Jefas Jen and Veronica Zeano have been dedicated to Latina Power since the inception of Jen Zeano Designs (JZD) in 2016 and now their bringing that representation to the shelves of Target. Ahead of Latinx Heritage Month starting Sept. 15, their new capsule collection became available Sept. 4 and it’s all about celebrating our culture. The collection features t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, jewelry and stationery with phrases and designs centered around the celebration of the “Corazón Latino.” It includes a cap that reads “no pasa nada” — one of their signature messages — along with “poderosa” emblazoned in a pair of gold hoop earrings. “To see our JZD pieces in a Target store and on Target.com is the best feeling ever!! We really have no words to describe how happy and grateful we feel to experience this. We can’t wait to see everyone shopping in stores,” the duo tells HipLatina via email.
“This collection was inspired by our journey to find our voices as Latinas in this country. The Crecer y Florecer and Corazón Latino pieces are inspired by the beauty of our community’s growth while honoring our ancestors and their sacrifices. For us, the most important part of all of this, is to continue to create pieces that allows our community to feel represented and reminds us all of the beauty of our cultura,” they shared in the press release announcing the collection.
Jen was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and immigrated to Texas with her parents when she was seven years old. The brand started out with her hand drawing on coffee mugs but it was the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election that led her to create their signature “Latina Power” tee. Since then she and her wife Vero have continued to integrate Latinx representation into their products along with the help of Jen’s parents who’ve made the brand truly a family affair. They have a warehouse in Brownsville in south Texas, adjacent to the border with Matamoros, and they recently opened up for in-store shopping.
While Jen has now taken on more of the creative director role at JZD, Veronica – who goes by Vero – calls herself the “BTS girl” and handles most printing and the business end. She’s a staple on their Instagram where they regularly update their 50K+ followers (aka their “fam bam”) and she was visibly emotional when the collection first went live on the Target website.
The collaboration began a year ago after the retailer reached out to JZD and the duo created a pitch deck, their first ever for a big retailer, featuring an assortment of products of which Target selected 13. They share that the designs were inspired by an Instagram poll they’d done months ago to see what words empowered their community. The collection includes a “Luchadora” necklace and the intention was that they wanted to include these empowering terms to “remind us of all of the power of Latinas.” “We knew that we wanted to include products that would make our community feel a sense of nostalgia so we created items that remind us of our culture and of those moments shared with our familia. We hope this collection brings you all joy and pride.”
The collab wasn’t without its challenges especially for a small-business with no previous experience with a retailer of this size. They share that there was a lot they didn’t know and consider it a learning experience. Now the collection is available on Target’s Más Que section with JZD getting a spotlight for their limited edition collection on the Más Que homepage. They join fellow Latina-owned brands available at Target including Rizos Curls, Luna Magic, and Bloomi, a major feat that’s significant for a community that wasn’t represented on the shelves of major retailers just a few years ago. “We really have no words to describe how happy and grateful we feel to experience this.” Their advice for fellow Latinx small business owners who hope to one day achieve their level of success?
“¿Si no es ahora, cuando? If you have a dream, go after it full force. You may not have all the answers when you launch, but entrepreneurship is an ongoing journey where you learn as you go. However we’ve learned that hard, consistent work pays off. Eventually the opportunities will present themselves and you’ll want to be ready for them.”
The JZD capsule collection is available at more than 1500 Target stores across the U.S. and online.