Julissa Prado is the founder of Rizos Curls, a company that encompasses what she calls the 3 C’s — curls, community, and culture. Growing up, she went through many phases with her curly hair. She hid it in a tight ponytail, sprayed it stiff, and even straightened it with a clothes iron. She saved her money to buy every curl product she found, but nothing ever worked.
She then spent years creating the perfect product that would celebrate all curl types, from her aunt’s coily strands to her sister’s loose waves. Rizos Curls is her formula for defined, bouncy, shiny, frizz-free, soft, voluminous curls.
Congratulations on being chosen as one of our LatinX of Impact this year. How do you hope to continue to create impact in our community?
Rizos Curls is a trifecta of my products, my Latino culture and the local community. Whatever I do with the brand, those three things are incorporated. Leaving an impact for my current community and our future generation is at the center of what I do.
I want to continue building momentum so that I can create opportunities for my Rizos Reinas to connect and empower one another. For example, earlier this year, we had a successful event series called The Latina Ladder. We hosted a special panel in which Latina entrepreneurs shared business insights to empower the next generation of Latina entrepreneurs in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Puerto Rico.
The Latina Ladder really left an impact on all the women who attended. Our premise was that when one Latina rises, we have to pull up the next one to grow. As Latinas, we don’t often hear this sort of message, so it really impacted the community. We must remember the importance of collaboration versus competition.
It is vital to see real women like us being represented in media and inspiring younger generations. What advice can you give a woman who doubts her power?
To anyone doubting their own power, I would say just go for it, what- ever it is. Pursue your passion! You will never have all the answers, but you can reach out to resources around you and to your community for guidance, and they will help propel you forward. For example, if you want to start a business, start small if you need to, and grow from there. I saved for over five years before launching Rizos Curls, and launched 100% self-funded. I didn’t have all the answers then and I still don’t, but I’m figuring it out as I go along.
Was there a key moment for you when you finally decided to own your power?
Owning your power and being comfortable taking up space is a constant process that never ends. Even to this day, there are many spaces where I feel intimidated. Sometimes I won’t feel accomplished enough, or I’ll just feel insecure. It’s normal to not always feel at your most powerful. I’m very comfortable recognizing these moments and allowing myself to feel. When I’m ready, I give myself a pep talk to remind myself that I DO belong, and am worthy of everything my heart desires. These pep talks have taught me that the universe will create a reality out of what you convince your mind to believe.
What are you looking forward to in 2020?
In 2020, I would love to expand with retail distribution for the brand in-stores, not only domestically, but internationally. You would not believe the amount of re- quests I receive every day from customers asking for the product to be sold in stores near them, whether it be in California, Puerto Rico or the Netherlands. My goal is to satisfy their requests and build a sustainable business with longevity. Ultimately, I look forward to reaching as many of our Rizos Reinas as possible.
What brings you ALEGRIA?
Being with my family and being able to do work that I’m passionate about every day.
What is a quote that you love?
“When someone shows you their true colors, simply add their paint to your portrait of life and move on” and “Better than I was, worse than I’m gonna be.”