We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabriela Alvarez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabriela, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
One of the things I love the most about my work is the impact I am able to have on small businesses. I’ve experienced what goes on behind the scenes of a small business, the struggle of starting out, all the hats you have to wear, and all the work that goes behind just trying to sell one item. Through design, businesses are able to communicate with their customers and to differentiate themselves, which in turn leads to them making more profit. As these businesses grow, they invest back into their communities, which then leads to a higher quality of education and life for future generations. This cycle can truly shape inner-city communities and allow for real economic change and prosperity. My family and I started from the ground up. Along the way, there were people that helped us to get to where we are now, and I don’t ever forget that. One of my priorities in life is to give back to the communities I grew up in and the organizations that helped me thrive. My goal is to give back through education. In my personal experience, that is what allowed me to acquire the tools to craft this amazing life. I know there are a lot of kids out there who don’t have that opportunity so I want to open doors for them. I believe that design and business have allowed me to create my own power, and as I grow, so does my community.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I drive my business with the mindset that I’m creating positive change and that the values behind my business matter. I have also realized that the success of my business depends on me. I am the one who envisioned that concept in my mind, and I am the only one that can make that magic happen. So I choose to focus on my vision and trust myself. Part of what sets me apart is that I am bicultural and that my parents are small business owners. This has allowed me to be open to different ideas and be willing to listen. I am also very familiar with what happens behind the scenes of a business, I relate to my clients, and their success matters to me. I never take for granted the investment people have made in my services; therefore, I make sure to show up for them and deliver designs that provide value. I was raised by parents who are fierce dreamers and risk-takers. So, of course, growing up I was the complete opposite, I decided that my life plan would consist of a stable job, a roof over my head, money to travel, and call it a day. Once I graduated, I got offered a job as an in-house designer. The company I was working for reduced my hours, so I decided to take on client work. I started to freelance out of necessity but ended up loving it. I decided to take the leap and I left my job. Soon after, reality hit, and I was faced with the challenges that come along with freelancing. I missed the stability of a job but did not want to give up the freedom that came along with running your own business. So I decided to work part-time and freelance at the same time. This worked for me. I started to create a solid foundation for my business while I still had some stability. Little by little, I started to learn the nitty-gritty on how to make it as a freelancer, how not to struggle month to month, how to pay taxes, how to land dream clients, etc. Through being active in my community, reaching out to brands, and through word of mouth, I started to grow my clientele to the point where I was able to work on my own full-time. I started to do work with brands that I loved and the crazy part is that it all feels somewhat stable, something that I never thought would come out of being an entrepreneur. I think what plays a big part in the success of my career is always striving for innovation and continuing to invest in my education. I lead a minimalist lifestyle, which is important to me because it allows me to follow my dreams, and my husband can do the same. We’re both taking risks in life, and bigger financial commitments would mean sacrificing our business goals and aspirations. It has been 5 and half years of doing what I love every day and being able to have that freedom is what I am most proud about. Creating my own path has been challenging and will continue to be, but it has granted me freedom, passion, fulfillment, and so much more.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
FruitCraft Salud Tacos Communal Coffee Buona Forchetta Bing Haus Le Parfait Paris El Comal Scripps Coastal Reserve A Time To Dance North Park The Old Globe Coin-Op Punch Bowl Casbah Vin De Syrah
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?
Reality Changers is an organization that truly opened doors for me and helped me believe in my potential. Reality Changers prepares youth to become first-generation college graduates and agents of change in their community.