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Meet Gueston Smith of Guesscreative in South LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gueston Smith.

Gueston, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a Black man with the same first name as that random guy from the Beauty and the Beast but it’s spelled slightly differently. Don’t worry, I’m not an asshole either but my name is an entertaining icebreaker for sure. My family and friends call me “Guess” for short. Either one works for me. I was born and raised in Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas. We do things big out there but I came to Los Angeles in 2010 to attend the school of architecture at USC. Fight TF On. I’ve been chasing my dreams here ever since. For my career, I describe myself as a design thinker. I can take your thoughts and ideas and plan its creation to be designed especially for you. It’s more of a multidisciplinary career path.

Currently, I design luxury residential and commercial spaces out of shipping containers. I design modern & simple yet unique logos for entrepreneurs that express their visions. I am also a student of Jeet Kune Do under Eric Carr, the philosophy /martial art that is heavily influenced by Bruce Lee. Mind Body Spirit over everything. I come from extremely supportive & loving parents. They are soulful, unique, creative and vibrant Black parents who can make you smile whenever you’re in their presence, both together or separately. My mom was the intentional disciplinarian who showered me with love, encouragement, direction and incentives. She always pushes me to be my best. My dad is a polymath. A wise, supportive & altruistic jack of all trades who can learn and do anything (handyman, a construction manager, fashion model, a furniture designer, a mechanic, a cook, a salesman…to name a few). They gave me the childhood they never had.

With me, they vowed to break the cycle by working to analyze their own traumas and refusing to pass those traumas down to me. My parents always made me feel like I can do anything that I put my mind to. They sparked my creativity by encouraging me to explore what excited me. I would always seek to learn something new. However, I wasn’t an only child. I was blessed with a younger sister with special needs who taught me so much about the beauty and fragility of life. My sister’s name was Talyia Vasse. I have her name tatted on my chest so she goes where I go. She passed away when she was nine years old. I was 14. Talyia is one of my reasons for being. My sister had spastic Cerebral Palsy which meant that she could not walk, talk or have control of her own motor functions, so we had to do everything for her. At five years old, I wanted to help my mom so I learned to take care of my sister, bathe her, put her hair in ponytails, feed her, change her diapers & carry her up and down the stairs (even when she was almost as tall as me, girls grow so much faster than boys).

Despite her disabilities, Talyia was a happy & loving child who knew that she was loved dearly. Talyia is the “why” for my design path. When she was alive, it was difficult to find a home that accommodated her special needs so my mother suggested that maybe I could design a home for my sister one day. That had my wheels spinning. I didn’t even know that was a possibility at the time. I couldn’t help but think, you mean to tell me that I could one day design spaces where families eat, sleep, & come together? Shortly after, my mother bought me a home design program at the age of 12. I played around with that program, day and night and eventually, I was designing 8000 square foot mansions on my own for fun. I was going in. These homes had circular windows and massive balconies. After Talyia passed away, I made a vow to myself that I would become an architectural designer for her and here I am…12 years later.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not even close. Life throws disappointment, guilt, loss & unexpected outcomes that test our grit, challenge our self-belief and stretch our thinking patterns. There have been plenty of moments where I could have given up but I see those kinds of situations as opportunities for growth. I try to see everything as a source of education. Maybe the jobs that I didn’t get but was so excited for weren’t meant for me at the time. Maybe If I didn’t have my opinions, ideas and suggestions invalidated at my 9-5 job, I wouldn’t have given up a lucrative salary and benefits to bet on myself. Each circumstance thrown at me has made me stronger, wiser, tougher and more resilient. I never take my failures personally. The goal isn’t to seek perfection but it is to adapt to my failures and change my behavior in order to keep moving in a positive direction. Our perspective of our own reality is everything. Every negative situation has the possibility of being positive, an opportunity. They are learning experiences that are key to the journey. I’ve learned that the only difference between a failure and a learning experience is how we think about it. Thinking with that kind of positivity has provided me with great opportunities so far and I’m excited for what’s next.

Guesscreative – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am the lead designer/head of operations at Kubed Living, a startup company that designs & coordinates the construction of luxury shipping container spaces all around the United States. I’ve designed custom homes, predesigned homes, wine bars, gyms, duplexes, multi-family units, live work spaces, ADUs, studios, We are based in Los Angeles & we currently have a showroom in Sierra Madre. I am most proud of our organic team culture. At Kubed Living, We get to know our clients’ needs, desires and pain points to provide a space that is perfect for them. There is currently no other container design company in the United States that creates custom shipping container structures and we have the largest Instagram following in the world. Additionally, I design logos for entrepreneurs by taking their vision, ideas and business outlook to create a brand identity that closely expresses their vision. It’s so rewarding to witness how excited my clients get for their own business after receiving their logo. What sets me apart is my willingness and curiosity to try new things, to explore and to learn a skill and ultimately learn more about myself.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I believe that success is rooted in having something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to. Success is the culmination of having the belief in something, taking actions with that belief, having faith when times get rough and staying consistent/persistent enough to see it through. For me, it’s all about getting better. I’m trying to be the best that I can be. I’m not competing with anyone else but myself. I’m in a race with one participant so I don’t feel the pressures of comparisons to others. If I can continue to improve on myself as a person whether that be through my career, my relationship with others, financially or my physical capabilities, then I consider myself successful.

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