Quienes Son Las Chicas Vamigas?
Here's why we started Vamigas.
Ann faced some fertility issues in her 30's. When she got pregnant she started researching "green beauty" options - because she wanted to use products that had no questionable ingredients, were more naturally derived, safe to use during pregnancy, and safe for the baby. She even got some recommendations from doctors on what to avoid (did you know they make you avoid deodorant during IVF?). What she found was really worrisome.
Actual scientific research has consistently found that Latinas have more hormone disrupting chemicals in our bodies and higher rates of fertility issues. Researches speculate that this may be because we use 30% more beauty products than other groups. That means green beauty is particularly critical to us - but there's zero clean or green beauty brands by Latinas for Latinas. So we created Vamigas (and doesn't everyone want simple, green beauty products?).
Christina is a #thirdgen Mexican-American (Oaxaca), a Forbes Next 1000 recipient, and began her career working for a Congresswoman. She eventually pivoted into investment banking, where she helped Silicon Valley startups with funding. It's here where she had the desire to start her own company, left to become a beauty founder, and has now been in the beauty industry for a almost a decade. She continues to invest in and advise CPG startups with 100% of her portfolio consisting of Women & BIPOC founded companies.
Ann is #firstgen Chilean-American, born in Viña del Mar, Chile and raised in LA. She went on to attend UCLA and USC, and ended up in Silicon Valley helping hundreds of startups with growth. She is a Public Relations pro, and was among the first Latinas in online publicity and marketing at the start of the digital era. In her 20's, one of her first freelance clients was a little brand called Waze (pre Google).
Christina and Ann met through Pipeline Angels, a network of women and femme investors in Silicon Valley, and started investing in BIPOC who helm pioneering startups. They also co-founded blxVC, an angel syndicate fund for Black and Latinx founders where they encourage other Black and Latina Women to start investing and creating generational wealth.
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.