We had the good fortune of connecting with Hugo Juarez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Hugo, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Pretty good question to start off with, I started very small. Though for me at the time it was a big time thing, to create from scratch when your starting to pursue your interests. You don’t just jump into it right away, I did small time gigs and photo sessions and taking any creative tasks, I was not yet developed in a targeted niche which is okay because you get to figure out where your strong suits are. Tie them to your passions and if its a compatible combination you start seeking those types of projects next. Over time you’ll build relationships and developing an influential circle in that targeted niche.

At some point I was really interested in Enamel pins, Particularly portrait pins. I’ve seen logo pins but most were pretty generic which inspired me to make y own and start a little online shop. My short term plan was to only release these 3 and that’s it, thanks to the demand and support it pushed me to keep bringing out more designs. After a while I had taken notice of the audience that these products were targeting so it compelled me to produce other types of merchandise.

Soon I started seeing the potential in the products that I had put out, after trial and error in applying business knowledge towards the shops from experiences like putting out sales and vending in person. Knowing about what your target audience is interested which gave me an initiative to push past my comfort zone. I think its really important to give your customers what they want, after all they’re the ones who are willing to support you by supporting. This applies to anything from a store front, to design, and even towards photography.

Lets jump into my photography, these days I’m wanted to put out more male type appreciation. Standing out from the crowd and doing male portraits which in essence can crossover towards the type of aesthetic that the shop is in favor of which is a vintage metal merch aesthetic. There’s plenty of growth that has come and way more waiting to happen. Which then opens up doors for a full on operation handles by just me after dabbling into what it is that I am passionate about. the 3 components that make all of this happen, the store front, the photography sessions and graphic design services that keep me feeling accomplished and fulfilled. With a yearly substantial growth, I still feel that I am not where Id like to be yet. Though id like to say that I am in a way better spot than I was because there was a high level of uncertainty and doubt. Now I have envisioned the milestones that I want to reach on a monthly basis.

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.
One thing I really want to emphasize is that if you have passion an talent, you are able to achieve what most people believe to be impossible. I did not start with having anything set in stone in terms of my career. I started from zero which is actually a good place to begin. There has been many challenges and hurdles along the way that comes with a strong lesson that helps you grow.

I guess what really sets me a part is that I have two passions that I mix into one. They are both graphic design nd photography, most professionals would say its better to stick to one. I cant do that though haha, they both have beneficial pros. Ill do a concert photo session for example, the same assets that have been used for photos can be used for different formats such as bringing them into photoshop which I use frequently. Posters, tour shirts, concert tickets, promo designs, etc. The options are limitless when you narrow down your target market and build on top of that.

I’ve been able to get to this point in my professional career by one basic trait, and that is to giving that down to earth genuine customer service. The design aspect is very important don’t get me wrong, overall one thing that I really enjoy is having the talent to operate in a professional and friendly manner with clients. I’m not the biggest believe in corporate style policies though some principles are essential that you can learn from a brick & mortar. You don’t need a clean cut and sharp suit to win in life. Staying genuine and doing things for yourself will always attract the right prospects, clients friends and mentees.

Being yourself is the probably the most fundamental part of business to set yourself apart because you operate in such a way that has clients have that personal rapport that you build alongside each other for growth. Some of the lessons that have come with that success are based on your types of values. One big lesson that I’ve learned and applied is to know your worth and to execute every moment that you can being goal oriented and productive. Even if its just for a few minutes a day we learn to train our minds to do more in being focused on the end goal. Having that self discipline keeps you accountable in operating and maintaining. Eminem said “You can achieve anything you can set your mind to, it depends on how bad you want it.”

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.
In no particular order I’ll go ahead and list of places to explore and unwind first. If you have a sense of wonder these are definitely the spots worth checking out. Experiencing awe inspiring moments are essential for inspiration, nature, horror type aesthetics are my favorite! -Mystic museum
-Griffith Observatory
-Getty Villa
-Universal City Walk
-Forest Lawn Memorial
-Hermit Falls
-Old Town San Diego
-Joshua Tree / Yucca Valley
-Malibu State Creek Park
-Long Beach lighthouse
-San Pedro docks
-Universal Studios
-Little TOkyo (Downtown)
-Cabazon Dinosaurs
-Echo Mountain
-Mt WIlson
-Sycamore Canyon trailhead
-Six Flags (No Doubt)
-Go Kart racing (Gardena)
-Big Bear Lake
-Sequoia National Park
-Spooky Swapmeet
Huntington Botanical Gardens
-Balboa Park (San DIego)
-Monster a go-go
and Finally,
-Halloween Town

Food Spots:
-Grill em all (Alhambra)
-El Sushi Loco
-Teddys Tacos (South Central
-Fourth Horseman Pizza (long Beach)
-Gen kbbq (Burbank)
-Phantom Brewing (Gardena)
-Border X Brewing (Maywood)
-Rainbow Bar (Hollywood)
-Barneys Beanery
and last but not least,
-Grand Central Market

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s a few handful of people that are within my main circle of influence as well as network, the one that stands out the most on that list is my brother. Andrew is my younger brother, so Ill put him in the spotlight real quick, mainly because of the type of bonding that we have.

When we get together those moments are top tier fun, sure we hang out and have a great time but what also happens when we get together is that we have value based conversations. There’s powerful lessons we learn from one another every time we get in touch in different aspects from business, marketing, creativity, happiness, self development and different concepts that are both professional and personal development.

I personally belief that anyone who wants to achieve greatness, needs a friend / partner / associate that were able to talk to and keep each other accountable and inspires you to be the best version of yourself and push yourself even further. Doing this will definitely have you doing the most in life to achieve many milestones such as I have been doing. I consider him to be a high rolling over achieving individual who executes on his goals and ambitions. If we all had that type of mentality for an ambitious mindset to apply into our daily lives wed all be on the path to greatness.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heavydefenderstudios/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juarezphotograhy/?ref=pages_you_manage

Other: https://www.instagram.com/hugo.n.juarez/?hl=en

Image Credits
-Witchaven -Madrost -Agnoxia -Jose -Frank Perez -Andrew Gonzalez -Andrew Perez & Nichole Torres -Alex Umana

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.