Sweet Street Cosmetics Founders Lala Romero and Natalia Durazo Talk Building an Empire of Perfect Winged Eyeliner
Lala Romero and Natalia Durazo are L.A.-based entrepreneurs who love taking inspiration from their Latinx culture and heritage. Romero and Durazo have launched successful businesses in the past (they’re the brains behind cult-favorite brands Honey B Gold and Bella Doña) and their audiences have connected with cultural glam motifs like acrylics nails, name-plated gold jewelry, sleeked ponytails, and of course, winged eyeliner. The duo launched Sweet Street Cosmetics in 2019 and released their first product: The Wing Queen Liquid Eyeliner.
We caught up with Romero and Durazo to learn more about their iconic brands and how culture plays an important role in every aspect of their businesses.
Tell us about yourselves:
Lala Romero: I’m Lala Romero, co-founder of Sweet Street Cosmetics and Bella Doña. I’m from Van Nuys, I’m an Aries, and whole-heartedly believe that a red lip can change your whole mood.
Natalia Durazo: I’m Natalia Durazo, an unapologetic Libra, who loves hard and isn’t afraid to push the limits of a bold wing. I am the co-founder of Sweet Street Cosmetics and Bella Doña as well. I was born in East Los Angeles and was raised in the Inland Empire. I’m a West Coast angel baby through and through.
You’ve both worked on many amazing brands and projects in the past, what led to the creation of Sweet Streets Cosmetics?
Romero: We have always looked to photograph women from various neighborhoods in all of our campaigns for our streetwear brand Bella Doña. We noticed they never needed a hair and makeup team because they come from a long line of beauty experts and innovators. Launching Sweet Street Cosmetics was a natural progression for us. Beauty was already such a huge part of our daily conversation and lives.
Durazo: Lala said it best! I’m also a big makeup girl (have been my entire life) so it’s such a fun and easy thing to do because we’re just creating the products of my dreams!
Which elements of Los Angeles and Latinx culture led to Sweet Street Cometics’ mission?
Romero: The streets of our city are filled with so much beauty, from our palm tree-lined streets to the Pacific Ocean breeze. From the candy-painted lowriders, you see on the 101 every Sunday, to the beautiful homegirls walking to school down every block in our city. There is so much stunning beauty and culture everywhere and it all inspires us daily.
Durazo: I can honestly say that I am truly in love with Los Angeles. I feel so lucky I know her the way I do, I get to weave in and out of the different neighborhoods and fall in love every day. Every neighborhood has something to admire, but the ones that have my heart are the ones that are rich in culture. Everything I do is always inspired by the City of Angels.
One of your first products was a waterproof eyeliner for the perfect cat-eye. Why was this your first product and what was the inspiration behind this?
Romero: There’s so much power and strength in a pair of wings! They are our armor, they send a strong message about who we are without having to say a word. Winged eyeliner is a ritual, a badge of honor, and in so many ways a neighborhood rite of passage. Big wings, little wings, imperfect wings, are so important to us culturally we wanted to launch with a product that supported that & helped elevate Wings!
Durazo: Lala and I knew that if we were coming into the makeup game, we needed to come correct. We had to contribute powerful products and statements if we were ever going to make it in this industry with so many amazing brands already producing great products. Winged liner is part of my everyday look, but much like many girls (of all cultures), we heavily rely on a strong, pigmented, precise liner which is hard to come by! It was obvious that was the first product we needed to perfect and make for Sweet Streets’ grand debut was going to have to be Wing Queen, our golden girl.
Sweet Street Cosmetics’ branding is focused on diversity and incorporating old-school glam elements that are relatable to those who grew up in Latinx families. How did you both go about finding which elements flawlessly fit into your vision?
Romero: We always feel that the best inspiration is right in our family photo albums & in the sweet streets of our neighborhoods. We love to center classic looks for Sweet Street, often these looks that we find across beauty have roots in our communities and that’s what we want to celebrate and spotlight.
Durazo: We are always inspired by the people and things that inspired us and helped form who we are. It’s literally been my mother’s winged liner, my tia’s big hairdos, the neighborhood Wing Queen, the lady at the grocery store with the long acrylics, the ice cream lady’s gold-capped teeth, and hands filled with gold rings. All of those things are fly and influence the beauty we love to highlight.
What would you say to Latinx entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses?
Romero: Make sure you know your “why” and your brand purpose. Being an entrepreneur is filled with ups and downs. Your WHY is going to carry you through on the very tough days.
Durazo: Whatever endeavor you decide to pursue, make sure you are absolutely in love with your mission and purpose. There are more hard days than there are easy days, and in order for you to have enough strength to deal with the challenges that will present themselves, you’ll have to be fueled by love. That’s the only thing powerful enough to help you get through anything in life.
Are there any new Sweet Street Cosmetics products that we can look forward to?
Romero: Our hero product is Wing Queen, our brush tip, matte black, won’t-budge eyeliner. It’s been amazing seeing even the biggest names in beauty co-sign her. We cannot wait to introduce you to her sister.
Durazo: There are so many things in the works I can’t even deal! Probably too far out to mention just yet, but we do have Wing Queens’ sister product launching soon! You’ll be pleasantly surprised and excited about her performance, durability, and color!
Images courtesy of Natalia Durazo and Lala Romero
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