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Ep.16-Guest: Sandra Velasquez, founder, Nopalera Skincare on "What Beauty Founders Don't Know"

Her father used to pick fruit in the central valley fields of California. He was made to whistle, along with others, while picking the strawberries to ensure they weren’t eating them. 

Sandra saw how diligently and earnestly her parents faced all the hardships without ever losing any pride in where they came from!

Growing up, she witnessed & experienced her true Mexican heritage and colorful culture as an unconquerable spirit that always triumphed with dignity in contribution to the American society while offering better future for their families.

To honor and celebrate her Mexican heritage, she first used music with her band Pistolera(Spanish for female gunslinger) where she was the songwriter, guitar player and vocalist!

Her songs were featured in hits like Breaking Bad, she lived from gig to gig, barely making ends meet but her spirits were always elevated and never dampened, and her music touched all and sundry!

While $100K in debt, including student loans, true to her brave heritage & again to honor and celebrate Mexican CULTURA, she bravely ventured to launch an elevated Mexican skincare brand, since she did not see any Mexican prestige beauty brand in the market!

This is the story of Sandra Velasquez, founder of Nopalera Skincare, a brand elevating Mexican skincare, who defied all odds and risked everything to place Mexican skincare right at the top, as an ode to her immigrant parents & her Mexican heritage, a symphony every skincare enthusiast in America is currently “whistling to.”


In this guest series episode of “What Beauty Founders Don’t Know” (formerly JumpStart Beauty Brand), Sandra shares invaluable insights on launching and growing a minority, woman-led beauty brand.

Take a listen!

Timestamps and Key Insights

03:03.4-Sandra’s Story

05:34.0-Sandra’s debt, learning curve & path to launching Nopalera

08:26.0-Transition from self-expression to a beauty consumer focused business

09:34.2-Why Nopalera resonates more with consumers vs. other Latina beauty brands

15:15.6-Sandra’s struggles with funding Nopalera and how she went about fundraising and how she finally managed to get funded

27:12.3-Importance of market timing & cultural perception in venture success

34:45.7-Sandra’s insights on different types of retailers and their benefits, from boutique to specialty to department stores

37:19.6-Why Nopalera does so well with beauty boutique stores?

44:59.5-How Nopalera works with independent beauty boutiques?

46:13.4-Sandra’s ultimate goal with Nopalera

49:23.4-Importance of profitability for Nopalera or indie beauty brands

52:10.9-Sandra’s toughest time with Nopalera

53:50.1-Speed Round: What’s fake in the early-stage beauty market, bootstrap or funding, social media, entrepreneurship, and what’s next for Nopalera….


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