This Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked local entrepreneurs to share their journeys with us as Hispanic entrepreneurs. The first of these stories comes from Sonsoles Gonzalez, Founder and CEO of Better Not Younger.
Tell us about your background and what drove you to become an entrepreneur?
I was born in Venezuela and spent the first 16 years of my career in multiple roles across the region. I moved to the United States in 2003, also with P&G, and to Spain in 2013 with L’Oreal. Becoming an entrepreneur was never in my plans, but it was in my heart as I always enjoyed creating products and brands. And I love the hustle and the thrill of seeing things happen. So, at age 52, I became a “fiftypreneur” and launched Better Not Younger.
What was the inspiration behind starting Better Not Younger?
Before becoming an entrepreneur, I worked in big beauty companies (P&G, L’Oreal) where I would sit in innovation and marketing meetings talking about how best to reach the 18-44 year old consumer. I would always joke “What happens to women after 44? They disappear?” Then one day it wasn’t so funny. It was me. I was in my late 40s and noticing changes in my skin and hair, and yet no one was talking about that. Fast forward a couple of years, I had “retired” from my corporate role, but didn’t feel at all ready to disappear. I looked around at my friends and didn’t see us reflected accurately in the media. I became obsessed with wanting to somehow change the narrative society has around women and aging. Hair is one of the most important things that factor into how women feel about themselves. Hair changes as we age. And no one was talking about it. So I combined what I was passionate about with what I knew, and Better Not Younger was born.
What does being a Hispanic entrepreneur in the United States mean to you?
The Latin community is part of the cultural and ethnic mix of the US. It is estimated that by 2050, 30% of the population will be Hispanic. Multiple studies have shown they over-index on Beauty spending. As a Hispanic founder, who has worked with women all over Latin America and Spain, I feel it is our responsibility to understand her needs and desires and make sure she sees herself well reflected. Often, Hispanics are seen as all being the same and marketers tend to gravitate to the usual stereotypes.
Do you have any advice you would like to share with fellow Hispanic entrepreneurs?
My advice is to know your value and use it. And what is this value? The strength and wisdom that comes from living a multi-cultural life, where you or your parents had to uproot themselves to begin all over again. So, always sit at the table, offer your opinions and your expertise, and show your unique value.
These responses have only been edited for grammar.