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Meet Teddy Borja of Estero in San Luis Obispo County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Teddy Borja.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Teddy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
ESTERO initially started with my buddy Sam and I. We worked out of the same firehouse in Los Osos and spent a lot of days of surfing, paddling, hiking, mountain biking, and adventuring. We talked about making some adventure apparel with Central Coast vibe and donating a portion of the sales to a local non-profit organization. Graphic designer and friend Troy Nebeker, of Monster & Sea, finalized branding. Monster & Sea gives a portion of their sales to help others so we wanted to follow suit by donating to Operation Surf.

After a year or so in business, I became sole proprietor of ESTERO and added on two additional non-profit organizations to assist.

My company is small and that’s how I like it. It’s just me…but I get a lot of help from family and friends. Family helps by picking up production, putting together and sending out orders, and accounting. Friends help with modeling, product testing, and fashion feedback. I started adding a select few adventurers called “Adventure Ambassadors” to help spread the word and get the name out there. I have a few “Flow Operators” that really stand out in their own adventure discipline and show ESTERO in a positive light.

ESTERO donates 20% of sales proceeds to the three following Central Coast charitable organizations: Operation Surf, Morro Bay National Estuary Program, and San Luis Obispo County Firefighters Benevolent Association.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Some of the struggles I’ve had were mere learning points.

I’m a firefighter by career…if my merchandise happened to be on fire, I could definitely tell you how to put it out. In regards to small business, I’ve been able to network, pick a lot of brains and learn!

A few valuable things I’ve learned are to provide good customer service, make good quality products, and give back whenever you can.

In my book, a good word of mouth recommendation is more solid than fancy advertising.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
ESTERO is in the fourth year of business creating small batch, ocean and adventure minded apparel.

Over the past few years of operation, I’ve produced over 47 separate product lines including t-shirts, racerback tanks, hoodies, hats, jackets, and decals.

All apparel items have 20% of their revenue going to three non-profits that help our wounded veterans, environment, or local firefighters.

100% of all decal sales is forwarded to the assigned non-profit.

I have great pride knowing that all ESTERO revenue is used further the mission of giving to those in need.

What were you like growing up?
Born in the mid-70’s, Moray Boogie Boards, banana skateboards, LEGOs, good and honest food.

We watched re-runs of “Emergency!” and first runs of the “Dukes of Hazard”.

Music was AM690… “The Mighty 690” was the Top 40 station in San Diego.

Home music was any classic rock, 50’s oldies, and anything mellow.

Spent my first few years in Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach. Was very fortunate to have a dad that walked us to the beach after he got home from work.

Mom was about the most loveable you could ever have…still is.

Bored with school for the most part.

Wanted to be a firefighter since the early years.

Never played an instrument but always captivated by the percussion and the bass.

Anything surf, skate or BMX was rad.

Worked at a surf shop in high school and that opened a lot of doors.

Surfing became life but EMS and fire service followed.

9/11 happened in my first year of working as a firefighter/paramedic…that solidified a lot of things.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Teddy Borja/ESTERO

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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