Grande Giving: Cosmetics Entrepreneur Alicia Grande Fights Hunger, Empowers Women and Helps Ukrainians
Alicia Grande founded Grande Cosmetics in 2008 with one product, $25,000 and big dreams. She succeeded beyond those dreams and has shared her success by generously supporting many worthy causes.
Grande, who with her husband recently bought a home in the Palm Beach area, grew up in Rockland County, NY. Her parents were divorced, and she lived with her mother and sister.
“I didn’t have a lot of money growing up. I had to pay for my own college,” Grande says. “But I wound up becoming more successful in life than I ever dreamed. I don’t necessarily need to have excess. I think it’s important to recognize that, and to do a gut check and say, ‘How can I help people in need?’”
She has answered that question with donations of more than $650,000 from Grande Cosmetics to nonprofit organizations that help empower women, fund cancer research, and fight hunger and injustice. In addition, she and her husband have supported many important causes through their foundation, the Grande Family Foundation.
Most recently, Grande Cosmetics raised $50,000 for the Ukrainian Red Cross by donating 50% of proceeds from site sales during a three-day period in March. The funds will assist Red Cross teams, which are distributing food, hygiene products, blankets and other critical care to Ukrainians devastated by Russia’s military invasion.
“The moment I saw the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, I knew we had to do our part to help,” Grande says.
Grande Cosmetics is based in Westchester, NY, and like many people, Grande came to realize how feasible telecommuting was during the pandemic. She plans to spend much of the cold months in Palm Beach while leading her expanding company, which has about 50 employees and sells more than 40 cosmetic products internationally through multiple channels, including cosmetics retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty, salons and Amazon.
Grande Cosmetics offers beauty-enhancing products for the eyelashes, brows, skin, lips and hair — including the product that started it all, GrandeLash-MD, a lash-enhancing serum infused with a blend of vitamins, peptides and amino acids to promote the appearance of longer, thicker lashes.
“Prior to giving birth to my two sons, I had beautiful eyelashes. But after my first son was born, my lashes became short,” Grande recalls. “I met a chemist at the Jacob Javits Center who made a lash formula, and I used it on my own lashes, and it worked beautifully.” She incorporated the formula into a lash-enhancing product, and today, according to Grande, the company is the top-selling lash and brow serum brand in the U.S.
“I am happy that I am able to help women reach their full lash and brow potential, which helps them feel good about the way they look,” she says.
Grande Cosmetics often donates to worthy causes through special promotions. When people were struggling financially and waiting in long food lines early in the pandemic, the company raised $250,000 for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Relief Fund by offering customers a 15% discount and donating 15% of proceeds to the cause. “It went amazingly well,” Grande says. The company also gifted nearly 3,000 products to essential workers in hospitals and grocery stores to lift their spirits and show appreciation.
Also in response to the pandemic, Grande Cosmetics partnered with nonprofit organization Working for Women, raising $100,000 to restore businesses built, run and led by women.
The company has supported Dress for Success, which empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing them with professional attire and support to succeed in their career search, and WomenRising, which helps women and their families in need of jobs, safety from domestic violence and freedom from homelessness.
“In general, I think women face more obstacles, and because they are the primary caregivers, they have to juggle a lot more things in life,” Grande says. “Sometimes, they need a helping hand and tools to empower themselves for success.”
Cancer causes are also near and dear to Grande’s heart.
“My husband’s only brother died of pancreatic cancer at age 32, and we have breast cancer in my family,” she says. “And my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019.”
Grande Cosmetics has supported many cancer organizations, including Susan G. Komen, a breast cancer charity; Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation, which focuses on developing more effective therapies for lymphoma, leukemia and related cancers; and Tell Every Amazing Lady (T.E.A.L.), an ovarian cancer foundation.
In addition, the company has donated $75,000 to the NAACP to combat social inequality.
Organizations supported by the Grande Family Foundation, which was founded in 2021, have included Make-A-Wish, Feeding Westchester, the Jimmy V. Foundation, UJA Federation, International Rett Syndrome Foundation and the ASPCA.