Inspiring Latina: Meet Gabriela Hernandez, The Founder Of Bésame Cosmetics

Besame Cosmetics Founder Gabriela Hernandez

What’s the most rewarding part of owning and managing Besame?

Beyond the time I spend researching developing new products and lecturing on the history of cosmetics, I find the most rewarding part is seeing how my creations evoke so much sentiment, memories and joy in our customers. We recently had a customer stop in the store to let us know how much she loved our products and especially our new fragrances. She said the 1940s scent would bring her to tears as it its was how she remembered her grandmother. There are no words to describe that feeling.

What’s the most challenging part?

Keeping the balance of production, finances and attention to detail.

Where do you see your brand in five years?

We are going through wonderful growth now because of our increased distribution in Sephora and Anthropology stores. We see that progressing this year and next with many more products in the line that are now in development. We will also be more involved in films and television as more artists recommend our products and use them on set.

In 5 years we will be approaching 17 years in our journey to become an iconic American Luxury Brand.  

Your products are all beautiful packaged — what inspired your design aesthetic?

I love artwork from all different periods. Turn of the century packaging, Art Deco designs, materials used in the past, all inspire me to create new packaging that has a connection to that esthetic. For me packaging is an art form, it is how I express my vision of traditions that need to be passed to the next generation.

What would be your advice for fellow Latinas and/or immigrants who hope to start their own business?

Look for mentors in your field to help you avoid pitfalls and encourage you to succeed. Ask others in a similar businesses what their challenges are and learn from their mistakes. You would be surprised the information and guidance that can come if you just ask for advice. Do your research before starting any venture. Know your numbers, and if you are not good with numbers pick up a book and learn.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Pick your battles. Not everything is worth the fight.

We have to ask: what products are your personal favorites? What do you use?

I like all my products, since I have to use them and love them before I will make them for you, but I use Cake Mascara ($25, daily, I use Crimson Cream Rouge ($22, daily, and my red lipstick always. I alternate between Red Hot Red for a pick me up, Red Velvet for meetings, and Cherry Red for a night out. ($22,

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