply just touch to cheeks; for darker tones, layer on a bit more for a nice, natural flush. Blend the blush into the apples of your cheeks and then up and out towards your cheekbones.

You might be interested: B2 Beauty By Bella: A skincare beauty brand by for Latinas

  1. Natural Waves and ‘70s chic

Last but not least: hair. For all you ladies with curly or wavy hair, everyone is going to be jealous of you this summer because the natural wave look is in! It’s time to embrace those waves not fight them. 

Check out this Latina YouTuber’s styling video for tips and tricks on how to perfect the natural wave look. 

Other big hair trends for Spring/Summer 2021 are ‘70s inspired looks like the mullet shag look, Farah Fawcett hair, curtain bangs and ‘60’s era mod bangs, and so much more!

skincare beauty brand

B2 Beauty By Bella: A skincare beauty brand by for Latinas

B2 Beauty By Bella is a natural skincare beauty brand founded by Latina entrepreneur, Edith “Edi” Lagunas, with the mission to provide quality natural, simple, and affordable products that maintain youthful, smooth skin and empower women.  

skincare beauty brand

B2 Beauty By Bella, a natural skincare beauty brand founded by Latina entrepreneur, Edith Laguanas. (Photo courtesy Edith Laguanas)

A skincare beauty brand for Latinas 

Edith Laguanas, owner and founder of B2 Beauty by Bella. (Photo courtesy Edith Laguanas)

Edi first launched her business this past year in November 2020, though the idea for a skincare beauty brand had been a dream in her mind since 2008. As a Major in the U.S. Army, Edi has traveled the world and lived in over 15 domiciles throughout her life and has served various positions in the Army from platoon leader, company commander, to Executive Officer. During her many travels across the world, Edi’s skin was exposed to various seasons and climates which affected her skin tremendously. From bitter colds to blistering heats and humidity to the harsh sandstorms in Iraq, Edi skin suffered. She realized then that she needed skincare products that would provide protection, moisture, and keep her olive skin hydrated and youthful. 

“I saw that other female soldiers had skincare products that complemented their skin needs,” says Edi. “However, I also saw the lack of Latina brand representation in the skincare and beauty industry and how much we spend on cosmetics and skincare products.  That feeling I had of someday launching a skincare product finally came to reality last year.  In March 2020, when COVID hit, and I saw the shutdown of brick-and-mortar business,  I saw how the e-com businesses and those that were able to transition to the digital world were surviving and thriving.  At that point I knew that I had to launch my career in skincare not only for me, but so that other Latinos could see that being an Entrepreneur in the digital world was possible.” 

In the years leading up to Edi going for her dream, she spent time trying out different skincare products that contained essential ingredients such as retinol, vitamin C and vitamin E that would ensure her skin retained its firmness, elasticity, and skin tone. When she decided to launch her own brand, Edi knew she wanted her products to contain these essential ingredients and no harmful chemicals or parabens. However, ensuring top quality in her products would come with some obstacles. 

As a Latina entrepreneur, Edi is adaptable and resilient. Coming from an immigrant family of five kids that grew up with minimal resources, Edi learned how to get creative early on so that everyone could benefit. This made her become resilient and adaptable for when things don’t pan out the way she planned. 

B2 Beauty By Bella Repair Resurfacing Serum. (Photo courtesy Edith Laguanas)

“Last year in March 2020, when I began my research into skin care ingredients and began meeting with manufactures and learning about their chemicals in the products, I learned that most manufacturers have minimum order quantities and the cost to buy one product would require an investment on my part of thousands of dollars,” says Edi. “At this point I was becoming disillusioned and discouraged.  But I kept searching and meeting with skin care manufacturers until I met with a company that met both my needs in the type of product I wanted and, in the amount, I financially was able to invest in.  In this experience I learned that we have to keep looking and trying until we find that solution that fits our needs.”  

Representation matters: Opening the door for other Latino businesses

Edi began B2 Beauty By Bella to provide skincare products that would enhance skin and empower women to feel beautiful and confident, but throughout her journey her mission has grown. She has connected and collaborated with many people from many backgrounds and discovered the beauty in relationships, community, and life. “La vida es Bella!” 

B2 Beauty By Bella all natural skincare beauty line. (Photo courtesy Edith Laguanas)

The importance of community and representation became especially evident after the Covid-19 business shutdowns. Edi saw the devastating impact of the pandemic on the Latino community and labor workers. Now, she hopes to inspire other Latinos with her company and her story to show them that success is possible and that Latinos can thrive in the Post-Covid e-commerce world. 

“I see on the news the impact that Covid has had on the Latino community and the labor workers.  I keep telling myself that if we are the ones doing the labor and buying the products, then we should also own the businesses,” says Edi. “Representation matters and I believe that small e-com businesses like B2 Beauty By Bella can open the door for other Latino businesses and keep it open for them to join us.” 

You might be interested: How Touchland’s vegan cruelty-free hand sanitizer is making sanitzing cool and trendy

Edi recommends that anyone interested in starting their own business or entrepreneurial venture should first start by finding a community of like-minded individuals to empower you and sit in your corner. Find mentors and ask questions. Do not be afraid to fail. 

“There is always a way,” says Edi. “Get creative when things don’t go as planned and find a way to get things done. ‘Que la vida es dificil cuando nosotras mismas la hacemos dificil.’ Life is full of obstacles and it is up to us to remove those obstacles and keep trying.”

fashion shows

Fashion shows must go on says Fashion Designers of Latin America Albania Rosario

The future of fashion shows is evolving before our very eyes. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, industries across the globe have been forced to innovate and adapt quickly to stay afloat. At the forefront of the Latinx fashion industry, Albania Rosario has taken on the task of adapting fashion shows during Covid-19. 

The future of fashion and fashion shows

The past few months have been riddled with uncertainty as countless industries face difficulties. Even the powerhouse fashion industry has now been greatly impacted, with hundreds of fashion shows and important events around the world being cancelled since March, countless stores being shut down or bankrupt, and orders and supply change suspended.

fashion shows

Albania Rosario, founder and CEO, Fashion Designers of Latin America (Photo courtesy Albania Rosario)

And it is not just the fashion designers that have been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, but the whole chain of workers that make fashion possible.

Albania Rosario, CEO and founder of Fashion Designers of Latin America (FDLA) has seen first hand how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone in the industry from dress makers, seamstresses, pattern makers, models, makeup artists, stylists, photographers, fashion directors and producers, the list goes on. All these people make a living and depend on the industry to support them and their families. 

“I personally know that hundreds of our designers had no choice but to shut down their workplace, leaving thousands of fashion workers without a job,” says Albania. 

As we enter the summer months and more events continue to be cancelled or postponed, many in the industry wonder how they will stay afloat and what will become of anticipated events such as the reknown New York Fashion Week.  

Fortunately this powerhouse industry is full of creative spirits who are finding innovative ways to adapt and evolve. For many designers and companies adapting fashion shows during Covid-19 will mean embracing technologies and creating digital virtual experiences in place of physical shows. 

The evolution of fashion shows

The fashion show has long been a tradition in the fashion industry, dating back to the 1800s and early 1900s in the form of fashion “parades” that began in Paris and where later imported to the U.S. These parades, like our modern day runway shows, were a way for designers and department stores to advertise the latest clothing trends to potential buyers. 

(Photo Credit courtesy Albania Rosario)

The fashion parades soon evolved into more structured, theatrical shows hosted by retailers. Presented with narratives and themes, these shows became popular throughout the mid-20th century. Then in the 70s and 80s American designers began to host their own private shows separate from retailers. However, it wasn’t until the early 90s that the fashion shows we know today came to be. 

Forced into cramped spaces that often exceeded capacity, the fashion shows of the early 90s were prone to mishaps from ceilings falling on models to generators blowing out. These mishaps eventually lead to New York Fashion Week finding its home in Bryant Park, a venue where all the shows could be held together in one place. 

Since then, the runway has continued to evolve into ever more dramatic and entertaining spectacles. With the innovation of technology in the last decade more and more fashion shows have been incorporating digital components to their extravaganza including livestreams on TV and social media. 

(Photo Credit courtesy Albania Rosario)

In 2010, London Fashion Week was the first to allow viewing via livestream. Since then, many runway shows have embraced the use of technology to expand their global reach. And these trends will only rise as the industry continues adapting fashion shows during Covid-19. 

“I know that designers are innovating and starting to believe in the power of technology and digital platforms,” says Albania. “I see most of them already using social media and e-tailing (Electronic Retailing) more than ever.” 

Moving forward this year, Albania says we can expect to see more online fashion shows and digital content such as look-books, brand videos, designer Q&As, and even podcasts. 

“You can see that international platforms such as Shanghai Fashion Week, Mexico Fashion Week, and even recognized high-end brands like Chanel have already opted to do their shows digitally, offering a virtual experience to their audience and I strongly believe this is the new trend in fashion at least for the rest of 2020. Virtual fashion experience rather than traditional showcase.” 

(Photo Credit courtesy Albania Rosario)

FDLA’s Spring/Summer 2021 shows will also be joining the digital sphere this September during New York Fashion Week. Instead of physical shows, the catwalk shows of FDLA will be completely digital, grounded in digital storytelling with a stream on new collections shown virtually and available on FDLA’s website and all social networks. 

The FDLA digital platform will also contain virtual showrooms that will help connect brands with retailers, adding a business component to the week. 

“It is essential to look at the future and the opportunity to change, collaborate and innovate,” says Albania. “Many of our businesses have always embraced FDLA as a platform for not just fashion but for its influence on society, identity, and culture. The current pandemic is leading us all to reflect more poignantly on the society we live in and how we want to live our lives and build businesses when we get through this. The other side of this crisis, we hope will be about sustainability, creativity, and products that you value, respect, cherish.”

fashion shows

(Photo Credit courtesy Albania Rosario)

The faces behind Latin America fashion 

Adapting fashion shows during Covid-19 is only one aspect of change that Albania is working on through FDLA.

Another major project brought about by the pandemic is FDLA’s storytelling fundraiser campaign, Las Caras Detrás De La Moda En Latino América. The campaign features hundreds of video clips from designers across the globe telling their stories and testimonies about how the pandemic has affected their businesses and what they are doing to help. 

The goal of this campaign is to raise funds for the FDLA Project, a marketplace / E-commerce platform for the use of Latinx designers and upcoming designers who have been impacted by Covid-19 to help them reinstate and rebuild moving forward. 

“Many of our designers are still working from their homes making thousands of face masks to donate to the most needed countries in Latin America, so I decided to start a campaign in order to raise funds for the FDLA Project,” says Albania. “The cost of this project’s development is over $50,000 and I am hoping through this campaign to be able to raise these funds to bring this idea to life.” 

In addition to their Covid-19 fund, FDLA has also launched an online school, FDLA Academy online where they are offering free and low cost classes for everyone–from beginners to advanced students–who is looking to learn a new skill during the quarantine. 

An opportunity to innovate 
fashion shows

(Photo Credit courtesy Albania Rosario)

Throughout all the hardships this time has brought on the world, one positive is that it has taught us all a thing or two about adapting, innovating, and finding new opportunities in a bad scenario. 

“I strongly believe that every bad situation comes with a new opportunity but we must be ready to see it,” says Albania. “If we focus only on the negative, it will be impossible to find new opportunities. We have to face the obstacles that come across our path. This is what life is about.” 

Albania is using this time as an opportunity to innovate, learn, create, embrace technology and focus on the essentials. 

“Focus on what people need,” she says. “The glamour and haute couture should be placed on hold for now.” 

This mindset is rippling throughout the industry as more and more designers reconsider how they make their garments and focus on what is more essential rather than what is trendy or high end. 

We are watching the fashion industry evolve and transform before our very eyes as a new chapter in the history of fashion shows is written. It may not seem like revolutionary changes are happening yet, but soon we will look back at this time and wonder how the fashion world existed without virtual shows being commonplace.  

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Albania began FDLA when she saw a need for change in the industry. 

“Ten years ago I had a vision: I was going to build a platform that would allow Latinx designers to be part of the most exciting week of fashion in the world, New York Fashion Week. Ten years later, our Latinx designers are officially part of the scene at New York Fashion Week. I created a powerful platform that connects and builds bridges of fashion and opportunities across Latin America. I brought a fresh perspective to the fashion capital of the world. FDLA is that platform.” 

Now, Albania continues to push for innovation in the industry as she works toward adapting fashion shows during Covid-19 to the digital realm and re-imagine the way we experience the runway. 

 

experiential retreats

Latina entrepreneur Pilar Avila launches Renovad experiential retreats around the world

Renovad’s carefully curated experiential retreats entice participants to take a breath of fresh air, clear their minds, stimulate their senses, refresh their souls and reconnect with the essence and power within themselves.

Meet Pilar Avila at the 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch in Jersey City on June 13 – Wellness Panel Speaker 

Inspired by her journeys across 5 continents and 18 countries,and the desire to spend more quality time with the extraordinary women who serve as her mentors and collaborators, Pilar launched Renovadexperiential retreats as an extension of her organizational change management consulting practice, interDUCTUS.

The inaugural 2019 programs, August 27-31 in Italyand in MoroccoNovember 27 – December 1, will be followed by experiences in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Greece, Mexico and Thailand in 2020. Renovad pivots on deep destination knowledge, andremoving the burden of travel planning and the risk of trial & error, to design experiences focused on relaxation, inspiration and adventure.

The idea behind the experiential retreats
experiential retreats

Renovad experiential retreats are carefully curated by Founder and CEO Pilar Avila (L)

After building a fruitful career over 26 yearsproviding leadership at institutions across the private equity, hospitality, and nonprofit sectors, Pilar Avila decided to launch a consulting practice as a boutique lifestyle business.

Pilar stated, “As women focused on sustaining our families, advancing our businesses, and improving our communities, too often we place ourselves far down the priority list. Reality is that in the measure that we nourish ourselves, we are more effective in lifting others. This is the impetus for Renovad retreats.”

The experiential retreats are intentionally without speakers and prescribed programs, to open space and set the state of mind for participants to let go, listen to their inner voices, delight on the sounds they will encounter around the world, to ultimately reinvigorate mind, body and soul.A “come as you are and when you please” approach provides participants the freedom to flow, dial up and down on activities, and further tailor their own renewal experience.

Pilar Avila, the passage from corporate to entrepreneurship

Pilar’s reputation as a strategic, innovative, multidisciplinary, results-oriented business and civic change leader precedes her. But in her own words, it took a whole new level of gustiness to muster the courage and take the plunge from employment to entrepreneurship. “The biggest challenge I overcame in launching my business was the fear of leaving behind the certainty of an increasing and predictable income. I had always known that my biggest anxiety in life was building and maintaining financial security, being prepared to support my family in time of need and opportunity, and securing funds for a comfortable retirement.”

Pilar took inventory of what she had accumulated and figured that if she could generate funds to sustain her lifestyle while protecting her net worth, she would likely be in a good position to retire when the time comes. She decided to invest in herself by allocating 10 percent of her reserves as seed money for launching her business.

As Pilar’s network got word that she was in the process of launching a consulting practice, the first client knocked on her door and validated her move to entrepreneurship before she could even complete her new company branding and print business cards.

The three most relevant strengths Pilar developed through her career and that provided a solid foundation to launch her business included a proven ability to successfully manage most critical business aspects of a non profit and small business enterprise, a deep and wide network of collaborators and advisors across industries and markets, and a reputation for getting things done with a focused, transparent and win-win approach. “These continue to be my biggest assets that I’m tapping in building my management consulting practice and Renovad’s experiential retreats,” Pilar explained.

Building experiential retreats as an change agent
experiential retreats

Beautiful landscapes of Italy for Renovad experiential retreats

As Pilar continues to delve in this new stage of life and business, her commitment as a change agent, passion about the rise of diverse leadership, and championing of equal access to economic opportunity and investment in education, are as strong as ever.

She isenergized by the determination that women are applying in advocating for equal pay and opportunity. She has been an advocate in her own way since the beginning of her career. “It always makes me smile, and wonder where I got the guts, when I recall approaching my boss during a yearly performance review – it was my second professional job five years into my career,” she said.

Considering her title and job responsibilities, not to mention her unstoppable drive and developing talent, Pilar knew that she was grossly underpaid. She showed up at the performance review ready with highlights of her accomplishments over the previous year. Her boss commended and thanked her for her vision and success in implementing a new national program.

Before the talk on salary and bonuses, she swiftly presented him with a basic budget of living expenses (in excel, of course) required to sustain the modest lifestyle of a young professional, such as her, in Washington, DC. The budget demonstrated that she was underpaid at least by 50 percent; she received a 30 percent increase in compensation on the spot. The next year her income increased by another 30 percent when she accepted a position at another organization.

“Three years later and eight years into my career, I broke into the six-figure income club and purchased my first home, one of seven real estate investments I have made to date. I am certain that without the audacity of standing up for the pay that I deserved, things would have worked out differently”.

You might be interested:  Leaders, influencers and entrepreneurs converge in NJ at 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch (EEL)

If you are thinking of starting your own business
experiential retreats

Mysterious rias in Morocco to hold your imagination

Here is Pilar’s advice to Latinas who are thinking of starting their own business or would like to achieve success in their profession or career:

  • Focus on utilizing and showcasing your current strengths while developing other strategic skills that may enhance your career and business success in the future.
  • Skills are not everything – a collaborative, kind and win-win approach will take you a long way.
  • There is nothing more valuable than your reputation – do not compromise on transparency, trustworthiness and kindness.

 

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Holiday sales

Increase your Holiday sales with these tips from Camino Financial

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Holiday sales account for nearly 30% of annual sales for small and mid-sized businesses according to the National Retail Federation. On average, that accounts for a whopping one trillion dollars of retail sales between the months of November and January.

Holiday sales

As a business owner, how do you capture the lion’s share of these profits? How to increase sales? Is there a way to rein in these tis-the-season, shop-till-you-drop buyers to your storefront? The answer is yes. In addition to huge doses of gritty determination, you can use the tips below to boost and increase sales. Regardless of what type of business you operate, these actionable tips build goodwill during the holiday season and lasting relationships with your customers. While you’re thinking about how to put these easy and cost-effective tips into practice, savor a piece of chocolate pie while seated beside a roaring fire. Don’t forget to wear your striped Christmas socks.

20 Tips to increase sales during the Holiday Season

With a pumpkin spice latte in one hand and a smartphone in the other, buyers are armed and ready. They may wear ugly Christmas sweaters or reindeer antlers but one thing’s for sure… They’re looking for deals! It’s game on. And for business owners, this means one single thing: it’s time to increase sales!

  1. Decorate your storefront. Nothing draws people into the holiday season like colorful lights, snowflakes, and even fake snow. Scrooge’s are notoriously unhappy people so make sure your storefront screams: “Come in, we’re festive!”
  2. Offer a Black Friday sale: After a day of eggnog, turkey, and yams, shoppers are ready to take their buyer’s wand and scout out savings. Advertise the sale on your website, post flyers, and run ads in your local newspaper.
  3. Run a contest: People love to compete and win stuff. Invite the public to a one-day sale that requires shoppers to dress in festive attire or an ugly Christmas sweater. Give everyone a discount but offer a prize for the best holiday season costume.
  4. Share your profits: Advertise during the holiday sales season that you intend to donate a portion of your business profits to a local charity. Give customers information on how they can donate too by visiting your store.
  5. Wrap gifts for free: When customers purchase items, they may see wrapping gifts as a chore. Even if they don’t, offer to wrap the gifts so when they walk out the door, they’re done.
  6. Hire seasonal employees: Customers may make a mad dash to swoop up deals. Make sure there are plenty of personnel on hand to answers questions and provide help.
  7. Engage with customers through social media: Introduce holiday marketing campaigns in your social media and include pictures and information about your products that shoppers can view using mobile and desktop devices. Make sure to point out the urgency of making a purchase by a certain date.
  8. Make room for Cyber Monday (the Monday after Black Friday): Wikipedia states that In 2017, Cyber Monday online sales were 6.59 million. Make sure you offer deep discounts on big-ticket items exclusively on Cyber Monday.
  9. Give group discounts to families: One-stop shopping encourages buyers to purchase everything at one store. Be creative when offering discounts so that each family member gets a product at a reduced price.
  10. Offer a free pet toy with purchases: You’ll score big in the hearts of animal lover shoppers by remembering their pets during the holiday sales gift-giving season.
  11. Send email blasts: Probably you’ve been collecting your customers’ email addresses all year to provide notices of sales and to keep in touch. The holiday season is the perfect time to let them know about your hottest holiday items.
  12. Create a holiday specials page on your website: Make sure your website’s landing page has a holiday theme so when customers reach your site, it’s easy for them to start shopping.
  13. Set up a countdown to Christmas campaign: Target each person’s inner child by offering a discount on a different product each of the 25 days before Christmas. Send emails each of those days and post the daily changes on your website. Shoppers will look forward to what’s coming next.
  14. Collect Food Recipes: What does everyone brag about when seated together at Thanksgiving and Christmas? Family recipes. Offer a discount when people bring in favorite recipes. After the holiday season ends, publish the recipes in an ebook: you can send it next year in your Holiday newsletter, use it for your marketing campaigns, or even sell it and donate your profits. Those clients that collaborated with their recipes will love to know it served a good cause and they will return to your business.
  15. Encourage sales after January: Want to increase sales after December? Print up post-holiday sales flyers and put them in shopping bags. They’ll like a deal no matter when it happens.
  16. Play a mix of background music in your store: Some people like Elvis’ Blue Christmas while others may want to hear Frank Sinatra singing, White Christmas. Play a mix of holiday tunes throughout the day that appeals to a wide range of shoppers.
  17. Consider safety first: Make sure your lights are safe and properly plugged, and nothing in your store can spark, tangle, burn or ignite. Be careful with the profuse ornaments. You want your clients to be able to walk comfortably around the store without stumbling into each other or into the decorations. This may lead to the opposite effect you’re looking for, and customers will leave without making a purchase. Also, be careful with scents: someone may be allergic to pine needles, herbs, and spices and walk out the door. Use scented candles sparingly or not at all.
  18. Add an appreciation token in each bag: A keychain, free notecards, or holiday pencils… for a small price, you’re sending a priceless message: “we appreciate your business, come back soon!”
  19. Offer your gifts in price ranges: Most people have a budget in mind when buying gifts. Make the buying experience easier for them categorizing the products on your website by $10, $25, and larger price ranges.
  20. Give away shipping costs: You’ll encourage more sales by offering free shipping during the holiday season. Depending on the type of products you sell, offer to deliver purchases to homes at no cost. You’ll save your customers from lugging packages around all day, and they’ll be more inclined to buy more!

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Parting Holiday Cheer

holiday Sales

Office Holiday party (Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash)

You’ve just learned how to avoid ho-hum sales so you can sing “jingle all the way” to the bank. Implement these simple holiday season tips to increase sales and you’ll feel good about saving people money and putting a smile on their faces. Plus, it won’t hurt for your income statement’s bottom line to mushroom at the year’s end.

Just like you, Camino Financial reaches out to others throughout the year. Our goal is to not only enrich your lives through our products but to come alongside you and help grow your business. One way we do that is through our newsletter. The publication is free and arrives weekly in your inbox. You’ll receive updates on what’s trending in the business world and tips on how to maximize business growth. Subscribe today to the Camino Financial Newsletter and learn how to build a legacy for your family while staying connected to a community of over 30,000 entrepreneurs.

And while you’re at it, why not share this valuable post with other business owners so they succeed too. After all, “Christmas is a season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart“—Washington Irving.

A version of this article was written by: Betsy_wise for Camino Financial on November 22nd, 2018
hair extensions Lux Beauty Club

Raising capital a challenge Latina innovator Victoria Flores takes head on

Raising capital is a challenge that Victoria Flores takes head on –literally! A first generation Mexican-American business owner, Victoria started a direct to consumer hair extension company that not only helps women look beautiful but many times propels their confidence.

In 2012, Victoria became a partner with Leslie Wilson and launched Lux Beauty Club to create a one-stop shopping community where customers could buy hair and beauty products on a regular basis.

raising capital

Victoria Flores, co-founder Lux Beauty Club and Latina innovator

Wilson and Flores hit on the subscription box idea, and Lux Beauty Club was born. “My business partner and I were both single gals in NYC. We bonded over the love of hair extensions but commiserated over the cost of getting them done at the salon!,” Victoria said.

The hair extension business is prohibitively expensive and with a growth potential of almost $500 billion. African-American women represent almost 70% of this market but less than one percent of them own a hair extension shop. Worse, Latino females are even less frequent buyers because of the astronomical expense it entitles and the few salons owned by Latinas.

You might be interested: Ona Diaz-Santincelebrity stylist talks hair for professional women (video)

There are hundreds of beauty shops all over the country that target African-American women. Getting a hair extension is difficult because most of these beauty shops offer no guarantee and the extensions often vary in quality. Even a mere tryout costs money and the client has to pay a deposit which is often never refunded if there is an issue with the extension.

Lux Beauty Club offers individual hair extensions to people with all different budgets. From luxury hair extensions to individual magnet extension –their latest patented invention- all these options are delivered to your door.

“What is different about our hair extension business is that it offers a range of hair extensions that are affordable and personalized. There are no exorbitant fees or deposits,” Victoria said.

Raising capital a challenge for any Latina entrepeneur

Because of her education in finance –Victoria’s corporate career included working with Themis Capital, Morgan Stanley, Adriana Carador Designs and Katz Capital –, her success in accessing to capital resources and raising capital looked if not easy but at least possible.

raising capital

Click the image to shop Lux Beauty Club hair extensions

Raising capital has always been the most difficult obstacle to overcome. “When you are not 23 and a Harvard gradate, it makes fundraising difficult without that network. You have to be comfortable with hearing NO. It should become second nature,” said Victoria.

“I am intensely motivated and know that I can’t do this alone. I want people to feel included in our journey. I want my team to know that their ideas matter,” Victoria shared.

While they were working on their latest invention, people said it wouldn’t work and it would fall of women’s heads. But they didn’t listen and created the first ever Magnet Hair Extensions, that allows women to do basically anything and can be applied in less than 10 minutes! “Oh, and we filed the patent too!,” Victoria enthusiastically shared.

Lux Beauty Club is now running a fundraising campaign at Kickstarter with great giveaways and rewards. “Please visit and let us know what you think,” said Victoria. “My motto is, ‘Test it, sell it and don’t take no for an answer,’” she concluded.

 

Latino traditions

Janny Perez Mi Legasi keeps Latino traditions alive for moms and kids

Latina entrepreneur Janny Perez is the creator of Mi Legasi, a bilingual subscription box and shop that brings the vibrant Latino culture to moms who want their children to learn and cherish their Latino traditions. 

Janny Perez Mi Legasi at the 2017 Latina SmallBiz Expo in Newark NJ keeping Latino traditions alive.

Mi Legasi strives to empower families and connect children with their Latino traditions and culture. Each box comes with a variety of items such as bilingual Spanish books, toys, games, craft projects, and family activities along with special gifts for mamá such as beauty, home, office, or accessory items.

The idea for Mi Legasi came after Janny had her daughter, Victoria, in 2015. “I felt the need to ensure that she understood where she came from and what it meant for her to be Latina,” Janny explains. “I wanted her to experience the music, foods, language, culture and stories that were passed down to me.”

In May of 2017 Mi Legasi was officially created as a way to empower moms and families to connect with Latino traditions and culture, focus on quality family time, and create their own legacy.

Mi Legacy keeps  Latino traditions alive

Latino traditions

Janny Perez’s daughter Victoria was the inspiration for her company Mi Legasi

Mi Legasi is Janny’s legacy, which she dedicates as tribute to her immigrant parents and to her daughter Victoria as a reminder that anything can be accomplished through hard work and dedication.

Janny credits her father for much of her spirit and dedication. “He is my hero,” she says. The youngest of many siblings, her father grew up poor on a coffee farm in Colombia. “He had dreams of flying and seeing the world. Without any formal education and lots of hard work, sweat, and determination, my father accomplished this.” It is this dedication and example that has influenced Janny to strive for her own dreams.

Janny Perez as  Latina entrepreneur

Latino traditions

Bilingual books included in the subscription box

As a Latina entrepreneur, she believes her biggest strengths to be her tenacity, creativity, and generosity.

“Tenacity is not just going after your dream, but taking action to get there,” Janny explains. “It’s waking up early or working late while the rest of the world sleeps. It’s the ability to face rejection with optimism because you know something bigger will come.”

Her creativity helps her in many aspects of her business, from design and product creation to photography and social media posts. Lastly, her generosity allows her to use her business platform to help others from sending Latina moms suffering due to illness a Mi Legasi kindness package to donating to impoverished children in Latin America.

She believes the key to facing all obstacles and challenges is to be headstrong and disciplined. “If you let fear drive you, you won’t go far.” She has three key mottos to staying strong. First is to trust in your faith, whatever that may be– “God, the universe or your gut. It’s that spark inside you that keeps you pushing forward.” Second is to be flexible and open to change. And last is to have patience. All things take time.

Never be afraid to speak up

Latino traditions

The box also includes products for mom.

To Latinas looking to dive into their own business ventures or achieve success in their careers Janny says, “Never be afraid to speak up and don’t settle just because it’s the status quo….As Latinas we are afraid. Our culture has at times limited our beliefs that we can. We are the lowest paid of minorities. We need to break the cycle.”

Overall, Janny advises to stay determined and know the realities of starting a business. “Know that you will likely lose money, work day and night, make lots of sacrifices, worry, and that the road is curved and unpredictable but what you learn and the connections you make are far greater than you’d expect. Know that you can and you will, just one day at a time!”

On her struggles as a business owner Janny says, “Being a ‘mompreneur’ has been quite challenging. It’s not a regular 9 to 5 job so you don’t really have days off, but it’s flexible.”

Janny believes in the importance of creating one’s own legacy and following one’s dreams no matter the obstacles. All things are possible with hard work, patience, and tenacity. Her business came from her motherhood and so Janny hopes that Mi Legasi can help and inspire other Latina moms to create their own legacies with their children.  

 

Latino traditions