We had the good fortune of connecting with Hector Garcia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hector, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Growing up in LA I was surrounded by art, culture and creativity, not only in the neighborhood but in my household as 2 of my older siblings developed amazing skills in fine art. I remember dreaming of having great skills as well. As a pre-teen my parents encouraged me to draw and paint, One summer, I was probably 13 or so when my dad bought me an airbrush and put up a shed in the backyard – That was my first office 🙂 I quickly started painted t-shirts for all of my friends and neighbors, then moved onto painting lowrider bikes and winning paint contests. when I started high school, I filled every elective class with fine art. I dreamt of one day owning a design agency. I continued to paint and draw every spare moment I had which led me to taking on small projects. My skills quickly became good enough to win every award and accolade you could possibly win . 2 weeks out of high school I was hired as a graphic designer. After a few years of “Stepping Stone” jobs I landed my first agency job, I was like a kid in a candy store… A building full of creatives, Illustrators, designers & photographers working side by side on major name brands. As I continued my career it became evident that the long unpredictable hours was not conducive to a good family life.
So one day I had a golden opportunity to take on my first large client which allowed me to take that big leap of faith into entrepreneurship. With a wife and 2 small children at home, a mortgage payment and 2 car payments with meager savings. I began the next chapter in my life
We’ve created a Culture of “Anti-Agency”.
We consistently run at peak performance, we think better, have more energy and clarity than our competitors. We’re very efficient! Wanna know why?
NO overtime / NO unexpected late nights or weekends / NO apologies
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We’re an Award Winning branding & packaging creative firm that specializes in the Food & Beverage space. We’re located about 10 miles NE of “The Happiest Place on Earth” 🙂
Our Slogan is “You may not know us… But you’ve seen us” as our work has adorned the shelves of of virtually every grocery, big box, convenience store and digital environment.
I’m so fortunate to have worked with so many amazing people and brands over the years.
From start-ups to celebrities to #1 in the world Brands. From LA to NY (yes NY), and everywhere in-between.
A Cool moment is when we refreshed a luxury tequila brand that went into the VIP swag bags at the Golden Globes.
We also recently refreshed a BBQ Sauce & Rub line for famous rapper “Warren G”, He is one cool cat!
Business is about longevity with equal parts Work Ethic, Relationship Building / Maintenance, Persistence & Continued Learning.
The biggest lesson I’ve come away with in business is to let go of the losses. I know that I’m blessed to have won so much more that I’ve ever lost. Losing is part of business. So I choose to not hang on to what might have been.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh now you’re messing with me….
I love to take my pals on an hour walk / hike in my neighborhood (sans cell phones) before the sun comes up!
That’s where hearts and minds connect with no interruptions – We’ll catch up on family, business, life in a very intimate way and we always hug it out afterword 🙂
I may blend up a nice watermelon lime smoothie afterwards
Maybe we’ll go kayaking in Newport Beach, always a fun way to start the day
Or mountain bike some of the local trails
Then off to breakfast, soooo many great choices.
– The Original Pancake house in Yorba Linda – Best pancakes and bacon around
– Toast Kitchen + Bakery in Costa Mesa – The Ubay French toast is killer
– Chaupain Bakery in Lake Forest – Avocado Toast like no other, it’s the best I’ve ever had
– Golden State Coffee Roasters in Placentia – Need I say more? Incredible ambiance with historical brickwork inside
– Cici’s Cafe in Tarzana has about a hundred different pancakes combos – crazy delicious, worth the long drive
We can rent some cruisers and hit the bike path in Corona Del Mar, catch a little ocean breeze and sun
For Dinner one of my all time favorites is Jeff’s inviting Food & Spirits in Orange
2 of my dear friends that know their steaks highly recommended Jeff’s and told me they’ve never had a better steak. I’ve been a regular ever since… Jeff’s is very unassuming from the outside as it’s located in a strip mall
Once you open the door it’s like you’ve entered the Twilight Zone as Jeff (the owner) personally greets and seats you. Jeff’s is a quaint little place, very modern and elegant without the stuffy service or patrons. I’ve actually met some great people there and we’ve become friends (kinda like a modern version of “Cheers”)
Jeff reminds you the last time you were there, he tells you how he got his veggies fresh from the farm that morning.
The grill is within view and the service is unmatched. Excellent Food & Cocktails.
Babitas Mexicuisine in San Gabriel – Is another unassuming establishment, tiny and basic but oh man the food is high end traditional like their authentic Oaxacan style rellenos. They’re covered in White walnut sauce and pomegranate arils. Conversations with the owner and chef flow, they make you feel so special when you dine there.
Dan Tana’s in West Hollywood, Feels like you’re in an old school Vegas lounge, excellent Italian fare and you likely may catch a celeb or two enjoying a cocktail.
Javier’s in Newport Beach overlooking the ocean. Excellent Mexican food with a high end ambiance. The bar is an amazing spectacle and the cocktails are even better. I had my first Jalapeño Margarita there several years ago and it was “The Bomb”!
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?
Wow.. Where do i start?
I feel that my desire to help is embedded in my DNA. Mom & Dad would both go to great lengths to help a neighbor, friend or relative. Many times they’d also offer help to a perfect stranger. This has created in me a strong desire to be a friend and to help others.
My Eldest Sister “Bird” Joined the Navy at 17, she would often get me out of my home (which was in a very rough LA neighborhood) to experience things and places that I’d otherwise not see as a youngster – I tell people that she saved me from “the ghetto” by exposing me to a bevy of different people and cultures.
The Late Manuel Esqueda was the first latino officer of BofA many decades ago and was a great friend and mentor to me, I once asked him why businesses fail and he responded with a firm voice and stern look on his face that “business never fails, people fail!” – I found that perspective quite profound.
My fiend & peer group leader Ric Franzi, Renaissance Executive Forum OC chapter
My friend & business coach Steve Kinney, president of the 10-Star Group
My friend & business associate Ed Hart – Hart leadership Group
MY friend & business mentor JimDiRosa – SCORE
I keep a close circle of friends and colleagues that maintain high quality to their character.
I’m currently reading “The Pumpkin Plan” by Mike Michalowicz – Quite fascinating!
Rebecca Day Lilly Rosen Alex Navarro