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Craft Not Hype: Meet George Esquivel

Today we’d like to introduce you to George Esquivel.

Hi George, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I designed my first pair of shoes in roughly 1994. it was on a trip with my now wife.

Prior to shoes and accessories, I dabbled in clothing.

I used to buy vintage shoes but they never properly fit. On a trip to Baja I saw a sign for a boot maker, I walked in asked if they could make me a pair of shoes if I sketched it for them. I couldn’t wait for the shoes to be completed I think I called them every week for roughly four months. when I picked them up I was hooked.

Now that I had my first pair I wanted more, but I didn’t want to go back to Baja to order more shoes. During this time I was driving a delivery truck. My route was from San Diego to Bakersfield. I started noticing shoe repair shops on my route. I thought to myself if they can fix them they must be able to make them. I think I stopped at all the shoe repair shops trying to find just the right person for over a year. I finally found a shoe maker that was interested in making my shoes the way I wanted them.

He was making my shoes just outside of DTLA in his garage.

I was a big music fan so I went to a lot of shows/ concerts. I became friends with the band members they liked what I was wearing and I started selling shoes to them.

It took off we were making shoes for all the local bands. Many of these small bands got signed and became very popular and famous. They helped spread the word and we were off and running.

Shortly after he started making my shoes, I started to help him. First, it was with organizing the leather, then cutting, them mounting, etc…

Over the years I just focussed on honing my craft. I moved to other shoemakers until roughly 19 years ago we starting making our shoes in house.

In 2009, I was part of the CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund. I was one of the ten finalists. The mentorship and guidance of the CFDA, Vogue and Anna Winter changed my life!!

Through Vogue and Anna Wintour/ CFDA From 2010-2017, I consulted and worked with US and international brands (Fratelli Rossetti, Chloe, Tommy Hilfiger, Tumi) honing my skills and learning about branding, marketing, and international business.  George eventually went on to be   appointed Creative Director for the global travel brand Tumi.

Anna Wintou basically sent me to school to be educated in the field of fashion.

In 2020, we opened Esquivel house Our atelier and showroom in DTLA. It is the culmination of all the years of grinding, learning, falling down and getting back up.

At Esquivel House, we continue to service our clients and friends.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I don’t think we are much different than other businesses, it’s very hard to own a business at any level, small, large or mega large.

I like to say living your dreams is painful and hard. It’s been a rough road.

Planning for the future with no money for planning, having employees, learning how to deal with retailers, understanding the business, planning for the future without knowing what the future holds. fowling your instinct when everyone says you are crazy it won’t work…. even when things are going good it’s still hard. at the end of the day all I can do is have faith in God and work hard.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
This is my favorite part of my job.

I love creating and designing products.

We specialize in modern classic products. Items that can be used today and also be relevant in 10 years. We design and make footwear and accessories for men and women.

I’m proud of the work we create for our customers. I love seeing people’s smiles when they receive what they ordered.

I think what sets us apart is how much love goes into what we make. Designs can be copied, but passion dedication and hardworking can’t be faked. We like to say craft not hype.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
I have two rituals that I like to try and stick to;

In the AM read My Utmost for His highest, it’s a daily devotional to get my mind and attitude right for the day.

In the PM I try to Journal. It helps me reflect and also focus on the good of the day and not just the bad. I think a lot of times the bad stays with us longer than the good.

During the day, I listen to music. On my drive to and from work, I like to listen to audible. I love autobiographies and biographies. Everyone should listen to Shoe Dog/ Phil Knight. I think it truly portrays what owning a business is like.

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