Jill of Many Trades

Denette Buenrostro used her nursing degree as a springboard to a successful business career

Denette Buenrostro of San Antonio, Texas, is an RN and entrepreneur dedicated to improving the lives of others. She owns two medical-related businesses, Epicc Vascular and Blue Horizons Healthcare, and is in the process of growing the Buenrostro Cosmetics company and the online magazine, Epicc Magazine. She says none of her success would be possible, however, if it wasn’t for earning her Associate in Applied Science in Nursing from Excelsior College in 2007.

To start a business, one needs a strong will and determination, and for Buenrostro, these traits trace back to her time in the military. After high school, she began pursuing nursing, but at 19, she joined the Army Reserves, then enlisted in active duty and served in the Armed Forces Medical Corps, 3rd Infantry Division in Germany. After leaving the Army in 1991, she decided to follow in her sister’s footsteps and continue her nursing education. Buenrostro became an LPN and realized to increase her skills and income, she needed to move to the next level. That’s when she discovered Excelsior, then Regents College.

As a single mother of four children, Buenrostro needed to find a way to pursue her education, take care of her children, and work without sacrificing any of these. She applied and sent in her transcripts, and was accepted. “And so, once I got started, it was like non-stop. I didn’t look back. I set my schedule, made my own calendar, prepaid for my [CPNE] test so that I knew that I had to take it, and that’s what I did,” she says. Buenrostro adds that while attending Regents, she realized distance learning is not for everyone and self-discipline was a must for success. She says, “Excelsior prepared me a lot in that sense. I’m able to think independently, to work independently; and I run my businesses just like that, based on what I learned from going through the Excelsior program.”

Epicc Vascular is a vascular access company that provides nurses to travel to place PICC lines—special catheters called peripherally inserted central catheters meant to stay in place for an extended period of time to deliver antibiotics and chemotherapy—in patients outside of the hospital. Nurses go to nursing and personal homes as well as to hospitals so that patients don’t have to travel for the procedure. Buenrostro and her husband, who has an extensive background in business and marketing, have franchised the model, and to date there are 60 Epicc Vascular locations throughout the United States.

Blue Horizons Healthcare operates in much the same way as Epicc Vascular, allowing nurses to hire their own hospice agents and visit patients in their homes. She says this model reduces patient stress because they don’t have to travel to and from the hospital. Blue Horizons is also using cutting-edge technology to allow providers and patients’ families to use Facetime to communicate with patients, making them feel more engaged. This is something no other hospice franchise is doing, says Buenrostro. So far, there are about 12 hospice franchises operating under the Blue Horizons name, and more are in the works.

For both businesses, Buenrostro is pleased to provide a positive atmosphere where her employees like to work. She is also able to pass on her knowledge and experiences and says that some employees have even gone on to nursing school. “I feel that I played a big part in that because they can see all that we’ve been able to do, all that I’ve been able to do, in the business being a nurse,” she says.

Buenrostro Cosmetics began a couple years ago when Buenrostro realized that even though the colors of her cosmetics were beautiful, the names left a lot to be desired. Instead of names like “cocoa latte” and “coral,” Buenrostro wanted to come up with a line of cosmetics with names that are inspirational and positive. She named her lipsticks and eyeshadow palettes things like “empowered,” “like a boss,” and “massive success.” It’s since proven to be a big hit. She has also received positive feedback from her customers: “A lot of women have told me, gosh, this really helped me today. I really, really needed this.”

Buenrostro hopes to empower more people with Epicc Magazine, which features inspirational stories of people who own businesses, overcame adversity, or have a teachable moment to share. She hopes with these stories—and her own—she will motivate other people to get out and make a change. She says, “Maybe reading the story of my magazine will inspire them to go and do something great and wonderful.”

Buenrostro is an inspiration to many people, especially her children, who happen to be following in her path. Both her son and daughter are nurses, and Buenrostro couldn’t be happier. She says it’s been amazing to see what they’ve both been able to accomplish and is excited to see where they go from here.

Two businesses, one on the rise, and a soon-to-be magazine aren’t enough for Buenrostro. There are still so many things she wants to do; she already has an idea for a line of inspiring clothing for women. She says, “I just want to do as much as I can, because we only get one chance; we have one lifetime and we have to fit it all in there.”

More from Denette Buenrostro

The best business advice Buenrostro has ever received:

  • Never forget where you came from and why you started your business.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail; be afraid to not try again.
  • Ignore the naysayers.
  • Give back to the community.

Buenrostro’s keys to being successful:

  • Evolve constantly.
  • Help others shine.
  • Surround yourself with great and amazing people.
  • Have a real best friend. Buenrostro’s is Shalay Peterson, owner of Ohana Pediatrics. She understands the challenges women face, and the two are always there to build each other up and sometimes carry one another across the finish line.
  • Marry an incredible partner that loves you unconditionally and is there for you in the good, bad, and everything in between.