Jennifer Serrano and Veronica Vasquez couldn’t contain their happiness when they saw their Latina empowerment products in Target stores.
The two were friends for years before getting married in 2014 and deciding to start their Brownsville-based brand, JZD, a couple of years later. The journey started with a Latina Power shirt.
“That shirt was really born out of fears that I had at the time. This was around the presidential election, and there was a lot of uncertainty about what that meant for our community. And there was a lot of negative rhetoric going on in the media,” Serrano said. “And that’s what led me to create that shirt. And this was really just something that I felt like I needed at the time. It’s something that I wanted for the women in my life. And it wasn’t until we put it up on Etsy that people started being like, ‘Oh my gosh, I love this. I needed this.'”
Vasquez said that, in the moment, it felt unfortunate that the shirts started out of fear – but that something beautiful has come out of it.
“I’ve always told Jen that I am, I will forever be, her No. 1 cheerleader,” she said. “And whatever her goals are, I will always be there to help her accomplish them. And I am so grateful that we’re able to take this journey together and that we created this brand and community that represents so much.”
Hearing from Target was such a surreal moment – especially because they had not sought out the retailer – that they didn’t believe it at first, Vasquez said.
“We really thought it was a lie. We thought it was a scam,” she said. “So you better believe that we put our FBI caps on and we were like, ‘Is this email real? Is this really a person that wants us to be there with Target?’ ”
There was so much they didn’t know about their first major retail experience, Serrano said.
“It was a lot of questions, a lot of learning. It was a journey,” she said. “And when we saw it all come to life, it was just an unimaginable amount of pride and happiness and gratitude. And Vero’s the crier – so she, you know, cried for days.”
Vasquez agreed, saying that from the moment she saw their brand online, she didn’t stop crying until they went to see it in person.
“If there’s anything that you’re going to get out of seeing Jen and I, it’s that we are gay. We are a married couple, and we are entrepreneurs, and we are at Target,” Vasquez said. “We didn’t give up, and now we are going to be an example for that little queer kid out there that is looking for representation and is looking for some sort of sign from the universe to tell them that it’s going to be fine and they can go ahead and be themselves.”