For Denise Hernandez, taking big risks and being original are key components to her success in entrepreneurship.

The business owner of Shop Jitana, a home decor label inspired by travel and culture that’s curated and sourced by Hernandez herself, knows a thing or two about not letting fear hold you back from your dreams.

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“Don’t live your life wondering about the ‘what-ifs,'” she told mitú in 2021. “If there is something that you are passionate about, you must give it a try. If it doesn’t work out how you envisioned it, just know you’re one step closer to discovering your true venture.”

Known as “Dee,” Hernandez began her journey with Jitana in 2018, partnering with local artisans to launch her first collection.

“It’s during my travels that I create our collections, working closely with the artisans that craft our pieces,” Hernandez said. “I incorporate my style in our buys while curating a collection that tells a story.”

Now, she’s also starting a new adventure with a fresh title: mom.

From a major in economics to traveling the world, passion drives Hernandez’s business

Before launching Jitana, Hernandez double-majored in finance and economics at San Francisco State University. At the time, she never expected to build a business based on assisted buying, even though it was her dream job.

“Growing up, I always preferred the subject of math, so I pursued a numbers-based career,” Hernandez says. “However, little did I know it would lead me to a buying career.”

Then, after an internship with Revolve, the brand hired her as an assistant buyer for none other than their Australian brands.

“Living in Australia exposed me to so many different styles and ways of living, which was the start of my interest in home decor.” 

Learning extensively about international buying from David Jones, Australia’s leading premium retailer, her interest moved toward home decor. After a visit to Bali, she confirmed her love, and a new idea was born.

“The people, the cities, the culture, I wanted to bring these treasures home, and I was able to do that by bringing pieces of decor to share with my friends from back home,” Hernandez shared. “I knew this was the place I wanted to source my collection from.”

Through consistency and big risks, she’s turned Jitana Shop into what it is today

“One of the most important things I learned from my finance professor was, ‘The most successful business owners have taken the biggest risks,'” Hernandez said. “That’s honestly something I’ve been living by since.”

Scrolling through her Instagram and Jitana Shop’s website, you can tell this Jefa is putting her money where her mouth is. After all, one of her greatest pieces of business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is being consistent.

“Owning a business is one giant roller coaster, but the little wins are all worth it,” she shares. “Give it your best each day, and that determination will transpire into success.”

But most importantly? Shop Jitana’s owner reminds us that being ourselves is the greatest asset of all when it comes to building your brand.

“There is no one like you in this world. Think about what makes you different, and that will set your brand aside from the rest.”