Nopalera raises $2.7 million and puts Latina as the benchmark
The figure will help change the opinion of consumers about Mexican culture and the beauty industry.
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The Latin beauty firm, which is backed by L'Attitude Ventures, is on track to double its 2021 turnover thanks to a successful initial round of investment that included the participation of different angel investors.
Founded and run by Mexican-American Sandra Velásquez, who retains 60% of the company, Nopalera was part of the “Target Takeoff” program this year, an initiative that allowed them to expand the reach of their products.
We are making Latina aspirational. We have been conditioned to aspire to French and Italian brands our entire lives, and the world has changed. We can aspire to be just ourselves. We don’t have to have a French or Italian name to be elevated.
The brand, which uses a special ingredient such as nopal, the cactus prolific in Mexico and found on its flag, has eight bath and body products that are stored without plastic and whose prices range from $14 to $32. Items sell relatively evenly, and a popular combo, including soap, scrub and moisturizing bar, can be obtained for $71.
Nopalera is currently available at Nordstrom, Credo, Free People, and 400 other boutiques. Half of its sales are retail, with three quarters of these coming from boutiques, and the rest coming from its direct-to-consumer platform.
“Sandra has built a loyal and engaged customer-based business. With her technical and industry expertise, Sandra is well-positioned to build a unique and authentic brand focused on sustainability, building strong adoption in a high-margin luxury goods business. We see a large opportunity in this space,” pointed out Laura Lucas, a partner at L’Attitude Ventures.
Although initially the lack of connections made fundraising a bewildering process for Velásquez, thanks to her participation in accelerator programs and pitching contests, these processes eventually became more productive.
To bring Nopalera to market in 2020, Velásquez spent $25,000 and “creatively” used funds from her credit cards to cover expenses, a move that later allowed her to receive a $50,000 loan from Shopify Capital.
“Now we are really going to be able to play in the arena I want to play in. Having capital in the bank allows us to go and pursue the retailers we want to partner with and grow our national presence. That’s really hard without capital. If you see a brand in Sephora that’s self-funded, that means they are already rich. You can’t bootstrap your way into Sephora without starting with something,” highlighted Velásquez.
The seed funding will provide Nopalera with resources to weather a potential recession, pay for inventory (low inventory this year meant it hasn't been able to sell as much as it could), and strengthen its team.
The increase in the goal was due to the inclusion of L'attitude as a main investor, as well as Velasquez's victories in launch contests such as Valde Latinx Entrepreneur Grant, Clean Beauty Summer School, Latinx in Tech, and L'Attitude Match-Up.
The firm also became one of three brands in the inaugural Bridge Mentorship cohort from investment firm True Beauty Ventures and Beauty Independent, and recently added a director of operations and supply chain to grow its workforce to seven, excluding contractors.
“All of a sudden, everyone wanted to give me money. Even after the day I closed, people were texting me. Once you have money, people want to give you money. I have gone through this process from zero to hero. No one wanted to give me money before. I can see the unfairness of it all,” stressed Velásquez.