Today we’d like to introduce you to Yesenia Hernandez.
Yesenia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Ever since I was in elementary school I have loved creating art. My family says that I took after my dad. During my childhood I can remember my dad spending hours in the garage painting. The garage walls were covered in graffiti and drawings of my brother and I. When I was in second grade, my parents took a picture of me next to my award-winning drawing called, “reaching for the stars.” It was a drawing of me flying through the galaxy reaching for the stars and the moon. My art teacher had loved it so much, that she paid $15 for it! I was seven, that was a lot of money for me! All throughout high school, I took AP art classes. I went to a career-high school in Irving, Texas called Singley Academy where my focus was in Fine Arts.
After high school, I worked full time at a hospital and went to community college in the evenings. Eventually, I transferred to The University of Texas at Arlington where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design degree. Somewhere in between my time at UTA, I got married. I know crazy but that’s another story! So, after graduating, I started to work for a high-end furniture company in the Dallas Design District. It was very demanding but I learned a lot about the trade. During my lunch breaks, I would doodle flowers in my sketchbook or on my iPad using the Procreate app to relieve some of the stress and just get my mind off of work. I would always look forward to my lunchtime so that I could doodle some more. I later started to look into other floral artists like Alli K and others like her on Instagram and Pinterest. I saw that they were making money off of their cute floral designs. I thought, “hmm, thats’ interesting… I could do that later in the future.” So, I kept working for that company as a designer/AutoCAD tech for two and a half years. My husband and his dad own a successful construction company where they flip homes and build new construction homes as well. They were needing some assistance in the design department and with clerical duties. Our goal was always for me to work with them and become a freelance home designer.
So, when the opportunity came up last August, I took it and quit the first job I had after college! So now, I work with my husband helping out with design and clerical stuff as much as possible. I started to realize that I wasn’t as stressed anymore and had stopped doodling. I began to miss my doodle breaks at work! I began to draw again, but now, it was for fun, it wasn’t really because I was stressed but mainly just to relax. In September, I had a random thought about putting one of my designs on a t-shirt. I met up with one of my husband’s close friends who has his own screen printing shop and paid for one of my designs to be put on a t-shirt. That’s where it all started! The moment my husband saw the shirt he was so impressed and said, “babe, I think people would buy this!” His kind words gave me so much confidence that I went for it. I talked to our t-shirt guy and he told me the same thing and he thought there was a market for my type of designs.
So, I went for it but I still needed a name for the company! The name Autumn Moon has sentimental value. I have always been mesmerized by the moon and the stars, as I told you earlier about my drawing when I was in second grade, and I have always loved the autumn season. I was born on an Autumn day, my husband was also born in the Autumn season, and we were engaged in Autumn so you can see why I love Autumn, plus, I love all of the colors and everything that the season brings. So, the name Autumn Moon was chosen and I bought $1,000 worth of inventory to start with and on October 18, 2018, my website autumnmoonclothing.com went live! So, here we are now, four months later and I’m still going strong. I still design homes but I am having a lot of fun with my new venture as well. I try to sign up for as many local markets as I can and love to meet new people and especially love hearing about how much they love my designs. It makes me so proud that someone will pay money to wear something I drew by hand. So, that’s my story so far… there are many other goals I want to reach. I’m just getting started. 🙂
Has it been a smooth road?
There have definitely been struggles because I’m a first-time business owner. I’ve had to learn a lot about what sells and what doesn’t sell. At first, I made the mistake of over ordering inventory. I thought as long as I had a website I would be selling at least 100 shirts a month or so. I was so wrong! I had to first build up a clientele. Promote on social media like crazy! I’ve had a lot of struggles with influencers who ask for free stuff in exchange for publicity and have failed to advertise as they promised. I’m still learning about that. But I don’t give up because I know this is part of it. It’s my first time doing this and I learned from my mistakes.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I hand draw everything on my iPad. My designs are not computer made graphics or vectors from online stores. I see a flower, I draw it and come up with a design that people would like to wear. My designs are made to look hand drawn. They aren’t meant to look like perfect computer generated graphics. They’re raw drawings from my sometimes shaky hands. I try to be minimal with my colors. I mainly print in black and white and have recently introduced a dark heather grey t-shirt.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I definitely believe Dallas is perfect for all entrepreneurs starting their own business! There are so many people in this city ready to start something new. Dallas also has a big art scene starting from museums like the DMA or the Nasher to graffiti and murals all over Deep Ellum and Bishop Arts. My husband and I have traveled all over the world but have always said there’s nothing like Dallas.
- Shirts are regularly around $25
- Hoodies $32
- Website: www.autumnmoonclothing.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/autumnmoonclothing
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/AutumnMoonClothing