Known as the “Queen of Curls” in Puerto Rico, Laura OM is on a mission to help women achieve self-love. She wants us to know that we can only embrace our natural beauty when we truly celebrate who we are inside and out. 

Laura is a celebrated, successful business owner. However, she’s also a visionary. She’s an artist with talents as a color chemist and hair stylist who has always been dedicated to embracing natural, curly hair. 

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Long before the media encouraged women to enjoy their curls, Laura hustled to make natural beauty the norm in Puerto Rico and beyond. Now, with Maranta Power, she is seeing her hair care dreams come true.

Born in Puerto Rico to a working-class family, Laura (born Laura Teresa Feliciano) was raised by her mother and grandparents. It was a home filled with love, she remembered fondly, “where everyone valued hard work and instilled faith in the divine and in the capability of human beings to accomplish anything we set our minds to,” she told FIERCE.

And hard work has certainly paid off for this pioneer. She went on to revolutionize the curly hair movement in her native Puerto Rico. 

It wasn’t always easy. But La Reina de los Rizos (as her clients and admirers call her) knew it was her calling to uplift communities. And she is doing just that with Maranta Power.

Image courtesy of Laura OM.

Challenges along the way shaped who Laura OM is and how she approached her businesses

Laura recognizes that success did not come overnight – it took many years of overcoming obstacles. Beginning with her dyslexia, which she now considers a superpower that gives her a unique perspective and the drive to work extra hard to achieve her dreams.

When Laura first returned to Puerto Rico after having studied and worked in Los Angeles, she opened her first business on the island. Called OM Studio, it was the first beauty salon in Puerto Rico dedicated to natural, curly hair (why her clients and fans now call her Laura OM). 

At this first salon, she learned how to manage and enhance natural curls. She also learned how to empower others to do the same by sharing her techniques, knowledge, and haircare skills.

Several years later, Laura launched Maranta Power, her haircare product line specializing in curly hair. This new endeavor was part of her commitment to always giving the best to the curly-haired community. 

Laura was first inspired to create this business by the lack of options for curly-haired people in Puerto Rico. She struggled to find products that would work while at her salon. Worse, the market was over-saturated with products to help people straighten their hair instead of celebrating their curls.

“This was the subject of frustration for me and my clientele. I promised myself that one day, I would develop a line dedicated to curly hair. And so the idea for Maranta Power was born,” she said.

Image courtesy of Laura OM.

Laura OM admits the struggles of starting and growing a business in Puerto Rico

From production to supply chain challenges, it took a lot of resilience to build a successful brand with growth opportunities on an international scale. 

Though her dream was always to create a product line produced solely in Puerto Rico – her previous hair care and beauty line named “OM My Goodness!” was made with 100% organic products in Puerto Rico and by Puerto Rican women – she knew in order to expand she would need to be strategic about creating a profitable business that was also true to her mission. 

Support from the Bravo Family Foundation, which seeks to promote the principles of social justice in Puerto Rico by empowering young people and leaders of underserved communities, was a huge boost to her business development. 

Thanks to involvement with the foundation’s Rising Entrepreneur Program, Maranta Power “has been able to escalate our business and further solidify our presence in Puerto Rico. Now we are ready to scale and bring our Maranta Power line to the entire curly hair community,” Laura said.

In the end, Laura OM believes it’s crucial to know your worth and feel passionate about your purpose. Her best advice to other Latina entrepreneurs is to figure out the problem and then get to work. 

“First, you need to identify a need in your community and then begin to cultivate the solution. Nothing is built in a day. But by giving love to your project every day, you could see it grow and blossom on the least expected day.”

And never, ever forget that your voice matters and your perspective is unique. “You are a unique individual, and no one will be able to repeat what you’ve done.”

What sets you apart often sets you up for success

For Laura OM, her unique ability to meet the hair care needs of Latinas set her apart and up for success.

Historically, people in Puerto Rico have always perceived curly hair as a negative feature. It was often called maranta as something derogatory – a quality that looked careless, disheveled, and unprofessional. 

“I have always disagreed with that negative connotation. I believe we all have to love each other as we are,” explains Laura. “In each maranta, there is something special. We proudly carry the power of our racial diversity.”

Now, she uses Maranta Power, both the brand and the products, to encourage her clients to feel safe to wear their well-cared-for maranta freely. 

Her mission doesn’t stop once the suds have washed out, and the curls are looking and feeling perfect 

It’s not just a product company. It’s a community and a movement.

In 2022, after four years of rescuing and restoring an abandoned building, Laura OM inaugurated a business space and a new concept. She named it Angelina in honor of her maternal grandmother. Her two salons, OM Studio and Rizo Adentro, are also there. Angelina is a center that brings together various businesses and provides opportunities for small and new merchants.

“I dedicate myself to educating through all my social platforms, informative writings, and educational workshops for professionals, enthusiasts, and parents so that we can raise our diverse voices and show our love for curls,” Laura proudly told FIERCE. In addition, “we’re working to integrate more resources like these into our website so that we can continue helping people who want to learn more about and enjoy their natural, curly hair.” 

So much of who Laura is and what she has created comes from the qualities and life lessons she learned from her community. 

“Latinos are, above all, hard workers, and we don’t give up easily. We’ve often been oppressed generation after generation, and that has made us very strong and persistent. I am what I am thanks to my Latino ancestors and their fight to be seen and heard.”

And it appears that Laura OM, who stands out for her spirituality, strength, and sense of perseverance, is only getting started.