Today we’d like to introduce you to April Ricardo.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Unlike many entrepreneurial narratives you see, I would have to say that my journey is very unique. I wasn’t your typical burnt out employee working many years seeking an awakening for a more purposeful life. I already knew as a teenager that my life’s calling was to create something of my own and flourish from it. My dilemma was figuring out how to nurture that ability.
There were segments of my life that kept hinting at me towards this path. I would take small actions for them to temporarily follow through, but after a short length of time, I would end up deserting it. My first attempt at being an entrepreneur was in high school. I discovered a DIY LiveJournal community in 2003 called “T-Shirt Surgery”. I became fascinated with the creations people presented which was mostly deconstructed and reconstructed clothing. I felt a belonging as my style at the time heavily reflected the music I listened to and everything presented there was right up my alley. I got into hand-sewing my own pieces and became inspired to sell them after I had seen a girl in the community link the items she made to her website. I asked my dad if he could buy me a domain and I designed a super basic website. The only forms of payment I could accept were cash or check via regular mail. I probably only got three sales, but one of them was all the way from Canada! This was very short-lived as the web domain expired after a year, but it was absolutely one of my proudest moments.
Second attempt was around 2007 during the MySpace era. Streetwear fashion emerged and I began to follow a few female-owned brands whom I found daily inspiration from. They perfectly modeled the kind of creative and successful woman I wanted to embody. A few ideas came to mind with graphic tee designs I could start off with and just right when I thought I had enough funds to get them made, I was laid-off from my part-time office job. I was a heavy thrifter at the time and had some good quality pieces of gently used clothing and accessories which were too nice to just leave at a donation bin, so I figured it would be a great idea to sell them through MySpace bulletins. Thankfully, I had supportive friends that purchased from me as I spammed the bulletins daily. MySpace died as a networking site a few years after, so I decided to focus on finishing college.
Over the next several years, I experienced my mom’s passing, juggled attending multiple schools, and graduating. I thought I was finally ready to join the working force many years of higher education prepares you for. I had been so busy just trying to get on with life that the dream of having my own brand just became an old memory. At the end of 2014, I became extremely unmotivated and felt a complete shift in my life. It was as if the ghost of my teenage years came back to haunt me with a reminder that I needed to get back and do something creative. Something that revealed my true self. I instantly knew that if I didn’t listen to this inner voice, I would surely regret it for the rest of my life.
Oxbloode was originally intended to be a nail polish line. There were a few setbacks the first year of my research phase, but finally in 2016, I changed gears and made a big decision to switch to lipstick. All my energy went towards working non-stop in getting everything going into a full-blown process. It was incredibly difficult and stressful, but the outcome was definitely all worth it. I actually enjoyed it. My products turned out really beautiful and exactly how I envisioned them to be. I created something from start to finish and was proud to officially launch Oxbloode on Halloween 2018!
Has it been a smooth road?
Creating a business from scratch is an incredibly challenging task, however, the flow of it came naturally to me. With no formal training or education in this field, I found Google to be my lifeline. There was no one to ask for step-by-step help since I did not have anyone close to me with a retail or online business. Having your own brand requires great attention to detail and tiny meticulous things matter. I always feel Oxbloode needs improvement, but it’s difficult to get a brand as grandiose as you envision it when you have limited time, money, and resources. You gotta make do with what you have!
The struggles I have faced as a busineses owner were miscommunication with suppliers, overdue deadlines, resulting products not meeting my standards, computer issues, overspending, time management, balancing a business with my full-time job, etc…I can keep going on, but these are learning stages that must be looked at as trial and error. I would not be here surviving my 2nd year had I not experienced all of those mishappenings.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Oxbloode – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Oxbloode is a cosmetics line launched in 2018 primarily selling matte liquid lipsticks. Every girl has that one makeup item that really sets their look and for me, it’s always some kind of lip product. I love matte liquid lipstick for the sole reason that it is meant to stay on all day. The formula really helps with reducing multiple applications. I find matte to have a more elegant look than gloss or lipstick with shine. Our brand carries a very comfortable moussey formula that won’t dry out your lips. The people who generally shy away from matte liquid lipstick are those who have had issues with formulas being extremely drying, but ours is unique and different. I carefully curated the aesthetic of the brand to fit a theme I have always loved—dark, mysterious and romantic, with a touch of classic glamour.
I am most proud for actually following through and launching this brand. It could have been another hopeless dream, but it’s pretty awesome how I put myself to work and made it happen! A few of the things that excite me about my brand are getting international orders or when people specifically come look for me at events after discovering Oxbloode through Instagram just so they can buy lipstick in person. It’s so flattering! I am pleased to announce that we will be adding two new product categories this year: press-on nails and jewelry!
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. and I am very proud to be an Angeleno! I hail from a suburban county called the “South Bay”, which has a more laid-back and family-friendly vibe in comparison to the busy city central hub of Los Angeles. There are so many events taking place every week which gives me lots of opportunities to work and share my brand. I am very grateful for that. And of course, what I like the least about L.A. is what we are most famous for—the traffic.
- Lipstick – $16
- Lipstick Sets – $42-95
- Nails – $13
- Jewelry – $16-30
- Website: www.oxbloode.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oxbloode/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oxbloode/