Selected 2005

Leila Velez

  • Current company Beleza Natural
  • Country Brazil
  • Inudstries Consumer

Brazilian women who battle with their kinky, tightly curled hair often brave four-hour lines at Beleza Natural salons. There, their locks are tamed and smoothed by a patented relaxing product developed by former hairdresser and company founder Heloisa de Assis.

Growing up in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, Assis recognized the need for a product and process that made an underserved population of women feel “naturally beautiful.” After perfecting her formula, Assis opened her first salon in 1993 with her husband Jair, brother Rogerio and sister-in-law Leila, who now serves as the CEO. An immediate success, the franchise currently includes 26 salons in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Each serves up to 1,000 customers per day, processing up to forty clients at a time through their seven-step process. Beleza Natural has also developed a complete line of hair care products, operates a lab to conduct cosmetic research and maintains partnerships with several universities in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and São Paulo. Since selection by Endeavor, Beleza Natural has increased employment by 214%.

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