Meet Regina Merson


MEET REGINA MERSON

REGINA MERSON IS THE FOUNDER OF REINA REBELDE, A MAKEUP LINE CELEBRATING THE DYNAMISM OF THE EVERY DAY LATINA. IT SEEMS THE UNIVERSE HELPED REGINA FIND HER CALLING. AFTER A SERIES OF EVENTS, REGINA LEFT BEHIND HER LAW CAREER AND BEGAN FORMING THE INCREDIBLY EMPOWERING COMPANY, REINA REBELDE. STILL LEARNING AS SHE GOES, REGINA SHARES WHAT HER TAKEAWAYS AS AN ENTREPRENEUR HAVE BEEN, HER HOPES FOR THE FUTURE OF REINA REBELDE AND HER ADVISE FOR NEW ENTREPRENEURS.

HOW DID GROWING UP PARTIALLY IN THE US AND PARTIALLY IN MEXICO AFFECT THE MISSION OF REINA REBELDE?

IT WAS VERY CONFUSING AT TIMES, AND IT TOOK ME A LITTLE WHILE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO CONTAIN ALL THE DUALITIES AND CONTRADICTIONS THAT BOTH CULTURES PRESENTED TO ME. I ULTIMATELY REALIZED THAT ALTHOUGH IT WAS MESSY AND COMPLICATED, THESE DUALITIES ACTUALLY ENHANCED MY LIFE TREMENDOUSLY.  THIS FEELING IS WHAT I WANTED TO CELEBRATE AND EMBRACE AND INFORMED MUCH OF THE REINA REBELDE ETHOS. 

HAVING AN EDUCATION IN LAW, AT WHAT POINT DID YOU DECIDE TO LEAVE IT BEHIND AND FOCUS FULLY ON YOUR COMPANY? HOW DID YOUR PARENTS REACT TO THIS? 

JUMPING SHIP FROM LAWYER TO ENTREPRENEUR WAS MORE LIKE LIFE THROWING ME OVERBOARD. I WAS PRACTICING BANKRUPTCY LAW AND FELT THAT I WAS NOT WHERE I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE. THERE WAS A LONGING TO CONTRIBUTE TO MY COMMUNITY AND CONNECT IN ANOTHER WAY THAT WAS NOT RELATED TO LAW. AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF SOUL SEARCHING, TURNED OUT I REALLY CRAVED SOMETHING THAT WAS BOTH INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGING AND CREATIVE.  THE CREATIVE PIECE WAS MISSING IN MY LEGAL CAREER.  ONCE I FIGURED OUT THAT I NEEDED A CREATIVE OUTLET, (A VERY OBVIOUS BUT IMPORTANT A-HA MOMENT FOR ME) THINGS REALLY STARTED FALLING INTO PLACE FOR WHAT WAS TO BECOME REINA REBELDE.  HOWEVER, IN THE PROCESS OF FIGURING OUT HOW TO MAKE WHAT I THOUGHT WOULD BE A YEAR-LONG TRANSITION, A SERENDIPITOUS ROUND OF LAY-OFFS AT MY LAW FIRM I WAS WORKING WITH DID THE FINAL PUSH FOR ME.  THE UNIVERSE WAS SENDING ME A SIGN.    

MY PARENTS WERE VERY NERVOUS AND UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT THE DECISION IN MANY WAYS, BUT THEY ALWAYS BELIEVED IN ME AND MY IDEA.  BUT THEY KNEW THAT IT WOULD BE A STRESSFUL AND DIFFICULT NUMBER OF YEARS TO GET IT OFF THE GROUND, AND A HUGE RISK FOR ME PERSONALLY.  AFTER IT LAUNCHED, AND THEY SAW IT IN REAL TIME THOUGH, THEY WERE VERY MUCH BEHIND IT.

BEING A FORMER LAWYER, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO VEER INTO CREATING A MAKEUP COMPANY, OF ALL THINGS?

THIS COMMUNITY IS MY PASSION AND MY LOVE OF MAKEUP WAS SELF-EVIDENT SINCE I WAS A YOUNG GIRL.  AS A LAWYER, I FELT THAT I HAD LOST TOUCH WITH THE COMMUNITY IN MANY WAYS AND KNEW THAT SOMETHING ELSE WAS MY CALLING.  BY THE TIME I STARTED ASKING THESE TYPES OF QUESTIONS, IT WAS CLEAR THAT I DID NOT REALLY HAVE A CHOICE.  I WAS SO DRIVEN INTERNALLY TO TRY TO DO THIS, THE REST OF IT JUST STARTED HAPPENING. 

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THE JOURNEY WHILE WORKING TO MAKE REINA REBELDE WHAT IT IS TODAY AND WHAT HAS THAT TAUGHT YOU ABOUT BUSINESS AND ABOUT YOURSELF?

IN THIS CASE, THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR EXPERIENCE, SO YOU ARE ALWAYS LEARNING ON THE JOB. IT MAKES PLANNING VERY DIFFICULT AT TIMES, BECAUSE FOR THE MOST PART EVERY EXPERIENCE ALONG THE WAY IS YOUR FIRST ONE.  YOU CAN LISTEN TO ALL THE PODCASTS AND READ ALL THE BUSINESS BOOKS, BUT UNTIL YOU ARE ACTUALLY IN IT, IT IS HARD TO REALLY KNOW HOW IT ALL WORKS.  PERSONALLY, I FEEL THAT RUNNING A BUSINESS REVEALS ALL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES THAT YOU DID NOT EVEN REALIZE WERE THERE. 

REINA REBELDE IS A BRAND THAT REPRESENTS AND EMPOWERS THE DIVERSITY OF THE LATINA IN THE BEAUTY SPACE. WHAT IS NEXT FOR THE BRAND?

REINA REBELDE IS VERY FOCUSED ON THE COMMUNITY AND CREATING BEAUTIFUL PRODUCT FOR ALL OF US.  AND WITH THAT, WE HOPE TO USE THE BRAND AS A PLATFORM TO CELEBRATE THE MANY TALENTED INDIVIDUALS IN OUR COMMUNITY AND THE ENERGY OF THE COLLECTIVE AS A WHOLE. 

DID YOU KNOW REINA REBELDE WAS GOING TO BE AS SUCCESSFUL AS IT IS BECOMING? WAS THERE A MOMENT YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD FAIL?

I DON’T KNOW THAT IT HAS FELT SUCCESSFUL YET OR EVER WILL.  IT FEELS LIKE A SERIES OF TESTS — WHERE YOU FAIL AND PASS, AND HOPEFULLY LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY.  THIS EARLY IN THE JOURNEY, I ALWAYS FEEL AND KNOW THAT IT MIGHT BE A COUPLE MISTAKES AWAY FROM TOTAL FAILURE.  BUT ABOVE ALL, I TRY TO JUST DO THE BEST THAT I CAN, BECAUSE IN MANY WAYS THAT IS ALL I HAVE CONTROL OVER AT TIMES.

WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO A WOMAN WHO IS IN THE START-UP STAGES OF HER BUSINESS?

NEVER FORGET THAT ABOVE ALL, YOU’RE A REINA REBELDE - DON’T BE AFRAID TO DO THINGS IN YOUR OWN STYLE AND WAY.  THERE WILL BE SO MANY NAY-SAYERS, IT CAN FEEL TREMENDOUSLY ISOLATING AT TIMES.  THE REALITY IS THERE’S A HUGE COMMUNITY OF WOMEN HAVE SO MUCH ENERGY AND GOOD INTENTIONS BEHIND YOU TOO — THAT ENERGY IS NOT ALWAYS VISIBLE BUT IT’S THERE TO BE TAPPED INTO AND ACCESSED.  I’VE BEEN AMAZED BY ALL THE LITTLE AND BIG PUSHES THAT HAVE COME FROM WOMEN THAT I HAVE NEVER MET.  

IF YOU COULD SAY ANYTHING TO A TEENAGE REGINA, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?

I WOULD TELL MYSELF TO HAVE MORE FUN.  I WAS A VERY FOCUSED AND HARD-WORKING TEENAGER.  I DIDN’T REALIZE THEN THAT THE HARD WORK WOULD NEVER END, SO I WOULD TELL MY YOUNGER SELF TO ENJOY MY YOUTH MORE THAN I PROBABLY DID. 

LASTLY, WHAT IS A QUOTE OR SAYING THAT YOU CARRY?

“THE PRIVILEGE OF A LIFETIME IS BEING WHO YOU ARE.” - JOSEPH CAMPBELL