Saturday, May 9, 2009
Mirta de Perales
Mirta de Perales is the quintessential Latina
entrepreneur. She started from scratch, coming to the
U.S. from Cuba with only $5 and only 5 minutes, she
became a household name. Maybe it was her show
“Cinco Minutos con Mirta de Perales”or maybe it
was that special time mother and daughter spent
bonding as Mami put the Aceite de Mirta de Perales
on her little girl’s hair. Whatever it was, Mirta de
Perales is synonymous with beautiful hair.
With “Cinco Minutos con Mirta de Perales”, she
showed us how to use her products and how to
properly brush your hair -with the Mirta de Perales
brush of course! But most of all, Mirta de Perales
showed us how beautiful we really are!
She had an entrepreneurial spirit as a young girl,
when she did her neighbor's hair to help bring income
to the family. At the tender age of 15, she was a
professional beautician. She started a small beauty
parlor in Cuba after she got married. It grew to about
100 employees, making it one of the largest beauty
parlors in Latin America.
What was so special about Mirta’s beauty salon?
She developed a hair product line to meet the needs of
her clientele. Soon the hair product line was a bigger
business than her beauty salon!
Because of Fidel, she came to the United States, like
so many Cubans. She came to the U.S. with literally
$5.00 to her name. She started a beauty salon and
her product line again from scratch. Luckily for her,
her raw material suppliers were in the U.S. so she
was able to continue with her special formulas here in
the U.S. The only thing missing was her show.
In Cuba, Mirta developed a live Sunday evening 30
minute show called "Luzca Siempre Bien" where she
would address different hair problems and show how
to solve them. Anything from how to wash your hair
properly, to how to apply her now famed Oil
Treatments, to how to take care of your children's
appearance. She also focused very much on the
importance of appearance and how that contributes to
one’s self esteem.
In Miami, the local Hispanic channel, Channel 23
(now Univision), gave her the opportunity but they
could only give her 5 minutes and there began "Cinco
Minutos con Mirta de Perales" in the late '70's. But
as fate would have it, 5 minutes was all she needed!
Now the Mirta de Perales enterprise is being run by her
daughter, Mirtica, who gave me a little more than 5
minutes of her time and explains her role in the business.
“I would like to carry on in my mother’s tradition, bringing
to our customers our traditional products that are tried and
true, and always incorporating new advances in the field
of hair care.”
She explains the new products they carry.
“Recently we incorporated our Silky Gloss and Shine, a
silicone based product that is excellent for filling in
damaged hair and making the surface smooth and
sealing the hair cuticle. This makes for very bright and
strong hair. Our last product that is absolutely wonderful,
and every one who tries it comments on its effectiveness,
is our Deep Conditioning Hair Masque. This product will
dramatically improve damaged dry hair. It leaves hair
shiny, soft and silky. We hope to continue identifying our
customers’ hair needs and bring to them the true
solutions to their hair problems as our slogan says,
‘Cualquiera que sea su problema de cabello, Mirta tiene
la respuesta.’ ”
How does she feel about taking on the legacy that her
mother began? Mirtica says,
“Well it is quite an honor and a privilege for me to be now
in charge of my mother’s company, as she is semi-
retired. To her, this company, her products, her
customers, are and have always been the most
important thing in her life, second only to her family. She
instilled the love for our products and our customers in
me. I hope to carry on her legacy well.”
And of course who better to ask for advice than one who
started an empire with literally $5.00 in her pocket?
“My mother says that the key to success from her own
experience is Tenacity, and her deep faith in God. I can
also add - hard work, dedication, optimism, and
visualizing. Do try to imagine where you want to go, what
you want to accomplish. Money should not be your
goal. How to truly serve your cus