Heather Lasrado and Isabel Lazo have been best friends for as long as they can remember. From gardening and growing their favorite herbs and flowers to sharing exciting road trips to grandma’s house in the sunny southern summers in Alabama to practicing their personal care rituals together, this single Mom (Heather) and her Daughter (Isabel) shared special moments every day.
“Every weekend, if we weren’t painting our nails and watching a movie, we were doing a face mask,” explains Isabel. “We’ve always found joy in self-care, and especially in skin care.”
Now that Isabel is an adult with a degree in education and lives in California and Heather is a globe trotter who travels between homes in Spain and Qatar, as well as her mother’s home in Alabama, what started out as Mother/Daughter bonding through self-care has turned into the global business Isa Lazo Luxury Skin Care. They continue their rituals and traditions by creating and marketing deluxe products for face and body, using some of those same ingredients they grew together decades ago. Guided by Heather, who focuses on the big picture and the customer’s sensory experience, and Isabel, the creative formulator who is obsessed with the details, Isa Lazo recently launched on Nordstrom.com and Neimanmarcus.com, in addition to Amazon and their own website.
Quotable recently asked Heather and Isabel to share their Top 10 Tips tips for working together successfully when you’re very close to your business partner.
Tip 1: Commit to relinquishing the roles you’ve played up until this point.
“Releasing our Mother/Daughter roles has been both challenging and incredibly rewarding, as my daughter has become my business partner,” says Heather. “The first time she stood up to me and said, ‘Mom, that’s not going to work,’ I had to think about it for a moment. Then I understood, she’s now my partner.”
Tip 2: Create a balance.
“The first thing that made working with my Mom a plus was the fact that we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so well,” says Isabel. “We’re both open to and feel comfortable accepting what those are in ourselves, and we naturally pick up the slack to balance each other for the good of our mutual goals.”
Tip 3: Shift your perspective.
“Working together completely shifted the dynamic we’ve had for my entire life,” says Isabel. “I’m finding it very interesting to observe how our relationship is evolving to a new level. Before, I saw Heather from the perspective of, ‘She’s my Mom.’ Now, I’ve learned about all of these new talents she has that I never noticed before. For example, Isa Lazo has really brought out her creativity, and her time management is so amazing. I feel so lucky to be able to see that from a completely new perspective, and as much as
I loved her before, the relationship has a new level of respect that is so rewarding for both of us!”
Tip 4: Keep your communication on track.
“California is 10 hours behind me, so my day is ending when Isabel’s is just beginning,” explains Heather. “There are situations where I’ve needed a critical decision that I couldn’t get, because Isabel was still asleep.” Adds Isabel, “It definitely adds a layer of complications, because the working time we overlap is so small. Plus, we both have lives, so it’s critical to keep our communication schedule on track.”
Tip 5: Connect in person.
“When we are together, there’s such a synergy,” says Heather. “We get so creative and can accomplish more in a few hours than we would have in a week. Everything gels. As a result, we now plan quarterly month-long, in-person meetings. We feed off each other’s creativity and are more productive, and get so much done when we’re together.”
Tip 6: Follow your passions.
When Isabel was nine years old, she was making her own soaps from ingredients she and her mother grew together in the garden and then selling them door-to-door. Then, life changed, she followed both of her parents, going to school for education and became an art therapy teacher. She was in her twenties, living in Barcelona not far from her Mother and “loving life,” as she says, when she started making products in her kitchen again—this time in a more serious way.
“My friends were buying first my body oil, then my body scrub as fast as I could make them,” she explains. “It gave me the confidence to follow my own path—especially once my Mom gave me a big push! She told me, ‘You’re never going to be this young and have this little responsibility again. DO IT NOW.” And that’s exactly what happened.
Tip 7: Start now, get perfect as you go, approach business with grace.
Initially, Isabel launched her product company Isa Lazo Skin Care in Spain, with Heather advising. Over time, it naturally evolved so that Heather officially joined her. “I was calling Mom every day,” laughs Isabel. “As we worked our way through the challenges of finding a manufacturer—first in Europe and then in the United States—we knew we were in this together. We had no idea what we were getting into. We learned as we went along.”
Asserts Heather, “Just sheer stubbornness and resilience got us through. Sometimes we had to rethink everything. But when you truly believe in what you’re doing, you make it work. We believe Isa Lazo are the best products in the world, and we were willing to do whatever it took to get them into people’s hands. Our customers told us we were right.”
“I learned resilience from my Mom growing up,” explains Isabel. “She handles everything with such grace and keeps things moving. Her mindset is one of her characteristics that I admire most.”
Both women admit to being perfectionists—but from different perspectives.
“I have big ideas, then my Mom sees the details behind them,” says Isabel.
Adds Heather, “Isabel has real clarity on certain business decisions. Sometimes I get caught in the minutia, so we truly balance one another and working together widens our scope.”
Tip 8: When you disagree, look for the ‘Third Way.’
“We have such strong personalities that we do butt heads,” admits Heather.
“Sometimes we agree to disagree. If we must reach an agreement, we think it over from the other’s perspective for a day or two. Through that process, we often come up with a third point-of-view.”
Tip 9: Be flexible as people and as a business.
“Sometimes I have a vision in my head about how I want something to happen, and it becomes hard to step out of that,” says Isabel. “It’s been a real lesson to not get hung up and look at a new approach.
“For example, no one could have foreseen a global pandemic. We were planning to launch at brick-and-mortar at the beginning of 2020. Then all the doors closed. We had to rethink our strategy and pivot to digital quickly.”
Isabel adds, “I especially remember one piece of advice my Mom gave me when I was young. She said, ‘You always have a choice about how you frame something and how you’re going to respond. When you choose a beneficial mindset, you have power. That’s been the most helpful in this journey.”
Tip 10: Find the joy in every day
“We share personality traits that are so similar,” says Isabel. “Plus, having this company has been the best way to stay in touch. Being together is so rewarding and gives us such a feeling of joy. When our customers respond, it’s the icing on the cake. Now, I can’t imagine it working any other way.”
Get to know Isa Lazo a bit more…
From the very beginning, Heather and Isabel have shared a love for adventure, creativity and dreaming big. For example, road-trips and long haul flights were spent imagining the ways they could bring their dreams and interests to life.
“When we lived in South Carolina, Isabel and I would road trip frequently to visit my parents in Alabama—a 5-hour drive each way,” remembers Heather. “We put a lot of effort getting ready. We would do something special to look pretty and have a surprised for Mom and Dad. We would leave really early and crank the music—Aretha Franklin was a favorite! Then, we would get a lottery ticket and spend most of the trip talking about what we would do if we won. Those were BIG dreams!”
Adds Isabel, “We have both been able to create lives in which some of the things we dreamed about 20 years ago came true in different ways.”
Continues Heather, “Dream big, think about your dreams every day and they can materialize in unexpected way. Stay focused on how you want to live and you will achieve it, as we have created this beautiful life together, helping others achieve their own goals for their skin. We didn’t even have to win the lottery!!”
Adds Isabel, “We still practice manifesting our dreams. We took a road trip from Los Angeles to Napa Valley, California, a couple of months ago. As we take more risks, our dreams get bigger and bigger together, as we embrace change and risk—another shared personality trait. Moving half-way around the world isn’t scary to us any longer. That plays a lot into our creative process. You can do it, too!”
Grandma is all in!
When Heather and Isabel began making products, their entire family served as testers—including Heather’s Mom. Prior to trying Isa Lazo, Grandma had had a very set routine. “We convinced her to try our Face Toner and Face Oil. A few months went by, and she said she was all out,” smiles Heather. “She went through it fast! We gave her more and watched her do her skin care routine, and she was using a pool of face oil for her face and neck and then slicking it into her hair. It’s an expensive product to use in your hair, but it looked very stylish. She has really dry skin, especially on her legs and the backs of her arms, so we showed her how to use the scrub. Now, her skin glows! In addition, she had a skin cancer removed from her cheek and it left a really big scar. She was really self-conscious about it. After using our Face Oil for several years, you can no longer see it! She is so proud of us, and she has a lifetime supply!”
Isa Lazo currently offers Face Oil, Face Toner, Body Oil and Body Scrub. Watch for new products from Isabel and Heather coming soon with new, more sustainable packaging for the entire line! Visit www.isalazo.com.