She Quit Her Job to Chase Her Dreams, Now She's Building A Curl Empire
Julissa Prado was 15 years old when she began investing in her dream. Today, she is the proud founder of Rizos Curls, a haircare line designed for women with all curl types. We sat down with her to learn what steps she took before she solely focused on Rizos Curls, and how she's managed to make her launch so successful.
Julissa’s parents knew from early on that their little girl would be a force to be reckoned with. She was opinionated and determined from the start, which is why she had enough foresight not only to dream but also to pursue Rizos Curls with relentless passion. See, at a time when most teenagers are starting to understand the world around them, Julissa had enough ambition to put away half the money she made as a server at her family’s restaurant to save for her future business. But as outspoken as little Julissa was, she kept Rizos Curls secret for over seven years. That's until she confided in her brother, the person she trusted the most and her best friend since childhood.
Talking to her brother was all Julissa needed to put her dreams into action. She spent four years perfecting the formula for Rizos Curls, all while cultivating a promising career as a marketer at Nestlé.
It was only six months ago that Julissa launched The Rizos Curls System Trio which includes a hydrating shampoo, a deep conditioner, and a curl defining cream. Inspired by her grandmother, Julissa uses aloe vera, coconut oil, shea butter, moringa oil, and sunflower oil in her products to promote hair growth, scalp health, and control frizz. The products have been making waves in the natural hair community and are a major hit among girls looking for a natural product free of sulfates, silicones, and parabens.
Leaving the comfort of a steady paycheck in pursuit of a dream is risky, and one of the most challenging decisions entrepreneurs have to make. Julissa shared with us what helped her make this decision and which tools and resources helped ease her transition.
At what point did you decide to leave your job and pursue rizos curls full time?
I took a while to make that decision, but one day I woke up with this urge to rip off the Band-Aid and decided to turn in my letter of resignation. The rest is history.
How did you prepare for such a big decision?
I had the benefit of working for a major consumer packaged goods company, so I spent the last few months of my job learning and absorbing information. I also spent that time saving as much money as I could to prepare for the next move. I wanted to make sure I could support myself for at least three months without having to touch a penny from my Rizos Curls savings. Today, I re-invest all the money I make on “Rizos” back into the company. My goal is to keep building and growing the brand.
What advice do you have for women struggling with the decision to pursue their passion full time?
For everyone struggling with this decision, know that our bodies have their own clock. It’s important to trust your own process, so take that leap when your heart and mind give you the signal.
Rizos Curls is making a splash in the natural hair community. How did you manage to do that?
I put a lot of energy into my PR, mainly because I knew I had something special and I wanted to share it with the world. Before my launch last September, I reached out to dozens of relevant sites. I started off by sending ten PR pitches a week and then tapered off to about ten a month. Today, many publishers are reaching out to me, which has made it easy to share my story with the world.
What advice would you give women looking to follow in your footsteps?
Anyone who’s just starting out should use all the resources around them. One of those primary resources is people. I’m a huge fan of collaborations, and I’m lucky to have found other Latina-owned businesses in LA with whom to build a community. For example, I’ve done collaborations with Shop Latinx, an online database of Latinx companies and editorial content, as well as Hija De Tu Madre, a shop that sells fashionable statement jackets representing Latinx culture. We get together in what we like to call our “Las Jefas” Lunches where we share each other’s’ challenges and offer helpful advice. By collaborating with like-minded business, you can avoid recreating the wheel and also be a resource for other entrepreneurs.
What’s next for Rizos Curls?
We’ve been very successful with the launch of our shampoo, conditioner and curl cream, so much that we’re excited to launch three new products in the next few months. We’re introducing a refresher spray, a leave-in moisturizer, and a gel- all made with natural ingredients and free of sulfates, silicones, and parabens.
You can find out more about Rizos Curls by visiting rizoscurls.com.
Words by Nidia Serrano
Images by Rizos Curls