What items are on the desks of some of the most successful jefas that help them manage their workload and stay motivated? On Jefa’s Desk readers get a glimpse of what the desks of entrepreneurs, business owners, and all-around successful Latinas look like.
Margarita Arriagada is a first-generation Peruvian American is known as the “Godmother of Beauty” and it’s clear from her resume why this jefa in beauty has earned the nickname. Margarita served as the Chief Merchant of Sephora USA before founding Valdé Beauty in 2020 at the age of 67. The brand began as an homage to her mother who fled to the U.S. as a single mom from Peru and worked three jobs, never leaving home without her lipstick. The brand currently consists of a refillable lip collection featuring pigmented shades with clean, cruelty-free, and vegan formulas. Each lipstick and balm fits interchangeably into a Valdé Armor own so you can customize each with your choice of Armor, formula, shade, and engraving.
The name was inspired by my her mother’s last name: Valdelomar. She explains that Valdelomar is a prominent name in her country as her mother’s uncle, Abraham Valdelomar was a narrator, poet, journalist considered the founder of the avant garde style in Peru. She wanted to pay homage to my Latin roots and specifically my mother’s side. The name Valdelomar was too long for a brand name and when looking through the Latin dictionary, I noticed the word Valdé which is the translation for “very,” a word that places emphasis on the word that follows. I thought it was very apropos to the fact that I wanted to emphasize women, hence the brand’s tagline: Very You, and lips.
Here she’s giving HipLatina a look at her desk and describes her office as minimalist and white because it helps her think clearly. Read on to discover some of the most meaningful and important items on this jefa’s desk.
“Because they are the core center of the brand,” she tells HipLatina. The armor is where the refillable lipstick is stored and it’s quite literally designed like armor.
Digital Armor Artwork
She had this custom made with the “V” in the center as an ode to the armor of the lipstick.
These books are of women who inspire me with their art and their stories and among them are the following three that have meaning to her. The Atlas of Beauty by Mihaela Noroc: This photographer has traveled around the world taking photos of everyday women. It shows the diversity culturally but also generally. When you are done experiencing this book, you cannot help to realize how beautiful all the women are.
This is a north star reminder for me of what inclusivity and real beauty is. And this is what should be celebrated more in our industry.
200 Women by Geoff Blackwell & Ruth Hobday: This is a collection of interviews of 200 women around the world with five simple questions. Their answers reveal their unique characteristics through their unique stories. And it is nothing short of amazingly inspiring. It is these characteristics resulting from this interview that influenced me to name my shades on similar values. I must have read this book over and over because it underscored what I have always believed, there are no ordinary women. We all have the potential and gifts to be extraordinary.
In The Company of Women by Grace Bonney: Inspiration and Advice from +100 Makers, Artists and Entrepreneurs. The best wisdom nuggets in a single book on business, life, and everything in between from women.
Photo of my mom
This is a photo of my Mom who inspired Valdé. It reflects how much fun I had with her. This is how I want to remember her. The photo was taken in Cabo San Lucas where I frequently took my Mom to vacation. When I was young, my mother would take me to Acapulco. So sun and beach was a common love. What I love about this photo is how natural it is, it shows how happy we are with each other. It’s organic, spontaneous, it reflects our true relationship. And this is how I want to remember us. It is the only family photograph I have in my office because she is the inspiration behind the creation of Valdé. She loved wearing lipstick. It was armor to her. And as I go about my day, I will look at this photo and ask myself, what would my Mom do at this moment in time?
While at Lladró [a high-end decor company in Spain], I had the responsibility over Product Development and had the privilege of working with sculptors that had been part of the company’s success 50 years prior. I was tasked to influence it’s evolution. The company created figurative sculptures that often were literal and large in size. People adored these sculptures but they were not appealing to a younger generation. To influence a generation of sculptors, a family owned company made up of multiple members to evolve and take a different direction proved to be a greater challenge than I imagined.
I had a specific vision that this project needed to be more allegorical, properly proportioned in size while retaining the emotional attachment that was so important to collectors. It took many years to be made. In the end, this Humanitas (Humanities) collection for me ended up being surprising and innovative. It evoked a dream-like world of longings and desires of humankind, like the flow of life, the quest and discovery of reason, emotions and dreams. I was so pleased with the execution, that I resigned shortly after its launch as I had felt I had accomplished leaving an example behind of what the future could look like for the company that took the better part of my trajectory there.
Be The Wonder Woman You Can Be: The Adventures of Diva, Viva and Fifa by Diane von Furstenberg
When I was a young buyer in the fashion industry I launched the now infamous Diane Von Furstenberg [brand]. I oversaw the launch of the iconic wrap dress [the brand’s signature style]. Diane epitomizes the Valdé woman. Strong and resilient with conviction, while embracing all her femininity. To this day she is a force as she continues to inspire many women. She dedicated this book to me.
The Lipstick Champagne Container
This was a discovery on Duty Free from one of my foreign travels. It was a limited edition set from the brand: Piper-Heidsieck. Needless to say, I stocked up. Most people that know me closely know that two of my favorite indulgences in life are lipstick and champagne. How perfect is this?
Thank You card from Industry Professional
Robin Burns-McNeill is a veteran industry icon. She has built some of the most successful beauty brands like Christian Louboutin and Henry Rose in recent years. Receiving an acknowledgement from this woman with so much wisdom and experience of the Valdé product being a work of art, considering how high her bar is, it’s like being a new fashion brand and getting a note from Anna Wintour. It means the world to me.