Greatest Hits Episode: Maribel Dominguez, Círculo de Belleza: Building a vertical marketplace to supply the professional beauty industry, Ep 175


For this week’s episode of Crossing Borders, we’re revisiting one of our greatest hits episodes featuring Maribel Dominguez, Founder and CEO of Circulo de Belleza.

After graduating from university in the US in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis, Maribel Dominguez decided to move back to her native Mexico until the economy got better. While she was home, Maribel and her dad came up with a business idea. They identified a problem that affects many industries: excess inventory. Together, they decided to found a company that helped corporations sell company’s surplus stock and landed star clients like L’Oreal and United Colors of Benetton.

That company she founded with her dad in 2009 would set the foundation for the eleven-year journey that would lead to Maribel founding Círculo de Belleza, a specialized B2B marketplace that supplies beauty salons and independent hairstylists. 

I sat down with Maribel to talk about why the distribution system in the professional beauty market is broken and the enormous opportunity it presents in an industry that is often overlooked.

An alternative to the traditional supplier

Maribel explains that there is a disconnect between big brands and the long tail of hair salons and independent stylists. With Círculo de Belleza, this unattended segment of the market has access to top name brands that they wouldn’t be able to buy elsewhere. In addition to access, these clients can buy products at wholesale pricing and get products delivered anywhere in Mexico.

Learn more about how Círculo de Belleza helps these small businesses overcome the traditional barriers to high-quality products in this episode of Crossing Borders.

A business where everybody wins

Throughout her journey as an entrepreneur, Maribel always had a clear vision of the type of business she wanted to be a part of. For one, she seeks businesses that challenge the status quo while making sure that everyone involved is winning. 

Find out how Maribel’s values translated to the way she decided on her business model in this episode of Crossing Borders.

On her decision to raise capital

During Maribel’s first ten years as an entrepreneur, she was bootstrapping her business– taking the returns and reinvesting them into the company. However, she realized that to transform the family-run business into a scalable solution she needed to think bigger, create something new that was scalable, and potentially raise external investment. 

Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders to learn more about Maribel’s experience raising money during a pandemic.

Círculo de Belleza is a great opportunity to connect underserved beauty professionals with the beauty products they need to run and grow their businesses.

Outline of this episode:

  • [1:39] – About Círculo de Belleza
  • [6:45] – Maribel’s path to entrepreneurship
  • [20:00] – Lessons learned from a nonscalable business
  • [23:00] – The fundraising process
  • [27:09] – Books, blogs, and podcast recommendation
  • [30:52] – What’s next for Círculo de Belleza?

Resources & people mentioned:

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