Meet Johana Hernandez, a 30-something designer who is living out her faith in the world of fashion. We sat down with the GLAUDI Woman designer to find out how she became a fashion designer and why her faith is her driving force.
Did you always want to be a fashion designer? I never knew that I was going to be a fashion designer. I lived in Compton for 27 years. I never knew that I could be a designer but I kept on getting opportunities in the fashion world. I was always around fashion because my mom used to work behind the scenes sewing clothes. Her friend recommended that I go to an interview for a fashion merchandising job. I was so happy to go and be there. I said yes to everything even when I didn't know how to do them. I love clothes and making people feel good about themselves.
How long did it take you? It took seven years. I became a head designer at 22 and I started the GLAUDI brand at 24 in response to an event for women in El Salvador. The response was so great that I decided to continue. I think it’s just God. You just have to trust in God and when he opens the door you have to walk thru it.
Do you have any special training that has prepared you for your career? I went to school at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
What do you wish you would have known when you started? I wished I understood the legal side of opening a business. There are a lot of things that I wished I knew – now I have lawyers and a team of people who help me.
Are there any political or social issues you feel passionately about? My parents grew up in a poor town in El Salvador. My grandmother built a Christian school and then when they need money to fix the roof of the school and orphanage, my mom was able to give money back to kids. I love working with organizations like World Vision kids for that reason.
What advice would you give to someone just starting to dream or embark on their journey of building a business? Be sure to know who your customer is – it's not about making everyone happy but designing with your customer in mind.
Who has helped you the most during your professional career? There have been multiple people along the way but my brother Edwin helped me to take my business to a new new level. He helped me to be more structured and serious.
Did you have a model or person whom you aspired to be as a youth? I never had any idols, I looked up to God to ask what he wanted me to do.
What's the newest, freshest approach you are bringing to your fashion line? We design specifically for a woman who is a leader and not afraid to stand out. We don’t follow trends, we want women with style and customize for the women who want to feel good about themselves without showing too much skin. The GLAUDI Woman is always a leader.
Name one thing about you that most people don't know. I’m really transparent but most people don’t know that I'm a hopeless romantic.
Best compliment you've ever received? When people talk about my designs they'll say, "I thought I could never afford it but I've saved up for it." That means a lot to me.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I never thought of those things before but I do dream of having family and kids. I know that God will do it at the right time.
How do you keep a healthy work/life balance? It’s hard. Sometimes I have a great life balance and sometimes I don’t have time for fitness and my faith. My job is my lifestyle and I'm learning to better balance work and everything else. Right now, I'm reading Be Humble, Stay Hungry and Always Hustle by Brad Lomenick and it's really helping me find that balance. He's the guy that started Catalyst and then took a sabbatical.
What comes easiest to you as a designer? Ideas - I've always had them. However, learning how to transform them into reality takes time.
Favorite weekend activity? Hiking, outdoors, looking out at the stars and beach – anything outdoors. And horseback riding – I've always dreamt of buying a horse.
What’s a verse of scripture that means the most to you and why? Matthew 6:4 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Also, Psalm 1:3 - That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither - whatsoever they do prospers. It reminds me to be still and trust in God. Also that God will help me be fruitful.
What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile? I love making people feel good about themselves. I want every woman to feel beautiful and confident. I also want to use my platform to my faith with the world.