When Jackie Hernandez started her YouTube channel her only goal was to create a space where she could pass along what she’d learned years prior at makeup artist school. The classes, which she’d taken at the encouragement of her older sister, became one of the ways she adjusted to America after emigrating from Mexico.
At the time of starting her YouTube channel, there was no way Hernandez could have known that the path would eventually lead to living out a life-long dream of launching her own cosmetics brand, J’dez.
“Having my own cosmetics brand has been a dream of mine for years,” explains Hernandez, who has over two million subscribers across her YouTube channels and a combined following of close to two million followers on Instagram and Facebook … a dream she self-funded and postponed other goals for.
“It will never be the perfect time to do something and you will always find excuses to postpone things,” shares Hernandez. “For me, I either followed my dream or bought a house. I could continue just dreaming, but I’d rather take a shot and live my dream.”
Below Hernandez shares how the community she’s built across YouTube and her social platforms helped give her the push to start the brand, what she’s learned during her career as an entrepreneur and what other Latinas should be taking to heart.
Vivian Nunez: Across YouTube and your social platforms you speak both English and Spanish, how have you managed to keep both your English- and Spanish-speaking audience engaged?
Jackie Hernandez: By being authentic and staying true to who I am. The videos in my main channel are pretty much all in Spanish, but that’s because my audience is mostly Spanish-speaking. However, in my other platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, I try to always communicate in both English and Spanish. My second YouTube channel, my vlog, is also mostly Spanish with some Spanglish mixed in as my family speaks mostly English. My content is truly a reflection of my life.
A recent experience comes to mind as a fan asked (in Spanish) why I write my J’dez postcards in English and not Spanish since I am a Latina and a majority of my followers speak Spanish. I responded (in Spanish) that I always write in both languages. I am proud of being a bilingual Latina and that for international business knowing English is extremely important. Further, being Latina does not mean limiting myself to only communicate in Spanish. On the contrary, I’d love that all my Latinas know more than one language so we can be even stronger.
Nunez: How do you approach content strategy?
Hernandez: The best overall strategies are always to work hard and be consistent. I pay attention and listen to what my followers are saying. I’m always researching new trends and I’m always learning from my peers. Sometimes, it gets overwhelming, but I read most of my followers’ messages on all my platforms daily. I tend to reply to some everyday as well. It’s important to keep learning from them constantly about what they’d like to see, however, to stay authentic, I always listen to myself first and develop the content around who I am.
Nunez: You self-funded your beauty line. How did you go about setting financial goals and making sure you had everything in order?
Hernandez: Self-funding my business took a lot of planning and budgeting. One of my top goals is of course, recovering my initial investment so we created a plan to do so without limiting or adding pressure on the company and its growth. Our financial goals impact everything from retail pricing to promotions and also wholesale. We had to think about what assets we had and how we could leverage them in order to keep expenses down and continue building. From there, we set realistic financial goals and try to stay focused and not stray away from them.
Since I do not have investors or any outside money, I have to work twice as hard. I have to keep generating income by running my initial business with YouTube while I continue building J’dez. We don’t have the luxury of having a lot of employees so sometimes my days are really long. From taking care of my family and children to filming and editing to going to meetings and taking phone calls to doing customer service and creating content for our social media platforms to finally ending the day around 3 or 4 am after packing and getting orders ready to ship the next day with my team.
Nunez: What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Hernandez: To never give up no matter how impossible things may seem and to never compare my path with someone else’s path. If you fail, it’s okay. Accepting failure opens the door to clearly see what you need to learn. Get up, dust yourself off and keep moving because “success” is built on lots of failures. If you’re scared of failing, you become the failure. Remember that everyone has a different definition of success so work on yours. Lastly, be patient, take your shot, and always move forward.
Nunez: What advice would you want to give a Latina entrepreneur who wants to start something, whether it be a YouTube channel or makeup line?
Hernandez: I get asked this question a lot. The advice that I would give to a Latina entrepreneur or anyone who wants to start a YouTube channel is very easy: Stop thinking about it and just do it! Make sure it is truly your passion because it will reflect in your content. Make sure you’re in it for the right reasons. Be consistent and don’t give up. I didn’t do it for the money. I started because I was bored and wanted to teach others what I was taught. It wasn’t until two years after I started doing YouTube that I found out that you could make money there.