Latina-owned beauty brand Alamar Cosmetics, founded by Cuban American Gabriela Trujillo, launched its largest collection yet in collaboration with Disney’s Encanto and it all started with a DM. Trujillo founded Alamar — named after the barrio in Havana where she was born — in 2018 after working as an established makeup artist. The brand is known for the desnudeas glosses and also sells eye palettes, brushes, and, bronzer and previously partnered with subscription beauty box company, BoxyCharm. But this opportunity is their biggest collab to date and it all started with a DM on Instagram from a Disney executive who is a fan of the brand.
Trujillo was hesitant at first considering it was a DM but after some research they found she was legit and the excitement set in. “I’m in, 1,000 percent. But [I said], just so you guys know, we’re a smaller brand, we’re independent,” Trujillo tells HipLatina of that initial communication with Disney. “They said, ‘we’ll make it work, what do you want to do?’ And they let me lead the way.”
The Alamar collaboration marks Disney’s first time collaborating with an independent Latina-owned business
“As soon as I learned about Alamar Cosmetics I felt that with the right opportunity we could create something really special together. Gabriela created her brand with women of color and Latinx women top of mind. You can see that in each product that is so thoughtfully created. I knew she’d be able to bring Encanto to life in such a fun way with vibrant colors and beautiful textures we’re all used to seeing in her collections,” Jan Coleman, VP, Marketing Partnerships, Promo & Multicultural tells HipLatina.
We’ve been celebrating the upcoming release of Disney’s Encanto for about a year in anticipation of seeing another film dedicated to our culture. Following in the footsteps of the beloved Coco is no easy feat but this film has an all-star Latinx cast including Stephanie Beatriz and Diane Guerrero and Lin-Manuel Miranda helming the soundtrack. The magical film takes place in Colombia and centers on the Madrigals, a magical family in danger of losing their powers. The vivid and bright colors of the film were the basis for Alamar’s Encanto collection designed by Trujillo and her team. As we waited for the film’s release following the announcement in December of last year, Trujillo was hard at work pulling color schemes from the footage itself to develop the eye palette.
Trujillo shared with HipLatina the process of getting on Zoom calls with her designer where they’d review the film and to find colors and brainstorm which colors complemented each other for “practical, usable” palette. She enthusiastically shares how the gold was inspired by the butterflies, emerald green mimicked the door seen in the poster, and a pink that is the exact same shades as the bougainvillea flowers prominent throughout the film. The collection features packaging also inspired by the film and Trujillo shares that she was only given one directive from Disney: “They said we want the movie to come alive through makeup. And that was pretty much all the direction that they gave us.”
Trujillo and her team sat through a four hour presentation from Disney featuring the filmmakers going to Colombia highlighting the elements they were inspired by. This fed their creative juices in creating all 13 pieces in the collection which, like the movie itself, is an ode to the beauty and culture of Colombia. From native flowers and animals, the team incorporated these elements in the packaging itself with a clear gloss for a refined design on products like the eye palette. “Everything is super meaningful and intentional to kind of bring you back into the magic that you saw on screen.”
She and her team worked overtime to fine-tune every detail of the collection, a massive undertaking for a small team that she says has completely changed their company. They created products new to the brand and that challenging experience resulted in her favorite product of the collection precisely because of its newness. While every other product was built off their existing formulas, the “Spread Your Wings” liquid liners are a new product for Alamar so the process to develop took longer and it was one of the last items to be finalized. But that doesn’t make it the most challenging, that product was the “Flex Alert” highlighter because of its holographic shade. She had a vision of a shade that looks different in different lighting and the endeavor was lengthy, complicated but worth it and one she would like to share the evolution of down the line.
The entire project was overwhelming for Trujillo from the start but it was her mom, the “OG Jefa” that inspired her to not give into the doubts she had as a small-business owner. “I don’t even know if I can develop something this large, if I have the funds to do so, I don’t even know if I have the bandwidth,” Trujillo says. “She said ‘You say yes. And then you figure it out'”.
“If this opportunity came for me, it’s because it’s meant for me, and I’m going to be able to deliver and I knew that was my mission. I just put my blinders on and I got to work on it. But 100 percent, I doubted myself so many times,” she added.
This jefa has no plans to slow down, instead she’s continues to dream big with hopes of an Alamar skincare line and expanding into mascaras for the first time. The collection is beyond an isolated project for her and she’s forever changed from the experience. The collection, like the film, is an homage to Colombia, family, and the inner magic that comes from self love and one of the film’s characters, Isabela (voiced by Diane Guerrero), stood out to Trujillo.
“Her family has a really high expectation of her and I feel like that’s something I can kind of resonate [with],” she says, sharing that people see her and think it’s all glamour but behind the scenes it’s a different story.
That the film resonated with Trujillo speaks to the work Disney put in to make an authentic movie with a mission to represent our cultura. Alamar shares that mission and that’s actually part of the reason Disney wanted to work with her.
“With our protagonist being a young Latina woman named Maribel, we wanted to work with a brand that would truly understand Maribel’s journey of finding her worth and value in her family and life. It made perfect sense for us to work with Alamar Cosmetics,” Coleman says. “This was our opportunity to help amplify a brand that is focused on empowering the Latinx community. And we knew that Alamar would create something so beautiful and that would truly connect with the community.”
The 13-piece Encanto collection launches Nov. 18 ahead of the film’s release on Nov 24.
“It was 100 percent worth it and to any jefa out there that might be thinking ‘I don’t know if I’d be able to do it,’ ou 100 percent can do this,” she says. “It’ll show you what you’re made of and you’d be shocked at what you can actually take on and do yourself.”