WARNING! NOT YOUR TYPICAL BIOGRAPHY.
Things are about to get real! Like really real. If we are going to embark in this relationship, I feel it’s only right that we get to know each other. But being that this is my website, I am going to start.
I was born in the ghetto on the small country of Panama. Yes, that Panama, the one with the canal. Fast forward give or take five years, when I came to full consciousness, and all I can remember was always getting into trouble, picking fights, and being a class clown.
CHILDHOOD: EXPLORING ART AND DESIGN
For some odd reason, I didn’t go to kindergarten, and went straight to first grade. (Maybe I should ask my mom about that) My earliest memory in the classroom was getting hit in the palm of my hands with a big ass ruler, probably for doing something dumb. I went to a Catholic private school called Colegio Bilingüe Vista Hermosa because my parents thought we deserved the best education. Even though we were poor, they made sure that my brother and I were set, at least scholastically. I totally sucked at school. I remember that whenever it was report card day, I would dread going home because I knew for certain that I was going to get my ass beat by my mother. Ten times out of ten that was the case.
I was a very hyperactive kid, and my mind has always been racing at a 100 miles an hour. I can’t sit still for very long, and can only concentrate in small clips at a time. Teachers will tell my parents that I had ants in my pants. I would have to get up off my chair every five to ten minutes, and consequently, a ruler always found its way to my hands. My mother says that the only time that I would sit still was when the Pink Panther was on TV. Come to think of it, maybe it is because he was always up to no good, and I could relate. However, it was not all bad. I always excelled at assignments where I had to build, create, or paint something. Arts and Craft class was all I looked forward to during the week. It was my bliss! I recall this moment from my childhood where I separated all the toys I had by color scheme, and created little cities in a town. Come to think of it, maybe that was the start of my OCD tendencies.
YOUTH AND FASHION
To understand my love for fashion (and shopping), we need to go back to a time when I was 10 to 15 years old. I remember vividly going out with my father every other weekend to visit different clothing stores, boutique, and importer shops. My father, even though we were poor, always liked the finer things in life. There was this instance where we went to this shop that carried imported clothes from India, and he found this exquisite burgundy silk shirt. He lifted it into the light to see the texture, and continued to explain to me what made a good silk from bad silk, how it’s supposed to feel, and who made the best silks. In case you didn’t know, India is a great place to find the best silks, they’ve been manufacturing them since the beginning of their culture. So they’re pretty much experts.
COLLEGE AND BUSINESS
Growing up, I always saw my father and mother owning their own business. He used to make porcelain figurines of the folkloric customs of the region. In Panama we called them “Polleras”, and “Diablos Sucios”, he also made miniature busts of the natives. I always thought it was the coolest thing. My father was always making something, and I admired him for that. My mother, she cooked meals for the people who worked in offices, and she would walk across town to drop them off. Everyone knew her around town, and they would always say that she had a motor on her feet. She walked so damn fast. Aside from cooking, she would sew curtains, and make totes for sale. I mean she was always hustling, and selling something. I was drawn to the life of entrepreneurship; I just didn’t know it yet!
The reason I said I didn’t know it yet, is because as I grew older I got brainwashed into believing that common tale of the guy who went to school, got a great job, had a pension and retired at 65. Sounds familiar? I’m sure it does. It goes without saying that the entrepreneurial spirit was suppressed. So during high school, I did as I was told, and graduated as valedictorian of my class. For college, I enrolled in architecture school, mostly because I fell in love with a design project during high school. We (The class) were asked to design a house from scratch, and I was really into it. This house had everything, spiral staircases, glass elevator to the second floor, relaxation room with a hot tub, and LED screens wrapping the room that changed scenery and daylight as the day went on. The master bedroom was wrapped with fish tanks, and had a huge walk-in closet. I’m telling you, it was pimpin’. However, architecture school wasn’t much of a dream. I was bullied by other students, which caused my grades to drop. Towards my third year, during a very stressful project, I almost quit. Two integral people helped me keep going. Lawrence “Tony” Howell, and my best friend Ethan James (I may expand on this later on in a video).
I did the next best thing, other than quitting. I changed my major to Interior Design. Fortunately, I was able to transfer most of my credits. Therefore, the past three years weren’t a total waste of time. This path was a lot better, even though there were a lot of sleepless nights, and a lot of hard work, I was able to excel. I loved what I was doing, I had fun doing it, and it showed in my work. I was able to graduate, offer hope, and show perseverance to other Hispanic kids that chose the collegiate path at the time.
During my time at college, I had several passion projects that I wanted to develop, I was just too afraid to go after them. For instance, there’s the “Gerardy” fashion brand which offers custom upscale women clothing. The “#DesignYourLife Initiative” which is affordable clothing for those who want to be and look their best, along with tips and tricks to designing their best lives. There was custom furniture, fashion and interior design services from “Gerardy I’m Design” (this was under the “Gerardy” fashion umbrella back then). There was “dot.Arch” which was an architecture firm. I would like to think those were seeds that were planted, and just needed to wait for the right timing.
Full disclosure, I’m 31 years old, and I work as an interior designer for an office furniture company out of Newark, New Jersey. My time there has taught me how to run and operate a small business. What to do and not do as an owner and operator. Most importantly, how to treat people the right way to earn their cooperation and respect. As a designer, I have managed from beginning to end millions of dollars in projects, ranging from small offices to offices housing 500 employees. However, it’s time for the next chapter of my life. Time to go after my own dreams of fashion and design world domination! As well as taking steps towards accomplishing some of those projects that were birthed in my college days.
My biggest encouragement for those reading this bio is that you act on your dreams as soon as you have them. I wish I had someone tell me that when I was either growing up, or while I was in school. There is no better time than the present! Go out there and Design Your Life!
I would love to hear from you. What are some of your dreams, goals, maybe fears if you’re up for it, and if there’s anything I can do to help?