Founder & CEO at Reina Rebelde, Inc.
Describe your legal background and your current role today.
I was an attorney at Weil Gotshal in the real estate department and then the restructuring department from 2007 through 2013. After a round of layoffs at the firm, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to go launch Reina Rebelde – the cosmetics line that I had been creating on the side for a couple of years prior to the lay offs.
What inspired you to pursue your current career?
I realized early in my practice that something important was missing for me. The work I was doing was very challenging and interesting, but it had no creative component and I felt very unfulfilled by that aspect of being a lawyer. Due to the demanding nature of being an associate at a large firm, I started feeling incredibly isolated in a lot of fundamental ways from causes and ideas that mattered to me. I am from originally from Mexico and grew up in a very community oriented household, and I realized I wanted to pursue a career that would bring women together and inspire women to be their best selves. Reina Rebelde was also inspired by my own frustrations with the options and messaging in the beauty world for Latinas, even though we are the ultimate beauty consumers.
The three words to describe my career are ...
Creative, Intense, Fun
How has your legal education/background shaped the way you perform in your current career?
I very much appreciate my legal training and the opportunity to actually practice law. I think it has made me very analytical and savvy about business dealings. It also taught me about work ethic, being resilient to criticism and feedback, and persistence. However, it has definitely hurt me in other ways – a lot of people in this industry do not want to work with lawyers and often times the legal training can hinder business progress, ironically. Lawyers by their very nature are not comfortable taking risks, so that is something I have had to train myself out of very consciously.
What’s one thing you wish you knew before you began your current venture or role?
That I would never be able to take a true vacation or shut the business off again, or at least for a very long time.
If my career were made into a book, movie or song, then the title would be...
“You have the right to change your mind”
What lessons learned or unexpected challenges did you face in your current role?
There are too many to count! One of the big lessons, however, has been to not let other people’s fear and negativity about your passions become your stumbling block. When I was first pursuing this path, many well-meaning people (and some not so well-meaning) insisted on flooding me with messages about how I could not launch Reina Rebelde, either because I was inexperienced, a woman, the idea was not right, etc. At the end of the day, those are their limitations, not mine, and I had to really learn how to manage those messages. In anything you do, you have to be very mindful of the voices you allow to be dominant in your head – it can and will trip you up, if you’re not aware of it.
Name a memorable piece of advice that you have heard or received.
Whenever we were making excuses or stalling, my dad would always point to the invisible sing on the wall that says: “Just F*&%ING do it!” Which has always served as a reminder that fear is what holds all of us back, and there is no substitute for actually putting actions behind your ideas and your words.
Regina Merson is the Founder & CEO of beauty brand, Reina Rebelde. Regina is a graduate of Yale University and University of Chicago Law School. Reina Rebelde has been featured in Allure, Elle, Forbes, Marie Claire. The collection is available online, select Target stores and Target.com. Learn more about Regina & Reina Rebelde collection at Reina Rebelde.