BROWNSVILLE, Texas – After years of hard work and dedication, a South Texas Latina-owned small business has made its national debut with hopes of inspiring Latinos across the US with its new collection exclusive to Target stores.
Based in Brownsville, Texas, JZD is owned by husband and wife duo Jennifer Serrano, 30, and Veronica Vasquez, 32.
The couple started the business in 2016 when Vasquez quit her job and took the leap to run a small business full-time. While Serrano worked on her legal studies degree to pay the bills, Vasquez laid the groundwork for the two with an Etsy shop, $200 and a dream.
“[Jennifer] is a creative genius, and when she told me about the idea, I said, ‘Well, let’s do it,’ and we invested in it,” Vasquez said.
One product started growing the business after their “Latina Power” t-shirts began to be recognized by celebrities.
The “Latina Power” T-shirt is worn by Zoe Saldana (Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe); lifestyle mogul Jessica Alba; Stephanie Beatriz (“Brooklyn 99,” “Encanto,” “In the Heights”); Diane Guerrero and Dascha Polanco of “Orange is the New Black”, Camila Mendes of “Riverdale” and Princess Elena herself – Aimee Carrero.
Demand for products began to increase and Vasquez could no longer be the only full-time employee. Serrano said the two “take a gamble” and both became full-time employees, leaving behind any steady income.
“It was like a sacrifice. It was a gamble, but I told Veronica, ‘We either go with this full force, and grow and make this brand bigger, or it goes as far as it goes because I can’t do this alone,'” Serrano said.
After becoming a full-time JZD employee, the brand made its first major retail partnership with Target for LatinX Heritage Month. As of Sunday, September 4, JZD products can be found on the retailer’s website and in more than 1,500 Target stores nationwide.
The exclusive Capsule Collection features t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, jewelry and stationery with designs centered around the celebration of “Corazon Latino.”
The pieces are inspired by the beauty of growing up in the Hispanic community while honoring their ancestors and their sacrifices.
The couple recalled feeling pure shock when Target reached out in hopes of establishing a business relationship and collection.
“It was like a dream come true. After making sure it wasn’t a scam, we called them and started the process,” Serrano said.
With immigrant roots, the women are glad they took their chance as they now feel they are living their American dream.
The business owners said they hope the collection and brand will inspire Latinos across the U.S. to take their own leaps of faith and do what makes them happy. They shared a piece of advice for Latino businesses.
“Don’t give up before you start. Don’t think that anything worthwhile will come easily to you. The harder it gets, the closer you are to what you’re working towards. There were many times when Jen and I wondered if we should stop and go back to grad school. But once you have that dream, you have to be on your own,” Vasquez said.
“Surround yourself with people who support you and know more than you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s so easy to feel small, but just stay strong and you’ll grow,” Serrano said.
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