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IU sophomore continues her family’s entrepreneurial legacy

Dec. 7, 2016

Growing up, Patricia Leonardo attended business seminars with her entrepreneurial parents. Along the way, she inherited her family’s enterprising spirit, recently launching her own makeup line.

Patricia Leonardo

IU sophomore Patricia Leonardo is studying biochemistry and plans to attend optometry school after she completes her undergraduate degree. | PHOTO COURTESY OF PATRICIA LEONARDO

The IU sophomore was inspired by Kylie Jenner, who is her age and has her own line of cosmetics. In fact, it was after purchasing Kylie Cosmetics products that Leonardo realized she could be making money instead of spending it. 

Leonardo then teamed up with her godmother, Lorena Mondoñedo Perez, who owns the company NENA Cosmetics, to produce the Patricia Collection, which features a liquid lipstick, a felt-tip eyeliner and royal-blue mascara.  

“I’ve always had a business mindset, and the opportunity to put myself out there and do something different excited me,” she said.

With just four months between pitching the idea and launching the product, Leonardo packed a lot of work into a short amount of time. She began the product development process in June, announced the launch on her birthday in August and hosted her launch party in October. 

While Leonardo could have taken a backseat to several steps in the process, she made it her mission to be hands-on with every step. She decided what products would be included in the collection, what ingredients would be used and what colors would be available.

As a biochemistry major, Leonardo said she saw a lot of similarities between her course work and cosmetics product development. In fact, the aspect of NENA Cosmetics that attracted her to a partnership with the company, besides the family connection, is that it doesn’t test on animals. She said it was important to her that the products she was creating weren’t harmful to animals or the people who would use them.

“From the start I wanted to make sure my products reflected my own personal values and beliefs,” Leonardo said.

While dipping her toes in the business world is giving Leonardo some valuable real-world experience, a career in business isn’t the end goal for her. She plans to attend optometry school after finishing up her undergraduate degree. 

But she still has two more years left at IU, which she hopes to spend getting to know as many people as she can. Being involved in her sorority, Sigma Kappa, and the Filipino American Association helps her achieve that goal. 

“I love networking,” she said. “On a campus with 40,000 students with such variety, there is so much to learn. I believe there is something to learn from every single person.”

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