(Sacramento, CA) When Leslie Valdivia and Joanna Rosario-Rocha started Vive Cosmetics, the beauty industry was overdue for change. What has grown into an acclaimed national brand with a wide range of lip products began as a problem the pair knew they could solve: the need for authentic representation of the diverse Latina and Latinx communities that constitute the make-up industry’s largest consumer demographic. Now, as their influence grows, the founders are using a loan from California Capital’s Lending Center to expand their reach and continue effecting change.
The pair decided to venture into the world of cosmetics due to the lack of representation and products that support the many differences that exist amongst Latina/Latinx beauty afficionados: skintone, ethnicity, and shape. “At one point they said, ‘Why should we have to compromise?’,” explains Leslie. “That’s when it clicked. Joanna and I looked at each other and said, ‘We have to do something’.”
At that point they went to work doing research and learning the intricacies of development, production and sales of high quality beauty products. They worked with a California Capital Women’s Business Center counselor to develop a business plan, all while maintaining their full time jobs. “What’s so exciting to see is that California Capital has assisted Vive Cosmetics since the beginning,” stated Deborah Lowe Muramoto, CEO of California Capital. “From their business plan, attending various seminars, networking, participating at events, working their plan and continuing to focus on their goals, our staff and counselors have been there for Joanna & Leslie the entire venture. We are delighted in their diligence and thrilled to see how this loan will grow their business.”
Now, with capital to work with and a clear picture of their financial goals, the founders are busy expanding and planning for the future. Leslie now works for the company full-time, and they are working with a product development consultant who is providing valuable guidance as they create new products and reformulate some of their traditional offerings. “We find so many of the models, photographers, and creative directors we work with through Instagram,” Leslie says. “We’ll put a call out to our community when we’re working on a campaign and need talent, and we will get hundreds of people tagging their friends or reaching out themselves. There is nothing better than seeing our followers wearing and loving our products.”
This capital infusion allows them to continue innovating their products to meet the changing needs of customers to include product lines beyond lipstick, and revamping their packaging to make it more sustainable, synergy will remain a priority. Since 2017, they have seen a shift in how many Latinx-owned companies are around, and that has come with different types of representation and different stories being told. Their goal is to uplift the Latinx community as a whole, with the focus on collaboration rather than competition—staying true to their passion for beauty con cultura.
California Capital Financial Development Corporation (FDC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation based in Sacramento, California. Since 1982, California Capital has been providing capital and capacity building services to communities across California, with a focus on elevating women, minority, BIPOC, LGBTQIA and veteran owned businesses. They operate a Women’s Business Center (WBC) that provides individualized counseling and a range of classes for all types of business owners; a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) that helps clients procure and perform on government contracts through counseling and workshops; and a mission-based Lending Center, that connects borrowers with affordable loans to build and expand their businesses.