Powerful women and strong Latina entrepreneurs can inspire, excite, and make the world a more beautiful and positive place. If there’s something we urgently need as we wrap up 2020, it is more positivity and beauty in the world.
That’s where Puerto Rican entrepreneur, Valeria del Rey, comes in. The creative mind behind La Gotta — a lifestyle, swimwear, and skincare brand determined to improve our relationship with the sun — del Rey is so much more than just a gorgeous woman with a knack for design. She’s a businesswoman and creative genius on a mission.
Her products are undeniably beautiful and sexy, but perhaps more importantly, they make the women who use them and who wear them feel beautiful too.
Her swimwear line combines the practicality of flattering fit and function with the glamour and sexiness women want. Her skincare products focus on sustainability, quality, and transparency, offering environmentally friendly, cruelty-free, clean products that actually work.
Her love for fashion, culture, and nature inspires everything she creates, and it’s guided by her unique flair and thoughtful attention to detail.
The La Gotta brand has a clear goal: to make women feel their best and improve their relationship with the sun — from what they wear to how they protect their skin and everything in between.
From her vast experience and world travels to her determination to continually reinvent herself and her brand, Valeria is a force to be reckoned with.
A skilled creator with years of experience working in top design houses worldwide (think Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford), Valeria has a vision for her brand, and it’s all centered around beauty. But not just beauty the way you may think of when you consider swimwear and skincare products; her products are meaningful, and she wants her clients to recognize that this new concept of beauty is not a luxury but an essential part of our daily life.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Valeria has always been extremely influenced and inspired by nature. The brand uses nature as its inspiration and constantly researches natural elements to create innovative products and stylish designs that are sustainable, functional, and beautiful.
Three years ago, she launched her successful swimwear line, with swimsuits and accessories carried at major retailers, including Victoria’s Secret and Showfields. This past September, she launched a new facial CBD sunscreen designed to fight inflammation, alongside other skincare and beauty products.
We sat down to chat with this badass entrepreneur and Latina powerhouse about all things La Gotta — the company, the mission, her latest ventures, her favorite products, and what’s coming next for her all-things-sunshine brand.
Tell us a little bit about your brand. How did you first come up with La Gotta? What inspired the name, and what is its mission?
With La Gotta, we are an ultra-holistic brand. It combines my love of designing and creating while also helping people feel beautiful and feel their best. “La Gota” means a drop of water in Spanish, “La Gotta” is our way of spelling it.
My family has medical dispensaries in Puerto Rico, so ever since they started over three years ago, my family has embraced CBD for pain and overall health, so that’s when I realized the potential benefits of CBD in skincare products. That’s why I decided to create skincare products with CBD to complement the overall wellness mindset of the brand.
La Gotta is a positive, female, natural, organic brand, and all of our products are designed to support that mission and that message.
You say that you want to help redefine customers’ relationship with the sun. What do you mean by that? And why do you feel that self-care is so crucial for women, now more than ever?
We really wanted to create a brand with products to help you during sun exposure and post-sun exposure as well. That’s why we created the CBD Sunscreen, and we also have our line of swimsuits with UV protection and our nourishing hair oil, among other products. It’s the whole La Gotta skin experience.
I had this idea for the La Gotta Skincare line pre-pandemic. But the pandemic was actually what pushed me to innovate and create this formula. We worked on these products for a year and a half, and once it was perfect, I knew I had to launch it. Mostly because people are spending so much time in front of screens during these times, we wanted to create a perfect product for day-to-day care and help protect you from harmful UV rays. And it’s great because you’re preventing damage before it happens while also caring for your skin.
All of our swimsuits’ fabrics are SPF 50, and one of our best-sellers is a long-sleeved suit that offers extra protection. Women are more aware of taking care of their skin these days, and with climate change, it’s more important than ever to be conscious about how the sun affects us. And it’s about the big picture — about how the sun can make you feel. We all need the sun and to be outside each day for our overall wellness. Our products allow you to safely absorb the positivity of the sun. We are helping women embrace nature.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve experienced as a Latina entrepreneur?
First of all, my background is more creative. I studied communications and history, and I’ve been into fashion all my life. I interned at several fashion companies. My experience has always been with the fashion side of things. So, the biggest challenge has been figuring out the finance side of the business.
In our culture, I feel that women often aren’t taught how to manage their own finances and how to run and expand a business financially. I never knew how to start in terms of the business side of the brand. That has been a challenge for me and a great learning experience.
The best way to learn is to do it, but it’s come with many lessons and many mistakes, all of which were important in order to grow and expand. Especially during the pandemic, there are so many things that we had to address and so many ways that we had to pivot our business and be smarter, and that was a big challenge.
The biggest challenge as a Latina is that I lacked certain knowledge going into the business. I didn’t have the experience in terms of financials, and it can be intimidating to ask questions and participate in money talk.
What is your favorite La Gotta product or must-have item on your holiday gifting list?
In terms of skincare, I’m very biased because I absolutely adore our new CBD Antioxidant Facial Sunscreen. It’s something that I use every day. It’s super nice and so good for you. It has antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory — as you know, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a physical sunscreen, not a chemical one, meaning that your skin absorbs all the necessary ingredients. Then it sits on your skin as a shield until you wash your face, as opposed to absorbing tons of unnecessary chemicals. That’s what makes it a clean, coral reef safe formula. It’s also not greasy and feels great on the skin.
I also love the Clear Quartz Gua Sha. This is a facial tool that helps sculpt and define your face and neck area. I love Gua Sha — I’ve been using them since long before I was selling them. It really does help with inflammation.
As far as swimsuits, it all depends on your style. Our best-seller is the Brassica, but my favorite style is actually the Strelitzia, a one-shoulder piece with an open back. It’s very elegant and sophisticated, and you can wear it as both a swimsuit and a top, so it’s excellent for the beach and post-beach time.
You seem always to be working on your next venture and next products. So what’s coming up for La Gotta? What new must-have products should we be looking out for?
We have several exciting things scheduled for next year. We’ll be expanding our skincare products to include a face oil, a hydrating face mask, and many additional during and post-sun exposure products to complement your sun experience. And in terms of La Gotta swimwear, we’re going to be expanding to offer resort wear, so we’re super excited.
We’ve been working on resort wear for a long time, but we haven’t launched it yet because we take a lot of time to carefully think through our products and designs. One item I’m really excited about is a coverup with the message “Raise Your Glass Not the Sea Level,” and it’s made out of recycled linens and all of the buttons discarded from factories because they didn’t match. We’ll be adding it to our collection soon.