The Marina Bella Story: How a hair salon disaster in Honduras jumpstarted my business
It was summer 2010 and my husband had just informed me that we were moving south of the border to exotic Honduras in Central America for his new job assignment. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do next with my career, but entrepreneurship was definitely on the radar. As my husband and I prepared our move with two kids in tow, the first thing that I stressed about was how to maintain my chemically relaxed hair in Latin America.
I searched throughout Tegucigalpa and finally found “a black hair salon” in our new home. I assumed that they knew more about my hair than the other salons specializing in straight hair. Located deep in the “barrios” of Honduras with loud Reggeton and salsa music blasting on the radio, “Maria’s Sala de Belleza” as I shall say, was a black girl’s heaven. It was the best option in the city to get a relaxer and they had stylists who supposedly knew how to care for Afro textured hair. My excitement finally succumbed to reality as I saw my hair slowly shedding in the bathroom sink. Maria’s lack of running water and poor relaxing skills almost made me bald. My hair was weak, brittle, and over processed. I should have run for the door as soon as I saw the bucket of water that was used to rinse my hair, but ignored the signs.
My frustrations with my salon experience led me to form my cosmetic distribution company, Marina Bella Imports. I saw that there was a major gap of quality hair products on the local market and wanted to address the growing demand. Through hustle and drive, my company soon became distributor for Luster’s Products in Honduras which later grew to representing other U.S. brands abroad like Cortex Professional and GK Hair Professional. When we moved back to the United States, I became even more immersed in the beauty industry, and thus started an online beauty supply store. Every year at Marina Bella Imports, we add new brands to our inventory ranging from hair care products to flat irons and blow dryer. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be in the hair industry but here I am determined to give you, my client, your best beauty shopping experience. Welcome to Marina Bella Imports, “bienvenidos”, as they would say in Honduras!