Jhoanna Marissa Flores, self taught website coder and developer, founder & CEO of Willa Creative is an expert in curating digital website designs and eCommerce strategies. She is the brilliant mind behind some of my favorite brand sites like Set Active, Donni, Dedcool and so many more emerging fashion + beauty brands. Jhoanna has such an eye for design, we loved interviewing her for this series and always keep an eye out for new brands she's behind.

Melissa: What is a particular item in your closet you could never part with?

Jhoanna: My wedding dresses for sure. They are all vintage and got so lucky at this place called Happy Isles to get all three.

Melissa: What particular thing that your younger self wouldn’t believe that you’ve done now?

Jhoanna: I would have told her to be more present and take more risks. Say yes to vacations with friends, more dates, don’t rush through college and try to have a little more fun.


Melissa: What is your particular travel destination?
Jhoanna: Mexico! I love being fully immersed into the country’s culture and beauty.
Melissa: What is your particular go-to meal to cook? 
Johanna: For brunch I love doing veggie and goat cheese frittata with a side herbaceous arugula salad.
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of milk Milk – I do unsweetened almond (optional – to make more fluffy)
  • Half yellow squash
  • Half zucchini
  • Quarter of a white onion
  • Mild goat cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parsley or arugula for garnish.
Instructions: Preheat oven at 350 Put all cracked eggs into a bowl and give them a good mixing – add milk and stir Cut all your vegetables into small squares or half moons. Using an oven safe pan – warm up olive oil in a pan and add vegetables and Salk and pepper to taste. Cook for 5-7 minutes until they soften. Add eggs into the pan. Lightly mix around. Lower the stove to low/medium if its not already. Let the eggs cook without stirring for about 5 minutes. Then transfer the still not fully cooked pan dish into the over Let bake for 5 minutes then add in 3-4 tablespoon globs onto the top – they should sit on top like a pizza topping Let bake for another 5 minutes and start checking using a butter knife if the eggs are cooked all the way through. Then safely remove and spatula out the frittata onto a dish to serve.
Top with garnish of choice and more salt and pepper to taste.
For the side salad I love doing arugula with chopped up Parsley, Mint, and Basil mixed with lemon, Brightland olive oil, and their ramp vinegar, with salt and pepper. Yum!
Melissa: Ok, yum. Let me know when I can come for brunch! Who would be someone particular you’d like to host a dinner for?
Jhoanna: This is a tough one! So many – I go from Oprah to CardI B and so many in between. Each one for different reasons from hosting tips, conversations, to energy.

And that is fighting for things I believe in, speaking out about them and also choosing to work with brands who share those beliefs and who are making products and infrastructure benefiting a greater future.

Melissa: Anything you’re particularly obsessed with at the moment?

Jhoanna: Building her empire podcast! I love the summer berries and stone fruits from the farmers market and I love having my garden gardenias filling my home.

Melissa: Particular business advice you would give someone just starting in their career?
Jhoanna: Be honest and transparent about what you do and own your rates. Know what your overhead is, and what you need to make each month to see profit and grow year over year. Have a business savings always for 6 months +. And, if you don’t know much about accounting or business taxes – take a course. Know the ins and outs of your books and plan ahead for taxes. This to me is the most important foundation of a stable business outside of company culture and HR. But that can come once you scale a bit and you have that strong foundation.
Melissa: Has there been a particular turning point in your life?
Jhoanna: There have been many moments. The most recent and impactful for my business has to have been 2020. Between the pandemic and BLM it helped me really think about life, what’s important, what I believe in and how I want to live and work moving forward. And that is fighting for things I believe in, speaking out about them and also choosing to work with brands who share those beliefs and who are making products and infrastructure benefiting a greater future. This is what inspired the product Essio I have been building to launch as Willa Creatives first fully incubated product. Essio is a discovery platform that brings conscious consumers and value driven brands together. It was my way of creating a very positive and impactful e-commerce experience.
Melissa: What particular thing that your younger self wouldn’t believe that you’ve done now?
Jhoanna: I would say the places I’ve been able to travel and how much of a home maker I’ve become. How I love to cook and organize every nook of my home. When I was younger I hated having to cook decadent meals with my mom, doing chores and how my mom always wanted everything so particular and in its place – but now I get it, mom. 🙂
Melissa: What’s the nicest advice someone has ever given you?
Jhoanna: Trust your gut. My dad would always tell me this starting in high school through to college. He would budge me to make my own decisions about opportunities I had. He would tell me that there are going to be so many decisions you are going to be faced with and you have to learn to trust that you know inside for what’s right for you. I used to whine and say – “can’t you just tell me what you think is best?” and he would quickly say nope with a smile. I think he realized early on I can tend to be indecisive and really value outside opinion. This advice from him has helped me in business because it’s so easy to let everyone else’s opinion affect your decisions. But if you really search within you, you know what’s the right choice for you and your business. Also, meditation has helped me with this. Now, this doesn’t mean that I think I know it all, far from it.  I love my advisors and mentors and take their opinions to heart especially when it comes to things I have no experience in. But it should never trump what it is you really want for yourself and your business.
Melissa: What particular moment or person inspired you to start your company?
Jhoanna: I would have to give credit to an ex-boyfriend of mine. He would hear me complain about the company I was at, how hard I was working, and how I couldn’t find any companies in LA worth applying to. (and he of course didn’t want me to leave LA) He kept saying, “Start your own thing! You have so many ideas, are super hard working and you’re young.This is the time to take some chances.“ The difference between us was that he grew up in a very well to do family with a hefty security blanket to fall back on and I didn’t grow up that way at all. His outlook at risks and failure were so different from mine. However, ultimately, his nudge, encouragement and support helped me finally plan out one of the first risks I really took in my 20s. I’m glad I did.

Chatting with Me, Melissa Akkaway!

Hi, I'm Melissa. Founder of The Particulars and The NICE Pack. I am pretty particular about all things! I founded The Particulars.com in 2017 and I interview other particular people, like myself, to bring you the most particularly interesting, necessary, and worthwhile guides on fashion, travel, beauty, entrepreneurship, and more. In October 2021, The Particulars launched it’s first D2C product: The N.I.C.E. PACK — a chic, affordable, modern-day fannypack for all of your in-case-of-emergency items. After interviewing over 150+ pretty particular people for The-Particulars.com, we have a learned a thing or two about what they are looking for when it comes to accessories.
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