Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Julissa Prado dreamt of creating her own brand at the youthful age of fifteen. After attending college, obtaining her masters, then trying out Corporate America, the Latina powerhouse decided to launch Rizos Curls. With each sale, she quickly learned the need in the market for products that spoke to her Latina sisters and their community. As a proud beauty entrepreneur, she used social media to capture the true essence of what it’s like being an Afro-Latina embracing her texture. Without skipping a beat, Julissa created a global curly hair community where women come together to share their hair-spiration, woes and favorite DIY remedies. Get ready to be inspired as you read and find out more on Julissa’s journey, the Rizos Curls Presents The Latina Ladder tour and so much more.
CEO & Founder of Rizos Curls Julissa Prado
HOLA: When you started Rizos Curls what advice would you give to your younger self?
Julissa: Just go for it girl! And learn, learn, learn along the way. Reach out to your community and other entrepreneurs and let your heart and your vision lead the way. On the road to building Rizos Curls, I knew I wanted to launch this line since I was 15 years old. I had to go through college, then my masters, then Corporate America, until I finally managed to launch Rizos Curls.
A loyal client shows off her Rizos Curls results
What has been your best selling product thus far and why?
Hydrating Shampoo, $20, Deep Conditioner, $20, and Curl Defining Cream, $22) and within the year added our fourth, which is the Refresh & Detangle Spray, $20. The best selling product is actually our bundle, The Complete Rizos Curls 4-Step Bundle, $70 because you need all four for the wash-and-go routine. First, you wash, condition, detangle and then style the curls. What I tell people is that it is really important to use products with good, quality ingredients that will treat and hydrate your hair. Some people think they can just buy a nice styling product, and then buy a cheaper shampoo. Ultimately, that shampoo may be drying out their hair or not giving the care they need. Having beautiful and healthy looking curls is not just about styling, but about care and repair. That’s why I call it a naturally curly hair journey. Products with good ingredients like Rizos Curls, which formula includes aloe vera, coconut oil, shea butter, sunflower oil, and moringa oil, and is sulfate-free, silicone-free and paraben-free, do that over time.
The Hydrating Shampoo, Deep Conditioner, and Curl Defining Cream and the Refresh & Detangle Spray
You have reached so many Latinas and women throughout the world (shipment reaching 52 countries) what has been the most rewarding experience thus far?
Rizos Curls has shipped to over 57 countries, and we have big followings from the United States to India, Australia, Europe and Latin America. So many places I never expected, but I found that a lot of the pain points I had with treating curly hair, people shared all over the world. It’s a lot about the care and education. The most rewarding has been the ability to be a trailblazer in the naturally curly hair movement happening right now and combating stigmas about curly hair and “pelo malo.” I grew up in a time where having curly hair was a bad thing and everyone wanted straight hair, no matter the damage to their hair. Now, we’re at the cusp of a movement where people are embracing their natural hair textures and learning how to style and treat it and looking beautiful and confident in their curly hair.
Julissa is empowering Latinas of all ages to embrace their natural hair one product at a time
Tell us about the Rizos Curls The Latina Ladder National Tour you are about to embark on?
The Rizos Curls Presents The Latina Ladder Tour is a multi-city national tour happening this summer with stops in Miami, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, and New York City. We host a special panel with Latina entrepreneurs to share business insights and empower the next generation of Latina entrepreneurs. The events are all FREE and we award a $500 scholarship in each city to a local college student. It’s about what I call the 3 C's – Curls, Community, Culture.
The Rizos Curls Presents The Latina Ladder Tour will stop in Miami, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, and New York City this summer
The Latina Ladder Tour is one of the magic moments that really reminds me this is the reason why I’m really doing all this. I cannot tell you, nor do I think you can really understand unless you are there, the magic that there is from a community of Latinas coming together.
The natural hair movement is something that is thankfully here to stay, what does that mean for you as a Latina?
For me, it is interesting because it’s hard to see curly hair as just another hair trend because it’s about identity. That’s what we’re finding with the natural hair movement, it’s about people embracing not only their naturally curly hair but who they are. I say this over and over again, but learning to love my curly hair was a big part of learning to love myself. As a Latina, that’s very important because it’s tied to my identity and my heritage. I have curly hair because of my Latina and Afro-Latina roots. It’s the same for so many people all over the world, from all different backgrounds.
What advice do you have for future women who want to explore beauty entrepreneurship?
Pursue your passion! You will never have all the answers, but you can reach out to the resources around you and to your community for guidance, and they will help propel you forward. Start small if you need to, and grow from there. I saved my money for over five years before launching Rizos Curls and launched 100% self-funded. You don’t need a round of venture capital to get started and excel in your space. Ultimately, staying true to yourself and your vision is what will allow you to connect with your customers, build loyalty and ensure your success.
Who is your hair inspiration?
Wow, huge question! I cannot pinpoint one person because I am constantly meeting curly girls and loving their hair! I get inspiration from all the people I meet or people just walking down the street.
Julissa and curly hair crew celebrate Rizos Curls in San Juan, Puerto Rico
You have color in your hair which is sometimes seen as a no-no in the curly hair community. What tips or advice do you have for those who have natural texture but also want to add pops of color like you?
OMG, I was just talking about it! Yes, it’s a hard one, and honestly, it is different for each person. I try to take extremely good care of my hair and always look out for hair damage. I use Rizos Curls, which contain good quality and natural ingredients, so they really help to nurture, hydrate and repair my hair over time. I’ll dye my hair from time to time, but I’ll also lay off from dying for long periods of time. It’s about being good to your hair and also understanding how much it can handle.
Here at HOLA!, we believe in highlighting those breaking boundaries and creating change in the beauty industry. History shows Latinas that we were and still are pioneers when it comes to the business of belleza, which is why we’re spotlighting them with our weekly segment of #HOLAGlamGetters. They’re born beauty entrepreneurs, unapologetic and fabulous. They’ve used their passion for beauty to fuel their journey to success. But, ever wonder how they got there? In a world where one’s highlight reel is on replay only showcasing the glitz and glam of creating a business, we’re keeping it real with our glam-star.