“Give the people what they want.” Sometimes it is not always about you. For instance, when I was determining what I wanted to post on my Instagram cosmetics page, I wanted to post things that had cool videos and effects, but these days people are more focused on the actual product. So, I learned to give the people what they want.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Maria Raquel Thomas.
Maria Raquel Thomas is a 14-year-old Entrepreneur, Youtuber and Philanthropist. She is the owner of Maria Raquel Thomas Cosmetics.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”?
Hello, my name is Maria Raquel Thomas, and I am a 14-year-old teen entrepreneur. I own a beauty brand called Maria Raquel Thomas Cosmetics. I am also the National Youth Ambassador for an organization called Stand-Up for Kids. It is a non-profit that focuses on combatting youth homelessness. In my spare time, I like to build robots and roller coasters.
What led you to this path at such a young age?
In January 2018, I started my first company, Ria’s Slime Shop. My goal was to produce products that helped calm anxiety amongst the Z-generation. As my business geared up, I noticed I started to have problems with my lips chapping. It was embarrassing for me and it did not make me feel confident. So, I came up with a solution. I went back into my business “science lab” and started developing items to help with chapping. In 2020, I started Maria Raquel Thomas Cosmetics. I am proud to state my first collection sold out in a week! I now have a second collection called Girl Power that has eyeshadows, lip glosses and lip care products.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you are doing that is disruptive?
I am disrupting society’s views on beauty. My goal with Maria Raquel Thomas Cosmetics is to enhance the natural beauty of girls and build up their self-confidence. For example, I used positive adjectives in the naming of the products to give girls reminders of how amazing the really are. I use words such as Beautiful, Confident, Adventurous, Dreamer, Determined, etc.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first started my beauty line, my first collection, the D.R.I.P. Collection, was all handmade and I would have trouble filling the tubes up. There is an unwritten rule that when you fill up your lipgloss tubes, you only fill them up to a certain amount. If you do not, they could overflow. I did not know that until afterward and when I closed the lipgloss tubes, they would squirt out and get everywhere. I made a big mess of lipgloss all over my ‘science lab’. After the lipgloss spilled everywhere it was hard to clean up. Lesson learned, study up on your products.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
My parents have been my mentors and they have really helped me grow my business. My parents are Veterans, and, in our household, there is a rule that if you have a problem, you must come up with a few solutions. This was extremely helpful when it came to my lipgloss filling tube incident. My solutions were to buy a lipgloss filling machine, continue to use a filling tube, or have them professionally manufactured.
Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
Disrupting an industry can be both a positive and a negative thing. Disrupting an industry in a positive way is a good thing and it shows that you are doing something at a higher level. I am doing just that. I believe everyone is beautiful. So, my products are geared toward enhancing their natural beauty. Disrupting an industry in a negative way could hurt others. For example, if a company has a skin care line that does not protect the environment, it could cause a negative impact on our planet.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you have gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
1) “Give the people what they want.” Sometimes it is not always about you. For instance, when I was determining what I wanted to post on my Instagram cosmetics page, I wanted to post things that had cool videos and effects, but these days people are more focused on the actual product. So, I learned to give the people what they want.
2) “If it were easy everyone would be doing it. Having a business and then trying to grow your business is not the easiest thing in the world. There have been times when I felt down but once I received that advice, it motivated me. To be successful, I know I must work at it and keep working at it.
3) “Follow my heart and you’ll do great.” I believe that if you are passionate about something and you love doing it, nothing can stand in your way.
We are sure you are not done. How are you going to shake things up next?
We are now working on my new beauty collection. My goal is to continue to build girl’s self-confidence through my products. I am also working with Stand-Up for Kids to bring more awareness to the public about how we can combat youth homelessness.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Women disrupters are more judged. Through my product line, I am telling girls that they are powerful and beautiful. Some people may feel that not every girl is beautiful and powerful. I disagree. Yes, we are.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that has had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
‘Reach for the Skai’ by Skai Jackson was a very inspirational book for me. It really motivated me to do something I love. This book told me that EVERYONE goes through ups and downs in life to be successful. Sometimes we do not always get to see the journey it takes for that successful person to be in the place that they are in. I think it is amazing to see another person’s point of view on success. The bottom line is that we must take the stairs and not the elevator to success.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could inspire a movement it would be to help combat youth homelessness. I believe all kids should have an education because it will benefit not only the child but the planet. Who knows, one day they could be a scientist and find the cure for a disease.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote is “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” This is relevant to me because this quote constantly reminds me that having a business may not be easy but if I keep pushing myself it will be worth it.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can find Maria Raquel Thomas Cosmetics products at www.mariaraquelthomas.com. To see all the products in action, check out my Instagram and Facebook @mariaraquelthomas!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!