We had the good fortune of connecting with Catalina Guirado and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Catalina, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I don’t think I had any choice other than to be an entrepreneur. I am what you call a jack of all trades in the arts. I was a successful model and then I was a TV host and then I was signed to Universal Music before moving to the business side of the entertainment world so I have been re-inventing myself for years. I also became a networking queen as I traveled the world and met a lot of people throughout my career. When I inherited my late father’s art and created the estate I had already previously been looking after musicians and photographers as a boutique PR so it seemed a natural progression. I have learned to be cautious and dip my feet in first so after holding an initial art show and getting a great response it seemed clear to me to run with it and create a really strong support network around me. It’s all about who you have as your team! I’m great at overseeing, networking, and making strong and sometimes out-of-the-box decisions. I always see myself as the creative director even though I’m the owner. My design businesses, Caballodesign.com and KarmaBesos are new and evolved out of COVID lockdown and my desire to work in the areas I love most which are art, design and horses. After COVID I strongly believe that the more fires you have burning the better because you never know what going to happen. I think a lot more people will be working for themselves now as it’s a brand new world out there in many areas, especially the arts!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been overseeing the running of the Guirado Estate for the last decade which is a lot of work as it’s a very large private collection of over 400 paintings by my late father Spanish painter Juan Antonio Guriado. I’ve recently released part of the estate for sale and I’m working with select art dealers and galleries including Spanierman Modern and Galstian Advisory. It’s an exciting next step that I hope will encourage a new generation of collectors that are interested in investing in an artist that is considered a master of his genre by academics and has had a huge career with strong provenance. The arts visionary subject matter is so relevant to today’s youth focusing on the environment, spirituality and expanding the mind. It’s a good time to invest in overlooked artists as they are being termed.
This has freed me up to develop my own creative outlets like my design brand Guirado Design. I select fine art paintings that I feel translate well in design and digitally remaster them to create textiles for silk scarves furnishings, fabrics, wallpapers, and prints. I love colorful and bold designs and am inspired by my father’s art, my Andalucian roots as well as my love of rock n roll London style. I opened my Etsy shop Karma Besos last year and created a range of face masks that did very well. I’m now focusing on sustainably produced homeware like throw pillows, bean bag chairs, outdoor picnic plates, wall art prints, and limited-edition capsule collections like my latest recycled swimwear line. I run it for a month and then change it up as I only do print on demand from personally sourced product partners. I think Karma Besos ( Karma Kisses) is perfect for lovers of a boho-chic vibe, who appreciate design and want unique high-quality products for their home. It’s all about indoor/outdoor lounging in style!
I’m currently focusing on my new project Caballo Design inspired by my favorite shop Hermes and my passion for horses. I have created a line of UV moisture-wicking riding tops in really bright colors with road safety in mind. I personally know people that have been hit on the road by cars because of poor visibility. In the UK, where I grew up, they are very safety conscious and always wear fluorescent accessories. I thought a cool street-style range of tops that incorporate SLOW DOWN slogans in vivid colors and beautiful horse art designs could be a good way to encourage equestrians everywhere to be more safety-conscious. Did you know that riders also get shot accidentally by hunters? It’s important to be visible in case of an accident anywhere on trail. If you fall off you want to get found! I’ve done a kids line as well so there’s no excuse for anyone not to look cute and stay safe. I have used my two horses Gracie, whom I recently had to put to sleep, and Farah as the design muses and my brand logo features Gracie galloping and the phrase ‘Stay Fearless. Stand out from the herd!’ as she was a force of nature. She’s going to live forever as the Caballo Design horse! I’ll be expanding the site to become a curated marketplace for other custom equestrian designers for jewelry, apparel, art, etc. A one-stop luxury design shop for horse lovers to visit.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite place is Malibu so I’d obviously plan a beach day on one of the small beaches up by Zuma, stop at the Vintage Mall to buy food for a picnic and then create our own cabana on the beach with my Karma Besos beach designs. I also love Ojai. We lived there for a few years and I love to visit my friends and hang at local spots. Obviously, the Ojai Valley Inn is beautiful to visit and I love the spa there, so a day lounging by the pool and having treatments would be on the list. Then a trip up to Santa Barbara to shop and check out the gorgeous restaurants and bars in the Funk Zone. We are lucky enough to live in the Hollywood Hills so I love taking people to the Hollywood sign and then hike to the Observatory, then maybe down the hill to my favorite bar La Poubelle! Tragically, we have lost so many of our landmark spots due to the lockdown.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been lucky enough over the years to have been given amazing opportunities by people that have trusted in my abilities regardless of the fact I haven’t got a degree in the subject or years of experience. I was given an incredible opportunity that actually helped shape me as a businesswoman by Andrew Bently when we formed one of the first music digital streaming sites called LP33.TV in 2008. I worked in music A&R ( actually using my music background – I am a classically trained musician and was signed to Universal Music Publishing) and saw a gap in the music industry for unsigned talent. He was putting his idea together for a new music streaming site and he made me one of the directors of the company to help create the vision by finding the artists.. He taught me how to create a well-constructed plan of attack, not to get overwhelmed, and to run my own team. I worked 14 hour days. I was the only woman director and he totally gave me the balls to be able to play with the big boys around the table.
Instagram: @catalinaguirado @guiradolegacy @caballo_design @guirado_estate
Facebook: @catalinaguirado @caballodesign @guiradolegacy @guiradoestate