We had the good fortune of connecting with Gunther Estrada and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gunther, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I think it all happened organically, there was no thought process behind it. perhaps later on when things got a little more busy I needed to understand the seriousness of having a company as far as legal business documents, Taxes and all that good stuff that comes along with your own business. My company originated from a group of friends making art and having art shows. I think when all that ended the nostalgia of not having my friends around made me continue pushing art in many different ways and play with the original collective name (Los Garbage) and put my own spin on it without really knowing it will eventually turned into a company. but here I am. this is Garbage Made
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Born in Lima, Peru, in the barrio of Surquillo, my brother and I got introduced to skateboarding one summer while buying tropical fish for our home tank. In front of our eyes, a pack of young skaters glided by us with their fluorescent-colored gear and American skateboards. One of them “ollied” onto the sidewalk and that was the beginning of our new lives. We continued skating and progressing for a decade after that moment until an opportunity arose to leave my chaotic, corrupted and beautiful 90s Peru.
I came to the US in 1997 on a student work trade program with willingness and excitement for a new life. Over the next several years, I strived to learn how to navigate a new culture. I kept my skateboarding dreams alive as well as the other artistic expressions that came with it. Music and drawing have always saved my soul from the day to day meaningless jobs I was able to find while trying to get by. It was not until I got the opportunity to work in the skate industry that my life changed drastically, and I saw the other side of the culture that I had loved for so long. I became involved with pro skaters and artists that were producing new global content and designs. I worked at DC Shoes for 8 years, developing the Latin American market as a sales associate, merchandiser, and finally as marketing director. I received a global recognition award for my work in 2014. My next chapter was in Volcom’s marketing department for three years where I became even more involved with the creative side of the industry. This formative time taught me various aspects of business. More importantly, I had created enduring friendships in this community that transcend borders and cultural differences.
The name Garbage Made or GRBG Made was born from an art collective in 2013 called “Los Garbage”. It was a group of best friends doing what they loved, skateboarding, art and music while working for skate apparel companies. Shortly after coming together, the collective hosted an art show at Long Beach Skate, a focal point of the LB skateboarding community. We kept producing art until 2014 when everyone migrated out of Long Beach to look for other work opportunities, but the love for these great friendships and moments made me think of the importance of the name and I decided to continue and put my own spin on it. I used original designs based on a classic Americana style using vintage monster illustrations and fluorescent color pallets. In 2017 I had the opportunity to open a store in Long Beach on the iconic 4th Street, also known as “Retro Row”. It was a very challenging time in my life, and I decided to bring my mom out to help me. We spent many hours planning and finishing the products before opening day. My mother even hand-stitched each label on every item. It was a lot of work but, together, we made it happen. This brick-and-mortar location helped me to integrate my work into the community which had felt like home for so many years. Having been open for almost two years, I have been able to offer apparel and handmade leather goods as well as workshops and clothing repairs. Our mission is to pay tribute to the ultimate purpose of design: beauty, functionality, and durability, inspired by designers, craftsmen, and artisans of times past, Garbage Made or GRBG Made is devoted to hand-crafted products that will last a lifetime, never compromising quality and with an unrelenting attention to detail.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Usually all my friends that come to visit are my childhood friends and they all skate. so I will probably just take them to skate in the city. to the Scum Ditch or the Rosie’s beach parking lot. then to a bar, maybe The V-Room or Alex’s. for food most likely Aji (The Peruvian Place) or El Torazo. The Beach is always nice to visit in the mornings…Thats it
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to my family and my friends, and to everyone that puts action into their thoughts. Don’t let the perfect moment find you unprepared!
Facebook: GRBG MADE
Youtube: GRBG MADE
Aimee Nicolas @aimeenicolas