During these uncertain yet uplifting times of protest and change, conditions have shown us that we could all use a little more magic. Beauty lovers are tapping into their creativity while sheltering in place thanks to the range of products that are helping them achieve self-expression. The beauty industry is one of very few industries that has not taken as hard of a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People are still buying products, wearing makeup indoors and creating magic of their own.
The Frías sisters, co-founders of the Luna Magic beauty brand, are claiming their space not only in the industry, but in the hearts of their customers by serving them in an authentic and diverse way. Everything from the names of their products to the level of pigment take into consideration the spectrum of diversity reflected in their heritage and customer base.
A love for beauty and their Latinx culture led the Washington Heights natives, Mabel & Shaira Frías, to create a beauty line inspired by the vibrancy of their Dominican culture. The Frias sisters have incorporated aspects of music, television and popular culture into Luna Magic’s branding.
“[Luna Magic] was founded in Los Angeles with a mission to introduce high-performance cosmetics, bold flavor, diversity, inclusivity and vibrancy to the beauty industry. We’re inspired by the rich cultures and music of the Caribbean & Latin America, the hustle and bustle of New York City and glamour of Los Angeles,” said the young entrepreneurs. Even down to the name, the sisters hoped to convey a “celebration of feminine energy, magic, motherhood…and a play on dualities.”.
At 30 & 29, the duo unexpectedly lost their mother, which strengthened their already close relationship and fueled them to build something together.
Mabel described starting a family business with her sister, Shaira, as organic because their goal was to connect with women who are just like them. “Even with us being sisters, we are two different women and types of Latinas[…]Family is such an important part of Latin culture, the fact that we’re sisters reinforces those family values,” she said.
It’s because of their family values and their heritage that Mabel says they’re able to meet their customer’s needs and see them for who they really are. She considers their multicultural heritage to be their competitive advantage. Growing up speaking both Spanish and English helped them to understand the nuances of both Latin and American culture. This allows them to serve their customers wholly and wholeheartedly. “We’re very in touch with our customers because we grew up with them, we are them.”
Authenticity and knowing one’s audience are critical to any brand that truly identifies with the community of folks that support them, which takes knowing oneself pretty well.
The Frías Sisters are 100% American, 100% Latinx and 100% proud to celebrate and identify with their African heritage. In light of the current Black Lives Matter protests and the push to defund ICE, the Frias sisters, like other CEOs, understand the importance of being part of the conversation. But unlike other brands, Luna Magic was already part of that dialogue.
“We’ve been who we are since before #BLM, so we didn’t really have to shift. A lot of brands had to try to pay attention, but we’ve been plugged in and we’ve built our brand for this community,” said Mabel.
The sisters are grateful to the #BLM movement for all of the doors it has opened for Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized artists and business owners. “I see us as activists in the corporate space in making sure that they don’t water down our brand, that it takes off and that it represents the communities we serve.”
By centering the brand around cultural pride, The Frías Sisters hope to capture the vastness of beauty standards embraced by their customers and women everywhere. Mabel described beauty as “what you want it to be for you.”
“If you wanna wear lashes, cool. If you don’t want to contour, cool. Even just between me and my sister, my beauty standards are different from hers. You’re in the driver’s seat of your own beauty standards, and we just bring the tools.”
And when it comes to pricing, the duo is inspired by brands like Fashion Nova and Colourpop, who create quality products that won’t break the bank. Despite Latinxs & African Americans consumers spending over $50 million a year on beauty products, Mabel & Shaira don’t want their customers to live beyond their means. They want Luna Magic buyers to take home every product that they desire. In their own words: “We want them to take all of it because they deserve it! Live your best life, sis.”
By creating something that they describe as “beautiful, but accessible,”customers of all backgrounds can open up their products and feel like it was made especially for them. The high pigment, bold coloring of their eyeshadows and lipsticks showcase brown skin in a way that’s genuine, inclusive and inexpensive. In addition to never putting out a product that they wouldn’t use themselves, the Frías sisters are leading with empathy. The duo was recently selected as one of 16 recipients for Glossier’s Grant Initiative for Black-Owned Beauty Businesses demonstrating that pride and practice lead to success.
“Every aspect of our business is influenced by the feminine nature of what it is to be a woman. I think it’s been an advantage and a privilege to be female-led, and it feels very empowering. When you think of all the sectors of our world, female empowerment is happening. From Rihanna to Cardi B to Meg Thee Stallion to Kamala Harris[…]we’re in an age of women doing things and it’s being appreciated.”
And they’ve taken all of this into consideration. Large companies and small businesses alike are paying close attention to how they can shift after sheltering-in-place.
Because they’re digitally owned and still a small team, the Luna Magic creators haven’t had to lay anyone off. However, with beauty being an industry where artists and clients form close relationships with one another and their favorite products, Mabel & Shaira are happy to say that their customers are still buying makeup.
“Everyone says ‘for the culture’ now, and we say ‘para la cultura’—we embrace both. This is a mission; this is bigger than just us putting beauty out there. We’re going into the retail space, and we’re paving the way for the next entrepreneurs that look like us, so we take all of that stuff really seriously,” they said.
And what’s more powerful than women paving the way for one another, Mabel said, is women of color making those achievements on that grand of a scale. Staying abreast of customers’ needs and considering ways to “double down on digital” are what occupy the duo’s time these days – while still leaving room for expanding and refining their e-commerce. The Frías sisters are excited to explore growth opportunities and look forward to taking their existing customers with them and gaining more along the way.
By combining their passions for accessible beauty and a vibrant lifestyle, they’ve created a brand that celebrates their multicultural heritage. “If we ain’t blingin’ we ain’t livin,” said co-founder, Mabel. With product names like “Oro,”“Plata,” and “Diamante,”the Frías sisters plan to break the “European beauty standard” mold while being authentic to their Afro-Latina roots.
Lead Image Courtesy of the Frías sisters.