Momaprenista and Former Touring Musician, Sandra Velasquez, on Founding Nopalera

Copy-of-Website-Header-Template-27

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:

Sandra Velasquez is the founder of Nopalera, a mother, and a former touring musician. Prior to launching Nopalera, Velasquez worked as a sales & distribution manager for several CPG brands across multiple categories. In addition to running her company, she works as a mentor to emerging CPG brands and teaches online classes about sales strategy. Nopalera is Mexican Botanicals for Bath & Body that celebrates and elevates Latinx culture. Nopalera is leading the Brownspace Opportunity with its iconic culture-forward branding that speaks to the overlooked Latinx clean beauty consumer. The brand takes its inspiration from the nopal — an ancient symbol of Mexico — for its resilience, versatility, and cultural symbolism. Their current line of cactus soaps, scrubs, and moisturizers was formulated to meet the standards of the cleanest beauty retailers and can be found in Nordstrom, Credo Beauty, Free People, and over 300 boutiques nationwide.

What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?

Access to incredible entrepreneurs.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

Tired of being underpaid and working for others + noticed an opportunity in my category and knew I was the person to fill it.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

Professional musician turned CPG Sales and Distribution manager.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Not at all. I thought I was meant to perform on stage.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

I invested in branding from day zero. I enrolled in formulation school to learn how to make my own products. I took a Facebook ads class to learn how to run ads. I ran targeted ads for four months to collect email addresses pre-launch so when I launched it was to my customer. I launched an iconic brand with great photography and It worked perfectly and snowballed from there.

What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?

Not being a beauty insider or having access to capital. I had to get creative. I learned formulation and made my own products. I know how to read ingredient labels well.

What is the accomplishment you are the proudest of to date?

Launching a brand in the middle of the pandemic with no savings or funding at the age of 44 and getting into Nordstrom in year one.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I believe in priorities. I don’t believe in balance or sacrifice. I believe in deciding what is most important and doing that.

What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?

Beauty retailers take a 60 margin. Lower your cogs and raise your prices accordingly.

What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?

I was selected as one of three finalists for the Valde Latinx pitch grant.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

Fundraising. I am going to raise 1MM by the fall. You can expect to see me partner with one of the big beauty retailers in the next two years.

Learn more about the Entreprenista League and join today!

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Entreprenista Announces Winners of its 2023 Top 100 Women Business Leaders Awards Presented by Chase Ink

Leading Membership Community for Founders Amplifies Stories of Outstanding Entrepreneurs New York, United States – February 20, 2024 — The Entreprenista League, a leading membership community for ambitious, entrepreneurial women, is excited to ​​announce the winners of its 2023 Entreprenista 100 Awards. The Entreprenista Awards, presented by Chase® Ink®, honors the achievements of 100 women business leaders across…

Pitching Yourself and Finding Your Voice with Brianna Ruelas

“I see that a lot of these young women are struggling to feel like their impact matters and I really want to create something that incorporates my own stories, my own journey, to show them that our choices matter. But more importantly, that they matter, and that everything they bring to the table is significant…

Franchising, Scaling, and Selling a Business with Jillian Lorenz & Ariana Chernin

“You really, really need to trust your gut. Human nature is everything. It’s like your first date where everyone’s on their best behavior. But when there’s smoke, there’s fire. If you feel something in your intuition, it’s not right.”  –Ariana Chernin In this episode of Entreprenista, we sat down with Jillian Lorenz and Ariana Chernin,…

The Finishing Touch with Stephanie Purzycki

“I time block and I say, ‘This is going to be the time specific to managing the business.’ Being able to manage my time correctly and know when I’m doing what. In this post COVID era where we’re all working remotely, being able to connect face to face is also important. So, our weekly zoom…

Growing Through Partnerships with Abby Price

“If you’re not good at it, that is 100% okay. You don’t need to be good at everything. But just make sure, in the beginning at least, you’re spending a little extra time figuring it out—or you can lean on someone to look into it for you to make sure you’re doing it right.” – Abby…

Minisode with Steph: Spilling Wellness Secrets

Hi Entreprenistas! It’s Steph here again with another quick minisode. Today, I’m sharing all about the inspiration behind making my 2024 all about wellness. You’ll hear some of my favorite wellness tips and secrets, why it pays to give yourself grace, and all about the importance of having an accountability partner.  You’re going to hear…

Minisode with Steph: Making the Most of Your Founders Weekend Experience

Hi Entreprenistas! It’s Steph here and this year we are going to be bringing you content beyond our weekly interviews with founders. This is our first Minisode of the year and I am excited to share with you some of my best relationship building tips and how I handle events as an introverted extrovert. Plus…

Ali Hicks-Wright’s Mission to Help Creative Entrepreneurs Build and Scale with Amari Creative

Hi Ali! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Ali Hicks-Wright is the Founder and Creative Director of Amari Creative, a branding studio that specializes in building strategic brands and websites for ambitious entrepreneurs by pairing engaging copy with striking design. Since starting Amari Creative in 2016, Ali has worked with hundreds…

Grants You Need to Apply to For Your Business!

BMO Fellowship Application Notes Note that when applying, be sure to acknowledge the impact of the virtual workshops and resources provided by BMO and how that will support you just as much if not more than the prize $ itself! What you could receive: $15,000 across select applicants Deadline: Jan 31, 2024 DearGod Grant Application…

Making the Bed with Ruby Russell

“I’ve had a few setbacks. One was our first [launch in] March 2020. And guess what? The world shut down. And so I tried again on March the 13th 2023. I was at the London Stock Exchange when, guess what? That was the day that Silicon Valley crashed. So, all you can do is laugh…

Optimizing and Scaling Your Business with Tylar Brannon

“I think you have to stay calm when the world is on fire. You might have a small fire, you might have a massive fire, but your job as a leader is to create that calm… There’s days you feel like you’re drowning, but you still have to be able to show up for your…

Certifying Your Company With Heather Cox

“If you don’t have the time or money to do it once, you definitely do not have the time or money to do it twice—so make sure you outsource to experts the first time.” – Heather Cox When Heather Cox was pregnant with her first baby, she knew continuing to work was a non-negotiable—she just wasn’t…

Crafting a Powerful Pitch with Katie Dunn & Kat Weaver

“We’ve helped founders secure so much money just by sticking to the foundations and not doing crazy-flashy things or over-thinking… We had one founder secure $85,000 in one pitch opportunity—the money really is out there.” – Kat Weaver In this episode of Entreprenista, we’re sitting down with angel investor Katie Dunn and serial entrepreneur Kat…

Finding Your Ultimate Purpose with Harli Gawronski

“You’re always focused on the big goal, and you don’t celebrate the little wins in between. And that is so important. And for me, it’s something that I had to learn, was to celebrate the little wins in between—because that’s what keeps you going to the ultimate goal.” – Harli Gawronski Harli Gawronski had a realization…

Building Gravitas and Catalyzing Confidence with Lisa Sun

“When we tie so much of our happiness to [the] brass ring… It really just keeps us even more insecure and more overachieving.” – Lisa Sun In this episode of Entreprenista, we sit down with fashion entrepreneur Lisa Sun, founder and CEO of Gravitas New York, a lifestyle and apparel company that’s revolutionizing the concept…