Julissa Prado created Rizos Curls para la cultura to solve her curl problems. Prado created a safe place for Latinx customers, encouraging them to embrace their natural curls. Prado combined her passion for curl education and styling to create a unique brand that was not found in a crowded market. Prado created a brand that was grounded in self-celebration, community building, and encouraged others to do the same. Prado talks about her journey from being a self-funded entrepreneur to building her family’s beauty brand and why culture is still at the heart of her business.
How did Rizos Curls start?
My personal journey with curls inspired me to create Rizos Curls. My curls needed the definition that no product on the market could provide. I promised myself that I would one day create the best product for curly-haired individuals like me. I searched for the perfect formula for years. I was looking for a product that would work with all types of curls, from my sister’s wavy waves to my tia’s curly strands. I would share my creations with curly women and I would be asked how I style my hair.
Because I was willing to help them with their hair, I made many new friends. After I was able to professionally create my formula, Rizos Curls was born. All those women were my first customers.
Was the inspiration for the brand name?
I wanted the name to sound like me. Rizos is “curls”, so we’re calling it “Curls Curls.” It is a playful combination between the English and Spanish words for curls. This is to celebrate the new-age Latina’s preferred language, Spanglish. It is a nod to first-generation Americans who spoke Spanish at home and English in public. It’s how it speaks and I wanted to honor the dualistic lifestyle of many people.
What does your Latinx heritage have to do with your brand?
My culture is the core of the brand. It informs everything we do, from how we speak to our customers, how we create content, and how we formulate products. Growing up, I was taught that the earth has many health benefits. I was focused on finding the best ingredients and creating formulas that would moisturize, define, enhance, and improve all types of curls and promote long-term hair health.
Which mentors or professional influencers did you seek out when building your brand?
My family and my community are the reason I am successful. To get to this country, my father had to crawl through a sewer. Making him proud of his culture and family is what motivates me the most. My family is my team and I am constantly amazed at what they can accomplish. We are a family that works hard and has talent. This is what has made us a successful brand. My team was mainly family when we launched. We’ve seen more people join our team since then and they quickly feel like family.
There are many brands in the curly hair market. What sets Rizos apart from its competitors?
Apart from being a brand that is mission-based and focuses on the three Cs: Curls community and culture, what really sets us apart from other brands is our ability to develop and manufacture high quality clean products. To protect my margins, I won’t make products that contain questionable ingredients. Instead, I will focus on transparency and education for my customers. To empower our customers, we created a complete ingredients glossary. This is not the norm in haircare.
Recently, you released a new line of styling tools that includes various products and tools. What are your biggest misconceptions regarding styling curly hair, and what can you do to correct them?
The biggest misconception about styling curly hair? It is not difficult. It’s just different. It’s simple to style your curls once you know what type of porosity and curl you have. We call this group the “undercover curlies” because they are often the most visible. These women are known for having curly hair, but they have always straightened their hair due to cultural norms. Style your hair curly or straight. My stylist and I collaborated to create an educational video series on “Straight Hair Tendencies”. It’s much easier to get the results you desire once you have learned the techniques.
What does Rizos do to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month in Mexico?
Every day is Latinx Heritage Month for Rizos Curls. This month is important as it invites non-Latinx individuals to support us and create space. It is great to see all the companies using their platforms for Latinx voices and stories. My roots are something I’m proud of. Family and culture are the most important things in my life. Our culture, food, music, and values are my treasures. It is Latina that I am most obsessed with and the way it has made me the woman I am today.
Which Latinx icon do you love?
Selena Quintanilla is the reason I love her. She was the first person that I felt I could relate to as an American Mexican-American. It was amazing to see how proud she was of both cultures. It was incredible to watch her succeed in her career. She sang mainly in Spanish, and was loved and accepted worldwide. It was also amazing to see how close she was with her family and how they worked together to achieve success.
What does it feel like to create a space where people can celebrate their natural beauty and themselves?
It’s a great feeling because I am building this brand for younger me. It’s impossible to be what you don’t see. Knowing that curly-haired young people will see a brand that values them and places them on a pedestal is a great feeling.
Inspiring messages are included in your social media, such as calling customers “reina”. Would you be willing to share your reasons for including these messages in your social media?
Reina and rey refer to Spanish terms for Latinx culture. My customers should not feel that they are only the means to an end. I have developed amazing relationships with my customers around the world and I want them to understand that they are my Queens and Kings. Without them, there are no Rizos Curls. They are my priority and I am here to help them. They’re very vocal about what products they want me to bring out next. Because of them, I created the Refresh + detangle spray. They demanded a gel so I set to work making the Light Hold Gel. They kept asking me for a pump so I added a cap pump in our store. They are a great way to keep me busy.