Since its inception four years ago, Regina Merson’s Reina Rebelde has been serving the Latinx community with high-quality beauty products that encourage users to unapologetically embrace their identity. After years of using bold colors and versatile products herself, Merson now supplies fellow Latinas, and others, with what the beauty industry falls short of — a passion for culture and makeup that reflects it.
Although this year has brought much uncertainty, Merson remains positive and forward-thinking. In the midst of a pandemic and ensuing political upheaval, she has shifted Reina Rebelde to use her platform to reach the Latinx community in unique and impactful ways.
We caught up with Merson about the commitment Reina Rebelde has to the Latinx community and how she continues to use her brand for good.
The Tease: You recently celebrated four successful years of Reina Rebelde. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in that time?
Regina Merson: It has been a roller coaster of a ride. During this journey, I’ve learned how important it is to be patient and to not lose sight of our original vision.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next four years?
I would love to do more collabs. The creative energy that sparks when you work with a bad-ass member of the Latinx community makes everything from creating shades to launching new products so energizing and fulfilling.
Since we last spoke, there have been a lot of changes in the industry and the world in general. How have you been holding up, and how has Reina Rebelde shifted during this time?
Overall, I’m as great as I can be, and the business is doing what we’re all doing: pivoting. No amount of business savvy prepares you for a once-in-a-century pandemic. Early on, once we saw that the pandemic would seriously shift the way we live our lives, we shifted from being a brand that sells to being a brand that is of service. It did not feel right to ask people to buy a lipstick when millions of people were losing their jobs.
So, we created an IG story campaign, “Makeover for a Cause,” where we immediately reached out to our community of influencers to showcase makeovers for charity. Influencers such as Viva Glam Kay, Nena Moreno, Casey Hinds and more took over our Stories to share a fabulous beauty look. In exchange for taking over our IG, Reina Rebelde made a donation to One Fair Wage, an organization helping to create a fund for unemployed service workers due to mass layoffs – something that hit our community especially hard.
How important is it to you to be an example of success for Latinx business owners?
For me, it’s important that I model reality – which includes success and failure, highs and lows – for the Latinx community.
How is Reina Rebelde celebrating Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month? What do you think makes this one different from other years?
This year for Latinx Heritage Month, we’re focused on motivating the Latinx community to get out and vote. We’ve been sharing some great social content around our Don’t be a Tonta, Vota! Latinx Heritage Month campaign. 2020 is different from any other year on so many levels. The Latinx community has been under attack politically since we launched (during an election year too 4 years ago). Our voting power is real, so I want to make sure that our community knows that our voice matters.
Why is it so important to you to serve the Latinx community with elevated beauty products?
It’s important that I created Reina Rebelde with quality products to break this ongoing misconception that Latinas are price sensitive, cheap and don’t understand quality products. Latinas are so deeply knowledgeable on makeup across price points, see beauty as the ultimate form of self-care, and price is not barrier if it’s a brand and product they believe in.
You previously shared with us how you made the jump from practicing law to launching a beauty brand. What advice would you give fellow Latinas wanting to make a career change?
The most important thing is don’t be afraid to do things in your own style and way. There will be so many nay-sayers on how to start or run your business. Also, while running a business can feel tremendously isolating at times, the truth is there is a huge community of Latinas that have so much energy and good intentions behind you that may not always be visible. Tap into that energy to help propel your business and mission. We are all here cheering for you, so don’t be afraid. I launched Reina Rebelde on this energy. I know first-hand that it exists.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Reina Rebelde just launched in more than 350 Walmart stores and Walmart.com. I am beyond thrilled that as a self-funded independent makeup brand, we are able to continue our retail presence to make Reina Rebelde more accessible to Latinxs across the country.