Mabel and Shaira Frias were little girls when their Dominican abuela would teach them about velas and oraciones to heal the soul in her botánica. At the time, the family lived in St. Croix, where the Frias sisters would befriend Puerto Rican kids that had also migrated to the Virgin Islands. In the botánica, Mabel and Shaira remember seeing an abuela who was “the ultimate hustler.” She was their first example of what an entrepreneur looks like.
“We always said, when we grow up we want to do business,” Mabel tells Emperifollá. “We didn’t really know what that meant, but now we know what it means.”
Today, Mabel and Shaira are the co-founders of their own business, Luna Magic Beauty. Launched in 2019, the brand is a collection of makeup and apparel that are rooted in the traditions and cultures they grew up around.
Sitting at The Wing’s DUMBO location, the Frias sisters are in complete unison. They are both extremely colorful dressers that radiate joy and elegance with their style. Shaira wears a hot pink ruffled top with a denim mini skirt and snake print boots, while Mabel wears a white button down with a red patent leather mini skirt, black stockings, and red glitter pumps.
Mabel admits she’s more conservative than Shaira, saying her style is a mix between Meghan Markle and Michelle Obama. But still, she says she likes to experiment. “Last week, I bought a black sweater,” she says. “I really want to go for streetwear now.” Shaira laughs at her sister’s attempt to try streetwear. As the baby of the duo, Shaira’s style is as vibrant as it can be, wearing bold colors to highlight her melanin. “I love my skin color,” she says, “And I know what works for a black woman.”
It’s clear the Frias sisters carry their heritage and influences on everything they wear – from makeup to jewelry and clothing. Growing up, they moved a lot, hence absorbing a wide variety of cultures. They both were born in Miami and later moved to St. Croix with their family. After a while, their family moved to New York City, where they first lived in West Harlem and later Washington Heights. Today, the Frias sisters both live in Los Angeles, California.
They run Luna Magic as a partnership. Shaira handles the creative side, while Mabel is in charge of brand and digital strategy. Both agree that the jobs they have today were paved by their past careers. “I just realized I had to meet the customer where they were and where they’re buying,” says Mabel. “Imagine if there was a company that spoke to her in her language, in her tone. I mean, the power of representation through makeup and in an authentic way.”
It’s obvious from the way they’ve developed their products that the Frias sisters believe their cultural IQ is an invaluable asset they bring to the business world. Their eyeshadow shades have names like “Reggaeton,” “Mamacita,” and “Dinero,” and their lipsticks are named “Bon Bon” and “Gostosa.” “You’re born with it because of how you were raised,” says Mabel. “You know, there’s some things that I can’t explain why we do and how we think.”
Right now, they are in the process of trialing a new product – press-on nails. Shaira points out she’s wearing a test set today. “My sister’s our tester,” says Mabel. Shaira explains she did them on the way to our interview in the backseat of the car. “Just a little glue and you put them on, really easy,” Shaira says. They’ve also just launched apparel, releasing a collection of white t-shirts emblazoned with the words “Latina” and “Dominicana” on the left side in bold colors.
All their products go back to their upbringing as Dominican women in various parts of the Caribbean and North America. They both signal early family photo shoots as their first encounter with style and beauty. Their mother – who they describe as a “bonboncito” – would always doll them up before going to JCPenney to do the annual family shoot. Of course, all their outfits matched, and even though they were toddlers, the red lipstick was on full display.
With Luna Magic, the Frias sisters are catering to an audience that grew up just like them – watching Marimar, listening to bachata on Saturday mornings, and subscribing to Walter Mercado’s spiritual advice. But it’s also a customer base that understands beauty as a tool of empowerment to overcome lo que sea.
“As women, we are blessed that we can transform ourselves every day,” says Shaira. “We decide who we want to be, how we want to look.”