How many times have we looked in the mirror wishing we could find a product that really addresses the problems of our skin type? How many times have we left a store empty-handed because we couldn’t find the answers to our problems? For Priscilla Jiminian, this experience was part of her daily life.
Like so many other Afro-Latinas, Priscilla suffered from seeing her skin populated with dark spots. It wouldn’t be until a 2017 trip to the Dominican Republic, her parents’ country, that she would get the solution.
“I took a trip to the Dominican Republic with my father to visit his mother, my grandmother, on her 80th birthday. When the whole family was on our way to the beach, I told my cousin about my skin problem,” she told BELatina in an exclusive interview.
“I told her I couldn’t find anything in New York City or in the U.S. that could actually help my skin,” she recounts. “So she told me she knew people [in the Dominican Republic] that had formulated skincare products.”
Thus, Jiminian would begin to change her trajectory from real estate agent to entrepreneur.
For Priscilla Jiminian, the road to entrepreneurship begins at home
Jiminian’s entrepreneurship began in her own skin, trying to get the exact formula that could help her cope with dark marks but also sharing her process.
Once with her new formula in hand, and after a few months of testing, Priscilla began sharing videos and images on her personal Instagram and, as she aptly describes, “it all picked up from there.”
“A lot of people were like, ‘oh my God, what are you using? I want that. I need that,'” she remembers. “A lot of women of color, we have that issue where we get our skin or their sun exposure, and we have a very hard time getting rid of it.”
It was precisely her own insecurity with her skin that offered her a golden opportunity that would eventually transform into Skinergy Beauty.
Taking it to the next level
Two years after her trip to the Dominican Republic, Priscilla Jiminian had a brand name, supportive labs, a team of chemists working with her formulas, and a line of up to six products.
The key? Knowing in-depth the problems of combination skin and knowing that each skin needs a special treatment.
“The main ingredient in this product, the dark spot correcting cream, is kojic acid,” she explains about the key behind her star product. In the cosmetics industry, most of the products available have other components, such as hydroquinone, to treat hyperpigmentation (marks on the skin). But for Skinergy Beauty, the differential was in choosing a product suitable for sensitive skin, as is usually the case with the skin of most Latinas.
“Hydroquinone is great; it’s usually prescribed through a dermatologist or your doctor. But the problem with that ingredient is that it’s very irritable to the skin,” Jiminian explained, “So my skin is extremely sensitized. A lot of people that have sensitive skin deal with eczema or psoriasis. It’s sensitive skin, meaning that it reacts to a lot of things very easily. As soon as I put something on my face and my skin doesn’t like it, I will see redness, or I will feel some type of itchiness or something like that.”
That’s why, for skin like Jiminian’s, kojic acid is the solution, reacting positively to sunlight and in repairing brown patches or uneven skin tone.
“It’s actually very gentle on the skin, even for sensitive skin,” Jiminian added.
Tackling a different market
Starting a business is a complicated business, but even more so in an industry as multifaceted as the beauty industry.
For Priscilla Jiminian, the first big challenge was learning everything there was to know about the market and customer service.
The second was chemistry.
“At the very beginning, I had to really dig in and buy books, read, watch YouTube videos, and learn all these things by myself,” she told us. Today, she has a network of support among chemists and biochemists, who have made her products not only FDA-approved but fill an important gap in the industry.
“I learned about things that can be very, very irritable to your skin. And these are things that were important to me. I know that I wasn’t the only person out there [suffering from that] because I obviously can’t be the only one,” she said. “So, I think the obstacle was just learning everything, absorbing all of that, and instilling all of that information into my brain, and making sure that everything is going the way that it should.”
And the reward for hard work is always a success.
Despite the obstacles of starting a business with her own hands and resources, Jiminian enjoys being her own boss, taking on challenges with responsibility, and excellent organizational skills.
“It’s a beautiful journey, and it’s beautiful to see how it’s panning out on its own,” she said. “It’s worth it because I wake up, and I feel complete.”
Products by and for Latinas
When we talk to Priscilla, we realize that Latinas and women of color have rhythms and lifestyles as specific as our skin types. And Skinergy Beauty products have that in mind.
For the combination skin of working women who also have to balance household and home responsibilities, products like those offered by Priscilla are ideal.
In addition to constant hydration and always using sunscreen, this entrepreneur recommends never to forget your skincare daily routine.
While other products and routines include 10 or 12 daily steps, with different products that can take hours, Skinergy Beauty’s products take into account that, when you’re Latina, you don’t have a minute to waste in the day.
“I was able to achieve that with my products. We can target multi-skin concerns with just a few products,” Priscilla explained, “That was something I actually wanted to achieve, especially because most of the Latinas, especially in the United States, don’t have the time to do so… We actually don’t have the time at all!”
Entrepreneurship? ‘¡Sí se puede!’
Finally, Priscilla Jiminian had a couple of reflections on what can deter or push a woman of color in the U.S. to take that “leap of faith” into the business world.
For the young entrepreneur, the most important thing is to have a solid foundation.
“Get yourself acquainted with the many aspects that a business entails,” she says, “it’s not just creating a product; it’s making sure that you are aware of your customer base.”
“Even if the market is saturated with what you’re bringing into it, there’s always something different, something that you bring […] and that’s important to make sure that your voice and your passion are behind the brand,” she said.
“I don’t think your circumstances and your environment should stop you from doing something,” Jiminian concluded. “I don’t come from money. I was born and raised in the South Bronx in New York City, one of the poorest areas in the country, and although that can literally deter someone from taking a step forward and taking that leap of faith, for me, you shouldn’t let that stop you from trying to obtain a goal or a dream.”