Lupe Flores, A True Beauty Industry Icon

Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce 2015 WOMAN OF THE YEAR, LUPE RAMIREZ FLORES

Lupe Ramirez Flores can be described as a true "success story". Lupe is the third of nine children born to Javier and Guadalupe Ramirez, in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. She was 10 years old when her family moved to Watsonville. She attended Moss Landing Elementary School and went on to graduate from Watsonville High School and Wayne's College of Beauty. That was the beginning of a lifelong career in cosmetology and of service to her adopted hometown, Watsonville.

From 1975-1989 she owned and operated Lupe's House of Beauty. Early on, Lupe recognized the importance of the empowerment of women to be strong, independent leaders in their communities. She hired and mentored many young cosmetologists, imparting on them the importance of continuing education, business skills, ethics and giving back to their communities.

Several of her employees went on to open up their own successful salons. During this time, she served on the Watsonville Design Review Commission and Planning Commission. After her business fell victim to the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, her service to her community went in to high gear.

Like many in her town, Lupe volunteered with the American Red Cross to assist earthquake victims. She applied her bi-lingual, bi-cultural skills in helping many people in our community.

Since that time, she has been constantly involved in many community efforts to lend support to local organizations including: Jacob's Heart Kidrageous carnivals, Catholic Charities, Soroptimist International, Watsonville High School Career Day, the American Cancer Society, St. Patrick's Church and Watsonville YWCA.

Lupe has served the Young Ladies Institute with 4 terms as president, as well as Grand Institute Director and District Deputy. She is a past State President and Central District President for the California Cosmetology Association. She serves on the advisory committee of the Gavilan Community College Cosmetology Department where she also helps with their fundraising efforts.

Through her work with these organizations, she has been a positive force in her community. She has also broken barriers for women in Watsonville, including being the first female member ever accepted into Freedom Rotary.

In 1989, Lupe became a certified volunteer for the Look Good Feel Better Program. A program, co-sponsored by; the American Cancer Society, the Professional Beauty Association and the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Fragrances Council, it provides support, wigs, cosmetics and toiletries for women suffering the devastating emotional and physical side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Lupe brought the program to Santa Cruz County and assisted in its expansion to include services for male and teens with cancer. She assisted former First Lady Nancy Reagan with introducing the Spanish language program at a ceremony in Los Angeles. She still works with cancer patients at three local hospitals on a monthly basis and continues to facilitate the training of volunteers nationally.

In 2000, she launched a new business, LuMar 4 Hair, focused on the education of long hair styling techniques at cosmetology schools and national trade shows. She has produced nine popular "How-to" educational DVD's and books. Her love for cosmetology and continuing education makes her a much sought after platform guest artist/educator throughout California.

On a national level, Lupe has been awarded The National Cosmetology Association's Charles Award for Leadership and President of the Year award. The Look Good, Feel Better National Sunrise Award for Volunteer of the Year and The California Cosmetology Association's Hall of Fame and President of the Year awards.

Closer to home, Lupe is a member of the Watsonville High School Hall of Fame, a Santa Cruz County Women's Commission Charley Parkhurst Award recipient and a former League of United Latin American Citizens Women of the Year.

Lupe still finds time to work "behind the chair" three days a week, serving not only new clients, but some who have been with her since 1968!

In January, she will be celebrating her 48th wedding anniversary with her Watsonville High School sweetheart, Jesus Flores. They have three children, Rick Flores who resides in Chula Vista with his wife Patty and their son Danny. Rick and Patty's older son Ricky Flores lives in Imperial Beach with his wife Berenise and their son Adrian. Their daughter Margo R. Flores resides in Watsonville with her boyfriend Tash Miyashita. And their younger son Jesse R. Flores resides in San Francisco with his wife Olga and their children, Alex Flores and Julie Salazar. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, walks at Seacliff beach, attending San Francisco Giants games, watching Alex play sports, traveling and spending time with her extended family.