Lifestyle brand JZD is an independently owned Latina e-retail brand with more than 40K followers on Instagram that include celebrities like Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Diane Guerrero, and Jessica Marie Garcia from Netflix’s In My Block. You may have seen the online retailer’s vibrant designs on your friends’ sherbet-colored tumblers and T-shirts printed with slogans like “Vacunada” and “No pasa nada.” Run by spouses Veronica and Jennifer Zeano, this line has become a source of covetable goods as well as a community for its socially conscious customers, many of whom love the Latinx pride and cultura the line espouses. Ever since its launch five years ago, JZD has steadily been attracting a fan base since its launch five years ago.
“Instagram is such a huge part of the business because that’s where we can talk to customers, meet new customers, and really develop this relationship with our customers where they’re our friends,” says Jennifer. “They feel like we know each other and we can hang out and talk.”
Originally called Jenn’s Designs, the label started out as a shop on Etsy, specializing in the mugs that the partners created together. During the build-up to the 2016 election, when a racist was on the rise toward becoming president, the duo felt impelled to offer more than cute drinking vessels. That’s when the “LATINA POWER” T-shirt, which still drives the majority of the sales, was first born. “When I first created that T-shirt, it was something I felt that [the community] needed,” says Jennifer. “I needed it.”
The customer response was overwhelming. “I realized that this is what we’re supposed to be doing, and we quickly shifted into this Latina empowerment brand where every product that we were thinking of, creating, and putting out into the world was with that goal and mission,” Jennifer tells Refinery29.
After the shirt, Jennifer and Veronica decided to start their own website, in which their now-iconic Latina Power shirt has become a best-seller. The pair finds inspiration for their wares from their own lives and communities — even the models who appear on the site used are usually their friends. “We make sure the models wearing our clothes are Latina, and really just want to make sure it’s with people that believe in the same mission and have values that align with ours,” says Jennifer. They also draw inspiration from their border town of Brownsville, Texas, which is across the U.S.-Mexico border from Matamoros.
In 2020, when COVID-19 hit Brownsville’s community of small businesses along with the Texas Freeze of early 2021, JZD was severely impacted, with many of their regular factories and manufacturers wiped of inventory. Jennifer had to pivot, bringing their screen printer home in order to continue working. “This is [our] only source of income so we had to do what we had to do,” she recalls. New products continue to tell the stories of their evolving realities; one of the collections released this summer is called “Vaxxed Summer” in response to the hope and freedom inherent in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Jennifer is proud to be among the wave of Latina-owned brands that are gaining recognition and making sales, a new reality that is largely powered by word of mouth and social media, and that's something that keeps their business afloat — but also others. “We love supporting other Latina businesses as well,” says Jennifer. After all, what use is power when you don't share it?