This month (and really all year long) we’re celebrating Latinas who’ve made history in all industries especially as business owners and entrepreneurs. Latinas represent 40 percent of all Latinx business owners and the number of Latina-led employer firms has grown 20 percent within the last five-year period of data available, according to the 2020 State of Latino entrepreneurship report. Female entrepreneurs like Carolina Herrera have been making history in male-dominated industries and inspiring other Latinas to follow their dreams. There’s no shortage of amazingly successful Latinas in the business world and we’ve rounded up eight Latina entrepreneurs who’ve made history in their respective industries.
Rea Ann Silva
Rea Ann Silva is the founder and inventor of Beautyblender, a makeup sponge that’s famous for its conical shape that makes applying makeup so much easier and effective. When asked what her key to success is, CEO and makeup artist Rea Ann Silva told Insider: “I think I’m successful at Beautyblender because I have a passion for it.” Silva was named one of America’s most successful women entrepreneurs by the National Museum of American History in 2021.
Rebecca Alvarez Story
Rebecca Alvarez Story is an entrepreneur, sexologist, and leader in the wellness industry as the founder of Bloomi, a company that creates clean intimate care products. Her brand offers sexual health knowledge based around menstruation, pleasure, and pregnancy. The company created the FIRST “clean standard” in the industry with ingredient transparency so that consumers can understand the importance of knowing what intimate products are made of and how they can affect the body.
Catalina Gaete-Bentz is a Chilean entrepreneur who launched Catan Pisco in 2018 which became the first American pisco brand in the U.S., and she became the first female-owner of a pisco company in the history of Chile. The spirit is made with 100 percent grapes and it can only legally be made in Peru and Chile so her feat is that much more impressive. The website describes pisco as “if Vodka and Tequila had a baby” and the company also dedicates one percent of each bottle purchases to fighting water scarcity in Chile.
Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera is the creator behind her global brand, House of Herrera, and joined the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame in 1980. Her fashion line is well respected in the industry, and although she had no experience in fashion before her first runway show in 1981, she has achieved a tremendous amount of success in women and men’s fashion and fragrances.
Julissa Prado founded Rizos Curls, a clean and cruelty-free curly haircare brand that also offers curly hair care education and celebrates natural rizos. Rizos Curls became the first Latina-owned curly hair care brand sold at Ulta stores after it also became available in Target stores nationwide. It’s also the first Mexican owned curly haircare line available at Sally’s Beauty in Mexico. The brand recently collaborated with Mexican singer Thalia on a VIP box featuring their latest products including a scalp scrub, hair oil, and repair mask.
Mexican Linda Franco is the CEO and co-founder of Machina and in 2017 she was recognized at the Innovators Under 35 Summit for designing high-tech jackets that turn your body into an interface for mobile apps. The jacket, dubbed OBE (out of body experience). The brand is also known for the MIDI Jacket, out in 2014, which creates music using sensors that pick up body movements.
Geisha Williams, the first Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company, told TIME magazine that she’s “an immigrant who came to this country without being able to speak English and somehow became the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.” She was born in Cuba where her father was a political prisoner and they later moved to the U.S. She went on to graduate from University of Miami with a degree in engineering and went on to make history in the male-dominated world of engineering.
Jessica Alba is a powerhouse in the clean beauty and baby care industry. The actress and businesswoman co-founded The Honest Company in 2011 and by 2015 it had a valuation of $1 billion – talk about jefa moves! After achieving success with diapers and baby products, she later expanded the business to sell skin care, bath, and beauty products. She is one of the first Latinas to create a non-toxic household goods company that is now worth over $2 billion.