- Early on in Alicia’s beauty career, she started her own radio show, “The Health Buzz,” where she interviewed top experts and doctors about the latest beauty trends and innovations. Her exposure to beauty during this time is what inspired her to create Grande Cosmetics, and the product that started it all, GrandeLASH-MD, a lash enhancing serum that came onto the market in 2008.
- Growing up, Alicia was heavily influenced by her mother, who she says was her biggest mentor. “She worked behind the counter in department stores in cosmetics and out in field merchandising. This led me to work in cosmetics when I was just 16, in flea markets selling private label cosmetics and in department stores selling fragrance,” Alicia says. “My mother had a thrilling career as a beauty ambassador at department store cosmetics counters. It was inspiring to see her empowering women to look and feel their best.” Alicia jumped into the beauty world by managing a cosmetics booth. “It was amazing having clients trust my recommendations while also helping them find their inner confidence. It’s what inspired my mission for Grande Cosmetics.”
- One of the biggest obstacles Alicia faced when launching her company was raising money, and ultimately she invested her savings to create the business. “It was scary and challenging, especially since my husband lost his finance job in 2008 and I had to find a way to support my family. At the time, my sons were 8 and 5 years old and I had to leave them to travel across the U.S. to attend various trade shows to promote my product. It was incredibly tough; I was basically living out of a suitcase and on the road away from my family for quite a while,” Alicia recalls.
- Alicia built her brand the old-fashioned way: working the trade show circuit. “I sold at trade shows directly to salons and spas. This was a big part of my success and I’m forever grateful for the professional support I had and still have to this day.”
- Alicia’s advice to newbies is to be patient yet determined. “Understand that success doesn’t happen overnight and that years of ongoing hard work are crucial to success. Having passion about the product you are selling is so important.”
- To keep it all in balance, when Alicia isn’t working, she is a spa junkie who loves to exercise, hike with her dogs, and relax with her husband and family. She also plays pickleball, the sport that has become a national phenomenon in recent years. “I’m very competitive in business and sports. Even though I can play the game well, it seems I’m just not getting much better.”
- Alicia is also extremely passionate about supporting women’s health; she has recently joined the advisory board for the Katz Institute, which is a part of Northwell Health. “The purpose of the Katz Institute is to treat women’s bodies differently than men’s bodies when taking care of women from a medical perspective. I’m honored to be a part of that revolution.”
Alicia is a 2023 Female Founder Award Honoree. Be sure to celebrate her and all of this year’s Women’s Leadership Awards Honorees at CEW’s annual luncheon, held on April 25 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom.