Author Archives: Victoria Benitez

Meet the Lipstick Angels


This week, we’re kicking off our #COLORMEBRAVE campaign, an effort to encourage all women– wherever they may be in their own personal health journeys–  to prioritize breast cancer screenings, and to recognize those who have walked through cancer themselves or know a loved one who has. This has been a cause dear to our hearts ever since we met our friend and makeup artist Renata Helfman, whose non-profit has given the idea of self-care a much deeper meaning.

For over fifteen years, Renata has worked in Los Angeles as a celebrity makeup artist and lover of all things clean beauty. Looking to expand her understanding of non-toxic beauty, Helfman began volunteering in 2011 with cancer patients at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. During her time there, she quickly realized there were no wellness treatments in place at the hospital to help patients cope and to find joy in the midst of difficulty and pain. When the time came to launch her nonprofit organization, Lipstick Angels, it only made sense to stick to what she knew best — beauty.

Almost eight years later, Lipstick Angels serves around 10,000 and counting clients annually at six different comprehensive cancer centers nationwide. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to volunteer or be a part of a Lipstick Angels event, then you likely quickly realized that their services and presence aren’t what you find at a typical cancer care and awareness event. Lipstick Angels’ overarching mission is to shed light on the importance and beauty of self-care for women and men at their most vulnerable stages. The nonprofit provides patients with a wide range of educational beauty support services bedside or while they are receiving chemotherapy infusions. Their complimentary services include makeup application, hydrating facials and skincare, hand massages and aromatherapy using only natural and/or organic beauty products.


Over the years, Lipstick Angels has been able to create a safe and encouraging space for thousands of cancer patients, and has reminded all of us that taking the time to feel beautiful is something that everyone deserves, regardless of whether you get to care for yourself at home or in a hospital. Their personalized one-on-one beauty and skincare services give patients an opportunity to feel pampered, supported, provide time for them to learn and share from each other, and to create a peaceful and enjoyable experience that feels unique and unattached from a normal hospital stay.

Similar to Lipstick Angels’ commitment to clean beauty and service, our mission at W3LL PEOPLE renata-w3ll-people-optimist-lipstick goes far beyond the confines of simply making you look good. Our promise since the beginning has always been to create products that encourage self-expression and creativity without jeopardizing your health or managing perceptions of what is or isn’t “beautiful”. Safe, non-toxic, beneficial ingredients are the cornerstone of each product in our collection, and our Optimist Lipsticks are no exception. Each of the 7 semi-matte shades in the collection is formulated with organic shea butter, jojoba oil, vitamins, and omega oils to ensure a long-lasting, hydrating, botanical benefits for your lips. Our products never contain parabens, dyes, fragrance, artificial preservatives, sulfates, petrochemicals, nanoparticles, or any other questionable fillers or ingredients. 

Our latest collaboration has left our hearts filled with gratitude and we are so excited to share it with you, and we’re even more excited to feature it during Breast Cancer Awareness month as a way to support and recognize all of the brave & beautiful women who have fought the battle against breast cancer.


Meet BRAVE, a bright coral, limited-edition shade of our Optimist Lipstick! We created this fearless shade in partnership with our friends at Lipstick Angels, and we’re most excited to share that all proceeds from the sale of BRAVE will be donated to support their mission to restore and strengthen the dignity, hope, and self-esteem of cancer patients through nurturing beauty support services.

BRAVE is only available while supplies last, and we’re thrilled to offer you the opportunity to contribute to the very important work of Lipstick Angels, and to look good doing it. 🙂 

Our Co-founder and Clean Beauty Makeup Guru, Shirley, has created an easy, glowing look using BRAVE as the centerpiece to tie it all together:

To complete this look, we used a couple swipes of  the Narcissist Foundation Stick across the complexion to cover redness. We love this foundation stick for its versatility as a concealer, foundation, and even an eyelid primer. We followed it up with our Bio Bronzer Stick and Bio Brightener Cream Stick for a non-greasy, kissed-by-the-sun glow. After a swipe of our beloved Expressionist Pro Mascara & Brow Gel, we finished the look off with our BRAVE Lipstick. With tones of bright coral taking center stage, this lipstick is long-lasting and can easily be blended for a soft or more dramatic look depending upon how you’re feeling.


We love sharing new products regardless of the occasion or mission behind it, but it feels particularly special to release a shade in partnership with Lipstick Angels, and to support a nonprofit that understands that beauty should be attainable for everyone, all of the time. 

We hope you love this gorgeous Optimist Shade as much as we do and that every time you put it on you’re reminded of the work of Lipstick Angels, and all of the women and men they’ve had the opportunity to love on and support. 

Join the conversation by sharing how you wear your tube of BRAVE on Instagram by tagging @w3llpeople, @credobeauty, and @lipstickangels. Post your story using #COLORMEBRAVE and don’t forget to tag all of the amazing, beautiful, and BRAVE women in your life!

Feeling inspired and want to learn more on how you can become involved? Apply here to become an Angel for Lipstick Angels.

Tried & Tested EWG-Verified Bronzers for Fall

The final days of summer are here. The warm weather may be ending, but that doesn’t mean your glow has to end, too! We rounded up our best-selling and EWG-verified bronzers that keep us glowing all season long, along with a few of our favorite clean beauty approved tips to help you transition into fall. These skin tricks will help you maintain that sun-kissed look even when the temperature begins to drop!

Must-have Bronzers


The Bio Baked Bronzer Powder is a cult-favorite and one that will always have a special place in our collection. It provides a naturally flawless, glowing coverage with a weightless, satin finish. Simply swipe the powder with a fluffy, Kabuki brush below the cheekbones and round up to the temples in a “C” shape. In the winter months, use our bronzer to warm up the skin to give off a healthy glow.

Key ingredients: 

  • White Clay controls shine and absorbs impurities 
  • Magnolia Bark is a powerful antioxidant 
  • Organic Corn Starch conditions and smooths the skin 


Our Bio Bronzer Powder provides an instant sun-kissed and natural bronzed look in a few simple swipes! What we love most about the loose powder is you can control how much or how little you put on. Natural minerals help warm the complexion, correct excess redness, and create added dimension and definition. The Allure Best of Beauty award winning formula features fresh water pearl and algae that balances skin tone and diminishes redness and rosacea.

Key ingredients: 

  • Fresh Water Pearl improves skin texture and boosts collagen production
  • Organic Aloe best known to soothe, calm, and hydrate the skin
  • Organic Green Tea is a powerful antioxidant


If you love cream-based products our Bio Bronzer Stick is going to be a must-have for your makeup bag. Not only does it melt right into the skin, it is super easy to blend and leaves the skin with a luminous, dewy glow and hydrated feel. The Organic green tea, olive and aloe inside its formula also helps to create radiant, rejuvenated skin. It’s fun-size is perfect to grab & go! 

Key ingredients: 

  • Olive Fruit Oil hydrates the skin
  • Jojoba Oil hydrates the skin
  • Organic Aloe is best known to soothe, calm, and hydrate the skin
  • Organic Green Tea is a powerful antioxidant

Bronzers can seem intimidating to any makeup newbieOur Bio Bronzer Cream Mini makes for a good entry point to bronzer if you’re a novice. Simply pat the product in until you’ve reached your desired coverage level. This is the easiest way to achieve a soft bronze effect in the most natural way possible.

Our Best Bronzer Hacks

W3LL PEOPLE Co-Founder and Clean Beauty Guru has all the hacks you need to achieve the perfect glowing bronzed look.
  1. Less is more. Using the W3LL PEOPLE Kabuki Brush, apply powder bronzer in light layers. Check your work in natural sunlight to ensure that you haven’t over-applied.
  2. To create definition and sun-kissed warmth, sweep bronzer from your temple to your cheekbone and round it out to the jawline. For that fresh off the beach look, dust a touch of bronzer onto the bridge of your nose.
  3. Brush a light dusting of the Bio Brightener Invisible Powder to your complexion prior to applying bronzer. This will keep cream or powder bronzer from looking blotchy or uneven. 
Ready to get glowing? Use the chart below to determine the best bronzer for your skin type:

NEW Expressionist Volumizing Mascara for the Bold Lash-Obsessed

We’re turning the volume all the way up with the latest addition to our mascara lineup: NEW Expressionist Volumizing Mascara. Trust us, it’s not for the fainthearted.


For many of us, mascara is the go-to desert island product we can’t live without. We’ve heard from so many of you over the past years how much you love our Expressionist Mascara Pro. She not only became our number one bestseller, but won so many awards along the way, thanks to YOU. Our NEW Expressionist Volumizing Mascara builds upon that success, literally and figuratively, for supersized lashes that demand attention. Checkout the winning features that place it a swipe above the rest:

  • Highly pigmented for intense, deep, eye defining color
  • Plant fibers thicken and lengthen lashes naturally
  • Hourglass shaped, bristle brush creates XL volume and lift
  • Clump proof and water resistant
  • Organic botanicals condition lashes and nourish follicles
  • Anti-microbial organic beeswax

But now on to what you really want to know: How dramatic is the volume? Like its little sister, the Expressionist Volumizing Mascara has the same formula of premium natural and organic ingredients with the exception of double the amount of cellulose. Cellulose is a sustainable plant fiber our Beauty Dream Team sourced to create smooth, soft, and lush lashes, without clumping or smudging throughout the day.


Did we mention the Expressionist Volumizing Mascara is as also clean as it gets: EWG Verified Non-Toxic, 100% Cruelty-Free, Petroleum-Free, Paraben Free, Gluten-Free, Coal-Tar Free, Aluminum-Free, Fiber-Free. Given this uber clean status it is suitable for people with sensitive eyes.



We can’t wait for you to try it and confident Expressionist Volumizing Mascara will quickly become your everyday go-to mascara, particularly for those wanting some extra oomph!

11 Years of Clean Beauty: Marking Milestones with Friends

Yep, it’s finally here: 11 years. Eleven years in the making of W3LL PEOPLE and it feels so d*mn good to be the original champion of clean beauty! Whether you’re new here or not, we’re really excited to share more of all the stuff—big or small, far and wide–that constantly inspires us each day. Since day one, we’ve promised premium natural ingredients and have stood by our strict standards of non-toxic formulas and performance-driven cosmetics. We’re a team made up of dreamers, creatives, media mavens, and change-makers. Our work is a reflection of our team and we certainly could not have done it without each and every one of them. As a special birthday celebration, we want to introduce you to the faces behind W3LL PEOPLE.  

This month we took some time to reflect and see what our team had to say in honor of our 11th anniversary—here’s what we asked our team:

1)  What does clean beauty means to you?

2) Why are you passionate about sharing W3LL PEOPLE? 

3) One (or two) W3LL PEOPLE items you never leave home without. 

Meet the Founders:


Shirley Pinkson

Co-Founder, Clean Beauty Makeup Guru

1) “Clean beauty keeps things real. It’s about elevating awareness and transparency in so much more than just makeup. Clean beauty inspires us to make powerful, healthier choices for ourselves and those we love.”

2) “It’s super simple: to inspire change (for the better). And, W3LL PEOPLE performs like a dream!

3) “Bio Tint Multi-action Moisturizer and Nudist Multi-use Stick in Nude Rose.”



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James Walker

Co-Founder, Tree-hugging Entrepreneur

1) “Challenging the status quo and demanding innovation for positive change.”

2) “To create a brand that crosses borders, provides access to beautiful, healthier choices and inspires a community is gratifying on the deepest level. To get to do it with my two best friends who have seen me at my worst and my best is a blessing.”

3) “Bio Correct Concealer and Bio Bronzer Stick.”



Renée Snyder, MD

Co-Founder, Board Certified Dermatologist

1) “Clean beauty is a choice, the choice to make a change, to decide that your health is an investment and not an expense. The choice to pick a product line to use that is EWG verified and works.” 

2) “I’m passionate about W3LL PEOPLE because of the quality ingredients and performance, but I believe that beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. I use W3LL PEOPLE because it enhances who I am, it does not transform me.”

3) “I won’t leave home without my Expressionist Mascara and Optimist Lipstick in shade #6 – Retrograde.”


Meet the team:

Sarah Sims

Sales & Marketing Director

1) “It feels great knowing I’m making good choices for my body and our planet. We vote with our dollars and I want my sarahvote to be loud and clear. If you make beauty products that contain the same chemicals as anti-freeze, cause cancer and other serious health issues, and test on animals, I won’t support you. I feel confident supporting a company that has been a pioneer in the mission to create healthy, safer cosmetics.”

2) “Seeing the reaction of my family and friends when they finally make the switch to clean beauty is what makes this all worth it! This, and the fact that W3LL PEOPLE’s founders are true visionaries who deeply believe in the clean beauty mission, and fully stand by their products.”

3) “Narcissist Foundation Stick, and Expressionist Mascara —these must-have items give me everything I want to put my best face forward, and make me feel ready to take on the world (or at least the checkout line at Whole Foods)!”

victoriaVictoria Benitez

Digital Content Manager 

1) “Choosing clean beauty means to me that one day because of our positive choices we make now we will no longer have to wonder what’s in this foundation or that lipstick, because all of it will be clean and safe. It’s up to us to make that commitment and change to nontoxic beauty. ”

2) “It’s hard not to tell everyone about W3LL PEOPLE when their mission is one to stand by. Working for a brand that believes in better standards for an entire industry and safer planet as a whole not only feels good, but truly is a responsibility in itself!”

3) “I can’t leave the house without my Expressionist Mascara and Brow Gel, I know I don’t need them to be powerful, but once they’re on, I feel like I can handle pretty much whatever comes my way.”

0Gabrielle Chapman

eCommerce Manager

1) “Clean beauty means fierce self-love. Clean beauty means counter culture. Clean beauty means empowerment. It means liberation from the bullsh*t! At least a part of it.”

2) “I know the products are safe and beautiful, aesthetically.”

3) “Expressionist Mascara in Pro Black! Second, I have never been a brow girl but I love the Expressionist Brow Gel (in blonde for a natural look and brown for a dramatic look).”


Mariah Romero

Junior Graphic Designer

1) “Clean beauty is a self-care practice for me. W3LL PEOLE is mindful about what they put in their products and as a consumer I know what I’m putting on my skin is good for me. I’m able to know that I’m taking care of myself in such a simple way, daily.” 

2) “People might find incorporating a healthy lifestyle habit difficult, with so much research and time dedicated to it, but I don’t think it has to be. I like to share W3LL PEOPLE because I know not everyone has the time or drive to research and I feel good knowing the products I recommend perform well.”

3) “Nudist Lip Butter & Narcissist Foundation Stick.”

Bri Wrightbri

Marketing Coordinator

1) “Clean beauty to me is the peace of mind that comes with knowing what I’m putting on my skin is healthy for both me and for the planet.” 

2) “The commitment W3LL PEOPLE has to creating natural products with the performance we all want is undeniable. It’s this commitment that makes it so easy for me to talk about W3LL PEOPLE to anyone within a 3 foot radius.” 

3) “My Bio Brightener Baked Powder always makes me look insta-fresh and has it’s own designated spot in my purse.” 

Mandy Tran

Customer Service Coordinator


1) “Clean beauty means being mindful of using products that are not only natural, but also non-toxic. Many beauty lines claim to be all natural, but they still use many harmful and toxic ingredients. It’s important to be conscious of exactly what goes into the products we use in our daily lives.”

2) “W3LL PEOPLE is not only completely clean, but performs better than any conventional makeup line I’ve tried —and I’ve tried many! Not only do the products look and feel great, the ingredients benefit your skin as well. It’s easy to share the passion when products give the results you’re trying to achieve!”

3) “The Optimist Lipstick in the shade Choose Love lives in my purse. It’s not only my favorite everyday lipstick, but I use it as my daily blush, too! I also always carry the Expressionist Mascara on me, just in case I want to give my lashes a boost later in the day.”


Laura Phillips

Director of Operations

1) “Clean beauty is combining healthy ingredients into the products I use in my daily routine.”

2) “W3LL PEOPLE products work and are good for you!  Such a needed combination in the beauty world. ”

3) “My “can’t live without” product is the Bio Extreme Lip Gloss in the shade #9 – Afterglow.  This is the best lip gloss I have ever used, period. Bio Baked Bronzer Powder is a close second.” 

karlaKarla Hernandez

Operations Assistant Manager

1)  “Be good to yourself by using clean beauty!”

2)  “W3LL PEOPLE products work for me as it has helped to clear up my skin.”

3) “My two favorite products are the Expressionist Mascara in Pro Black and Bio Baked Bronzer Powder.”


jessJessica Serna

Regional Director

1) “Good skin is the best foundation for your makeup.”

2) “Did you know that your skin is the largest organ on your body and absorbs over 80% of what you put on it? As a Licensed Esthetician & Makeup Artist, I’m passionate about educating and helping people make better choices with their beauty routine!”

3) “Bio Baked Bronzer Powder and Bio Extreme Lip Gloss in  the shade #9 – Afterglow!”

jeanetteJeanette Crutchfield

National Retail Support Coordinator

1) “Clean beauty means that when I put on my killer red lipstick, I don’t have to worry about the chemicals in it.  I only have to worry about staying in the lines!”

3) “W3LL PEOPLE is truly for the people.  It’s safe. It’s effective. It’s affordable.  And W3LL PEOPLE just likes to have fun! It’s lipstick after all, not rocket science!”

3) “My Bio Booster Facial Serum —I wear it morning, noon, and night, with or without makeup.  I mix it with my spray toner, I mix it with my moisturizer, I mix it with my Bio Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer SPF 30.  I also pile it on after I’ve done a peel on my face. Baby smooth skin the next morning!”

Ashley Jamesonashley-j

Northeast Retail Coordinator

1) “Clean beauty allows me to feel good about what I am putting on my skin. I love knowing what is in my makeup and that my skin is receiving good-for-me nutrients. It’s really a win-win!”

2) “I am passionate about sharing W3LL PEOPLE with the world because it is important that people know it is possible to have cosmetics that perform better than conventional makeup, but can also be non-toxic, too!  I turned my friends on to W3LL PEOPLE and they are OBSESSED! I know that once people try it, they will be too!”

3) “I ALWAYS wear my Bio-Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer SPF 30 with a drop of our Bio-Booster Serum because it really leaves my skin feeling hydrated and protected, but it also evens me out. I have a lot of redness so it’s very calming. I’m addicted to our Bio Booster Facial Serum! Ha! And I always carry my Nudist Multi-Use Cream Stick in Shade 10 in my bag because it gives my look a mid-day boost when I’m really dragging. I wear it on my cheeks and lips!”

aliAli Davis

Studio Manager

1) “Going clean and green has changed my skin and life! I have had few to no breakouts since switching and my skin feels healthier than ever! I love to think about it this way, if you wouldn’t eat it why would you put it on your skin?”

2) “I tell EVERYONE I know about W3LL PEOPLE, so I can inform them that there are good quality products out there that will replace their toxic ones. W3LL PEOPLE goes above and beyond to make quality clean beauty products at affordable prices so anyone can afford and use them. Their products have changed so many people’s skin for the better! I love that I can use them in my makeup kit for my work in film, too! It’s amazing to me that they have such strict ingredient standards and stick to them! Why not tell people about a makeup line that’s actually good for you?”

3) “Bio Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer SPF 30 and our NEW Nudist Eyeshadow Palettes!”


We want to also take some time to thank YOU, too. Thank YOU for being part of our crazy beautiful journey. We hope you stay for the ride for many more years to come.


– W3LL PEOPLE team

Celebrating Pride Month at W3LL PEOPLE

Culturally, there’s a big conversation around inclusivity and fluidity, particularly in the makeup world, which is a bit ironic considering the current political administration that continues to restrict the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. Despite that, this community continues to push ahead faithfully. This month at W3LL PEOPLE, I sat down with two of our three founders, James Walker and Shirley Pinkson, to chat all-things PRIDE, including queer culture, identity, and self-growth in business.

Walker, a Santa Fe, New Mexico native, may be living a simpler life back in his hometown, but he’s certainly present and vocal about how growing up Latino helped shape him into the man he is today. Similarly, Pinkson grew up in a cultural conflict of coming out to parents who had very high expectations of her. She found her truth in educating an industry through more than only makeup, but also through empowerment and activism.


Unapologetic about who they are today, this dynamic duo found truth in who they are by growing up outside the status quo. Their 30+ year friendship speaks volumes on authenticity, companionship, self-discovery, including an immense expression of individuality that will have you blushing with PRIDE.

 We all know there’s struggle with being queer. However, being Latino and gay more often than not adds another level of challenges. Culturally speaking, was there hardship in coming out to your family?

Shirley: “I didn’t come out until I was 32. The bar was set high for me as the daughter of a high ranking  Puerto Rican military officer, who I know now had his own challenges and life pressures. At the time, I wasn’t clear about my sexuality. But I knew I was different, and I definitely knew I couldn’t talk to my parents about it. Later on in life, I learned that I could. My father had a really, really hard time with me [coming out] and now he doesn’t. Fear drove their reactions initially.

img_5596I think we’re all part of each other’s growth.

My mom was always so open. When I did come out to her, she simply said to me, “I’ve been waiting for you to tell me.” Hearing this could have saved me so much inner conflict. I found myself often being everything but who I was. When you get to this place where you finally begin to let go and start living life how you truly are meant to live it…everything changes.”

James: “When I was coming out, HIV was just on the scene. I was scared. I didn’t know what was going on. The fear that it engendered on a general level was attached to being gay. Not only were you not supposed to be gay during that time, but you were considered to be like a disease — a disease spreading diseases. It was a dark time for me. The conversation at play was based on ignorance and fear. It made it challenging to have a dialogue with myself, much less those around me, including my parents. Though I identify with being Mexican,  my last name is Walker, which made it tough to “fit in,” within a predominately Latin community.

img_5595I am used to feeling different and challenged, but I am also used to wanting to fight and push back. More importantly, I am used to not accepting the status quo.”

Back to Pride and W3LL PEOPLE, there’s a theme here I keep hearing about change and feeling different. Was there a point in developing the brand you thought about the type of community you were going to build?

James: “When it comes to pride and as I think about this month, I love that on the national level it’s gotten beyond being gay or not. I think for W3LL PEOPLE and for me, the celebration is about that. We are all different. Although, I felt very different and excluded as a young man, and still do to a degree, that’s going to be my walk in the world. I’ve learned to really love that about myself. I celebrate that within myself and I see that as an actual strength that I can bring to the family and to the community.

I often asked myself, “Why do we have to do things the conventional way when we can do it our way? Why create products that have a preservation for ten to fifteen years?” Let’s not do that. It feels good to own that, be that, and hopefully create a brand, team, and community that’s all about that. What better name and platform than W3LL PEOPLE — a celebration of humanity…”

Shirley: “…and choice. Choice. It’s the choice to make and have better options for yourself. It’s the choice to make yourself feel empowered. We talk about our transparency as a brand, but there’s also a lot of transparency in who we are. We haven’t shied away from being gay business owners. It’s been something we’ve been proud to talk about since day one.

Being able to start a brand (together) that’s built on positive and free choices, transparency, and individuality is uplifting. It’s not just makeup. We’re used to people not liking things we do and the choices we make, but there’s no fear in that anymore. To be able to speak to the brand fearlessly without having to hide anything is even more powerful.”

As a business owner, were there any challenges you faced while building a brand and discovering yourself?

Shirley: “I think I chose my career to help me find my identity. In doing makeup, I was surrounded by strong, creative personalities. I’ve always been really attracted to strong personalities, partially because I was too afraid of letting my own out. There was this inability to express myself fully. However, I was lucky enough to do that through work. It was a positive experience for me. In terms of challenges, I’ve been judged for who I am, but I’m happy to say who I am has always prevailed in the work I do.

In terms of negativity in the workplace, a lot of it was on the outside but never within the space I was in, because frankly, a big part of my network were the ‘black sheep’. On the other hand, being a business owner, I caught myself coping with being fearful and second guessing if those around me knew if [James and I] were gay. This was/is based on that residual fear I carry with me. Since the brand is our baby- you protect your baby- and you catch yourself becoming that very neutral person. I have a challenge with that from time to time.”

James: “When I started my career in marketing, even though it’s a creative field, it’s very much a good ol’ boy network. Showing up in New York as this budding young gay man in a very much men’s business was very challenging. I definitely did not share who I was and spent a lot of time sublimating a lot about myself.

When we landed on W3LL PEOPLE, for me, it has been a pure joy on a personal level because it has offered me a home to be gay, out, and confident. That has been a big deal for me as a gay entrepreneur because it didn’t exist, so we had to do it ourselves. We created an environment where I can be myself and we invite those who might feel maybe a little different, or those who may not have a home, to be part of ours.”

What lessons can you share with other LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs about creating a successful brand?

Shirley: “What I would express (not just to queer owners but to any owner) is that all workspaces should be open workspaces. It’s that old saying, ‘We’re only as good as our team.’ Since day one at W3LL PEOPLE, we’ve always felt that we’re only as good as the people behind us or who are standing with us. It’s really that simple.”

James: “If I was sitting across the conference table from a young girl, a young kid, or individual in transition, I would look them in the eye and say, ‘you are not alone and know that it ALL starts from within.’ Ultimately, you will have to find the love and understanding you seek from within. Once you do that, it all starts to fall into place’ If you can muster the courage to simply speak your truth, people may not like you, but they’re probably going to respect you. And I’ll take being respected over being liked any day of the week. That’s one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in life.”

What would you tell your younger self?

Shirley: “I have a lot to say to my younger self! I have a son, so I look at my two year old son and think of my younger self and what I don’t want him to experience. Speak and act from a confident, good place. Don’t shy away from who you are.”

James: “I would give myself a hug.”

Did you have a role model that made an impact on your life?

James: “My grandfather. He was a Mexican rancher. He embodied this Zen without even knowing what that meant. Being able to spend time with him in nature and in solitude with animals – I didn’t realize it at the time how much it was going to form the man I would become.”

Shirley: “For me, it’s my mom. My mom is a tiny force to be reckoned with. She moved to the U.S. with my dad and didn’t speak a word of English. She’s 5’3” powerhouse. She didn’t really care what people thought of her, but she always acted with her heart.”

If you can say thank you to someone when you were coming out who would that be?

Shirley: “My James.”

James: “I would say New York, not an individual, but the community there. I had no idea the love, freedom, and the joy I would discover in my community. New York gave me that.”

Shirley: “It did it for me too.”


What does pride mean to you?

Shirley: “Freedom. Be who YOU ARE. Freedom for everybody, not just for gay humans but for everybody.”

James: “I’m with her.”

As a way to show support for LGBTQ+ communities during Pride month, W3LL PEOPLE is donating 5% of sales to The Trevor Project all month long. Join us in supporting and standing together for LGBTQ+-inclusive policies.