VAMIGAS is a beauty and wellness brand created by Latinas using botanicals from Latin America.
Christina has paternal roots in Oaxaca, Mexico and Ann immigrated to Los Angeles from Chile when she was nine. They are both mamas to wild and wonderful daughters with beautiful names.
They met through Pipeline Angels, a network of women and femme investors in Silicon Valley, and both started investing in BIPOC who helm pioneering startups. They also heled co-found blxVC, an angel syndicate fund for Black and Latinx founders where they have invested in many CPG and beauty brands alongside other Black and Latinx investors.
Christina, a Forbes Next 1000 recipient, began her career working for a Congresswoman in the Bay Area. She eventually pivoted into investment banking, where she helped find funding for Silicon Valley startups.
It's here she had the desire to start her own company and left to become a beauty founder. This beauty brand became the 3rd most googled brand in its category by year one.
Ann is a Public Relations pro, and has helped hundreds of technology and CPG startups with growth. She cut her teeth helping the first wave of social media startups grow and expand in the mid 00's, including brands like Waze, and went on to participate in the very first Startup Chile cohort. She was also one of the original West Coast bloggers for Jane Pratt's Jane Magazine, and was in the founding team of one of Comcast's pioneering web portals.
Latinas & The Beauty Industry
When we met we bonded over self-care and cremas y aceites for our skin.
That is why we were both horrified to read studies that found that Latinas have more endocrine-disrupting chemicals in our bodies, like phthalates and parabens than white women.
The study posited that this is likely because Latinas use more anti-aging creams and body lotions, many of which have more phthalates, parabens, phenols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and even things with formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and arsenic. Unfortunately truly clean products are very expensive and have been historically marketed mainly to white women.
No major health and wellness brands speak to us and our unique skin concerns, like hyperpigmentation, skin tone and more. We have yet to see ads on clean brands that portray us. Brands that target us too often use questionable products and harsh chemicals.
Major brands that try to speak to us talk to us as though we were one dimensional characters - the spicy telenovela Latina or simply a cartoon character.
What's more, many of the ingredients that big brands use are sourced from Central and South America. So how are you going to take ingredients from our homelands and then exclude us?
Health and wellness is not just for white American women, and Latinas are multidimensional and multifaceted human beings. This is where we begin to decolonize our skincare routine.