Team Liscious Story
The Lash Papi (previously known as Beautyliscious) was founded in 2014 by Ashley Gonzalez, looking to find balance between life as a full time mommy to a newborn and a 20 year old woman with newly developed dark circles under her eyes and fine lines. Needless to say, I was finding myself after this major life changing event of motherhood and needed a sense of normalcy, a boost of confidence... Youtube university was my vice! I watched every Jaclyn Hill and Teni Panosian makeup tutorial that ever existed and found all the affordable drugstore dupes for the high end products they were using. (As a SAHM I didn't have access to tons of capital) I used to dream of the day I could not only afford more luxurious products and tools, but even fantasized about one day having my own brand of products, Hakim, my then boyfriend, was super supportive (as always). So that is where it all started, I used what I had and started recording (super grainy low quality) makeup tutorials on my $129 Windows laptop Hakim bought me at Sams Club. I would put our newborn to sleep for a nap and hurriedly set up in front of the our bedroom window of our upstairs 2 bedroom apartment in a really rough neighborhood. The lighting actually wasn't so bad and when I was filming, it felt like I was "one of them". I forgot about my "real life problems", submerged in my alter ego of this successful free lance makeup artist in the outskirts of Hollywood. (I really only did my moms, cousins and a few teens I knew make-up for occasional events at the time). Eventually I grew a small following and some really cool friends from around the globe who shared similar dreams and ambitions.
Plot twist, life did what it does and took some unexpected turns, making it very difficult to keep up with this "pipe dream" of mine, as some of my family members would call it. So, I gave up on YouTube and kept makeup on the back burner as a fun outlet and side hustle over the years.
All the while, between going back to college when my baby grew a little older and then enrolling in university to become a college professor, Hakim always encouraged me to dig deep and never settle. He has a way with optimism ever since I met him, whether it was about finances, our relationship or anything really. Hakim saw something in me that I didn't at that time, he knew I was made to be my own boss and that I could do anything I put my mind to. In 2015 Hakim bought a well known and established barbershop and made it his own after moving from barbershop to barbershop for almost 5 years.
We both grew up in the beach city of Oxnard, historically known for its rich agricultural roots, which is the very thing that brought my grandparents and Hakim's mother to migrate from Mexico to the United States for work in the strawberry and celery fields in the 60's.
Being first generation immigrants like Hakim and the child of two, like Ashley, growing up in Southern California in the 90's was complicated to say the least. Now, by no means are we complaining, but there is this line from Selena Quintanilla's Biographical Film in 1997: Selena, where her father explains to his children the complexity of being Mexican-American. Basically, he rants about how exhausting it is that are stuck in this limbo where we have to essentially prove to other Mexicans how Mexican we are and to our Anglo community how American we are in order to be validated. In a nutshell, we have to be twice as perfect just to be seen as normal.
This is a very complex topic and as it related to the "American Dream" for Mexican immigrants, our ancestors could only hope that their kids would work hard in school to get a degree which would secure them a stable career working as a government official like law enforcement or a medical professional, or even a teacher or librarian. In essence, wealth was not even a possibility, the emphasis was simply stability and the ability to retire before you're too old to work.
Sort of bleak when you think of it like that, huh? This was the norm for kids like myself and my husband Hakim, so when he became a full fledged business owner, with an actual physical brick and mortar, with employees y todo at the age of 24... This changed everything for us, specifically for me. I was working full time at the Department of Motor Vehicles Monday - Friday 8am-5pm and Part time on the weekends at a salon doing makeup, plus going to college full time in attempts to get my masters in Sociology. When one day it hit me, I asked myself, "Do I REALLY want to keep killing myself and missing out on precious time with my loving family working for someone else? Living on eggshells and limiting my goals to what my direct superiors had accomplished?" The answer was, HELL NO! I am a skilled, talented, driven and educated Latina who does not have to settle for the life the world thinks I am destined to live. I can create my own version of success, and that is what I did.
Now, with the growth of my business, I now have recruited my husband and he is a huge asset to the company acting as another level of inspiration to not only young Hispanic women, but to men and any one else who dreams of making a career that they are passionate about, regardless of your background or what your family thinks of it. There is room for any and everyone in this industry and it is our mission to exemplify that very message, for every person out there with a dream.
We are more than our skin color, the clothes we wear, the accent in our language, the level of education and more than the neighborhoods we grew up in.
As long as we work together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.