Born and raised in Los Angeles, Denise Hernandez founded Shop Jitana in 2018. Her parents immigrated to the states from El Salvador and assured her anything was possible with determination and hard work. She created Shop Jitana, a home decor label, inspired by culture, travel, and her experience with artisans around the world. The label is dedicated to being sustainable, ethically sourced, and a fair trade business educating customers about the culture these pieces represent by not only enlivening people’s homes, but also impacting the lives of the artisans that create Shop Jitana.
One of the most beautiful art forms is the ability to recognize beauty, and our conversation with Denise certainly showed us how she’s sought out that beauty within the work of others. Denise and her team have celebrated these creations well by giving them a platform to be admired and a space to belong to.
Without further ado, please welcome Denise Hernandez!
Tell us a bit more about how you arrived here? How did you become the curator of this beautiful brand?
Growing up, I traveled all around the world exposing me to artisan work at an early age. When it came time, and I was at a crossroads between a fashion buying career and creating my own business, I knew where my true passions lay. I wanted to create a brand that was not only sustainable but focused on highlighting art pieces created by true artisans. These passions came together to create the idea of Jitana – a Spanish name my mother called me growing up meaning gypsy. I love traveling and exploring new cultures. I wanted to share with the world the amazing artisans I encountered along the way. From the islands of Indonesia where my first journey with Shop Jitana started to the historic lands in Mexico where we continue to create our clay pieces, I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of exploring the world for unique one of a kind artisan made pieces and share it with like minded individuals who are also passionate for the art.
What would you say is your biggest inspiration?
Traveling for sure. Getting out of my comfort zone and learning about new cultures and people. I’m always on the move in my true Jitana style.
What stands out to you most about your company, and what it’s accomplishing?
The process of how we create and curate our collections. Our small team is involved in every step of the process from conceptualizing collections to sourcing materials and building relationships with artisans. Those relationships are what makes everything we do so worth it. We are building our own Jitana family around the world.
With so many facets to this brand, I’m itching to know what a a day-in-the-work-life looks like for you!
When I’m not at home in Venice, CA, I split the year between Bali and Mexico. A day in the life for me in Mexico looks like this…
I wake up and do my morning ritual which is to read for 10 minutes, drink some lemon water, and do a quick 10 min yoga stretch.
Then, I catch up on a couple of emails before heading out to breakfast. I have a couple of favorite restaurants in Guadalajara, but I always start off with a fresh juice, an egg plate, and some fruit.
Next, we head to my favorite part of our day – our main workshops! Depending on the day, we either spend the day creating new colors for our collections, creating new designs and styles, or overseeing production of our current orders.
After that, we head back to our room, wash up from being at the workshop all day and head over to another amazing restaurant for dinner. There are soooo many amazing restaurants in Guadalajara to choose from! It definitely is a go to destination!
We’ve been elated to continue honoring Women’s history month lately, could you share who has been the most impactful woman in your life or career and why?
My mother. She immigrated to the states when she was 20 years old from El Salvador. She was the youngest of 3 and from the stories she tells me she was quite ambitious. She first arrived in San Francisco, then met up with my father in New York where they lived for quite some time, and finally moved to LA in the 80s. My mom has always been a hard worker and not to mention a fashion icon. She has so many stories of my father and her traveling and living in different places. My mom has shown me that with hard work and dedication you can achieve anything you put your mind to. She always wonders how I became such a wanderlust child after I moved away for college, but really it’s all in my DNA thanks to my parents. They took me to places when I was younger to truly appreciate the beauty the world had to offer.
Favorite place to visit to spark inspiration?
Mexico and Portugal
As a creative, Color or neutrals?
Neutrals for home, but I love wearing color!
Sounds like you’re often on the go…One product that is always in your bag?
my “random” notebook for notes!
Favorite spot in your home?
My yoga room where my famous Jitana shelves live.
It’s hard to choose one – but your current favorite item from your collection at Shoppe?
This is hard! Obviously I’m obsessed with every piece we create, but I would have to say the Binx Vase. It was very intricate to make and every piece has a personalized touch from me with the pits being embossed by my own fingers.