Currently, Latinx folks are opening more small businesses than any other ethnic group in the U.S. The wellness and lifestyle industries are no exception. According to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, Latinx-owned businesses account for approximately 4 percent of the U.S.’s business revenues—although you wouldn’t know this from the media’s representation of Latinx people.
Over the last few years, I've made a more conscious effort to invest my dollar in my community. Whether you’re looking for accessories, apparel, candles, makeup, or plants, we’ve got you covered. Support Latinx communities by shopping 15 Latinx-owned businesses below.
Angel Merino (aka Mac Daddy) is that influencer. He has more than one million followers on his makeup-centric Instagram and doesn’t miss a beat (get it?). Merino is the founder and CEO of Artist Couture, which he established to “inspire self-expression and celebrate individuality through makeup artistry.” Artist Couture is more than a brand—it’s a community of bold and fearless “glow-getters,” who don’t merely exist in a toxically macho culture, they defy and thrive in it.
My mom’s younger brother calls her bruja, which is Spanish for “witch,” because of her borderline-supernatural intuition. Esthetician Leah Guerrero harnessed her inner bruja to create a product that works wonders for your complexion. Guerrero founded Brujita Skincare in 2017 after spending times in the vibrant mercados (markets) of Mexico City. Since then, she has focused on creating products that are accessible to all. The cherry on top? Brujita Skincare’s ingredients are sustainable, raw, organic, and unrefined.
Let me be unequivocal: Systemic racism and colorism are rampant in Latinx communities. Unfortunately, curly hair—especially tighter coils—are commonly referred to as pelo malo, which is Spanish for “bad hair.” Hause of Curls, founded by Dominican-American stylist and entrepreneur Sherly Tavarez, turns pelo malo on its head and asks: Pelo malo where? Tavarez “turned negative words about natural hair into empowerment statements on t-shirts” and grew Hause of Curls to now offer a Curlfriend Collection Box, which includes goodies like satin scrunchies and hair pins.
Luna Magic is an indie beauty and lifestyle brand founded by two Afro-Latina, Dominican-American sisters: Mabel and Shaira Frías. Mabel paired her 10 years’ experience in digital strategy with Shaira’s experience as a professional makeup artist to create something #ParaLaCultura—the official hashtag of LUNA MAGIC, which means “for the culture.” The Los Angeles-based brand champions high-performance cosmetics, diversity, and inclusivity and is inspired by the Caribbean, Latin America, Los Angeles, and New York City.
Enid&Co. is a Connecticut-based jewelry brand founded and operated by a Puerto Rican mother-daughter duo, Amanda and Lydia Enid. According to their site, each item is handcrafted with "mucho amor, risas y un chin de sazón,” which is Spanish for “much love, laughter and a lot of flavor.” Enid&Co’s mission is to encourage women of all ages, ethnicities, sizes, and social classes to feel confident in their skin all while offering amazing jewelry at an affordable price.
Texas-based Jen Zeano Designs (JZD) is my go-to for when I need a shirt (or earrings or a pin or stickers) that will remind people Latinas are not a force to be reckoned with. Led by a fearless Mexicana and self-proclaimed flower child, JZD creates designs that make us feel represented. JZD also walks the empowerment walk and has a section called Latinas Supporting Latinas, where buyers can shop other Latina-owned businesses.
As a Valley girl who’s all about community, I had to support the Latinx folks building businesses here. One of my favorite things to happen in 2020—and I can count all the good things on one hand—is the grand opening of Simple Threads in Valley Village. Three months ago, go-getter April Diaz decided to share her impeccable style via her very own boutique. The Simple Threads site is under construction, but you can shop on their Instagram while they officially launch.
Brands like Yo Soy AfroLatina are paramount to accurate and well-rounded Latinx representation. Founded by Bianca Kathryn, who didn’t grow up around people who shared her rich complexion, Yo Soy AfroLatina has three main goals: “To shed light on the beauty and the magnitude of Afro-Latinas, to create a space where we are acknowledged, and to celebrate our beautiful, diverse culture.” Product by product, Yo Soy AfroLatina celebrates and empowers Black women within the Latinx community.
Afro-Latina Dawn Marie West, the founder and creative director of La Botica (pronounced LA-BOH-TEE-KA), really went off when she started this brand. She launched La Botica as her own sanctuary and has grown it to take on its own identity as a “chill space” and a collection of sustainable luxury pieces. According to their site, La Botica develops a range of sustainable luxury products, including candles and accessories. One of my favorite candle scents is Palo Santo, which has been used across Latin America for its healing properties.
The brainchild of Julissa Peña, Morena Apothecary is a Bronx-based, Afro-Latina-owned wellness and beauty shop that boasts made-to-order products like honey face masks, sugar scrubs, and facial serums. Their wellness products include bath mixes, candles, and an elderberry-burdock syrup for an immune boost. (According to an Instagram post, the syrup was formulated with children in mind.) Morena Apothecary doesn’t have a website at the moment, but you can DM the business account on Instagram to place your order.
Like JZD is my go-to for empowering apparel, Valley Girl Apothecary is my go-to for candles that smell so good they make me feel good. Founded by Salvadoran-American Michelle Alvarado, Valley Girl Apothecary offers hand-poured candles inspired by the sights and sounds of my beloved San Fernando Valley. (I told you, I’m a bona-fide Valley girl.) Some of Valley Girl Apothecary’s most popular scents include No. 4 — Ventura Blvd. and No. 818 — 4:20 in the Valley. Before you ask yourself, yes: That does smell the way you think it’d smell.
This might just be your next favorite intention candle shop. XolyLuna Herbalist masterfully blends cultural tradition with science and herbalism. A small-batch apothecary headquartered in Hawthorne, XolyLuna started as a need for personal pain relief for Tara Torres. Today, the apothecary has a few thousand Instagram followers and even more loyal customers. XolyLuna’s goal is to heal the Latinx community and provide a safe space where people can find ways to heal themselves. (Their anxiety tincture is amazing and almost always sold out.)
This cute pop-up shop near Boyle Heights is taking Los Angeles by storm. Founder and plant parent Andi Xoch was inspired by Black with Plants and launched Latinx with Plants in March 2019. According to their site, Latinx with Plants “was mostly dedicated to sharing fun memes, plant inspo, and plant parent goals,” but it has grown to something much bigger. Latinx with Plants aims to put a plant in the hands of community members, but it’s also socially conscious and has four priorities: education, community, Indigenous sovereignty, and Black liberation.
If Mac Daddy is that beauty influencer, then I have to say Tía Planta is that plant influencer—she has thousands of followers and more than 200 plant babies. You can catch Tía Planta in Jersey, selling plants to the many people who clear her pop-up inventory and educating folks about how to care for their plants. We all need a tía that cares for us like Tía Planta cares for her plant babies. If you’re on the East Coast and spot Tía Planta, say, “Hey, Tía Planta!”
Are you really living your best life if you don’t have any (real) plants? Debatable. Luckily, there’s no shortage of Latinx-owned plant shops—and Valley Girl Gardens is one of my absolute favorites. (Did you think I was kidding about uplifting the Valley? Come on, now.) Established in 2017, Valley Girl Gardens provides pop-ups for the community to purchase plants, planters, handmade soaps, and crystals. Mark your calendars: Their next pop-up, which will be safe and socially distant, is on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.