Archive for the T.B.N Interviews Category

T.B.N Interviews: Andrea Warmington

Posted in T.B.N Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2016 by James Field

 

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on” -Albert Einstein

Greetings! Its been sometime since my last T.B.N feature with the Master Jeweler & Sculptor, Mr. Wallace Chan, and I felt that it was time for some new material!

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Andrea Warmington, a very talented Creative Director in the Beauty & Fashion industries by way of London, England. She discusses her passion for creativity, design, art and how she achieved her dreams in the overly saturated melting pot that is Manhattan.

TBN: Let’s begin with your background, where did you grow up? When did you decide that moving to New York was something you wanted to do?

A.W: I grew up in London England, I came to New York to go to Art school, The School of Visual Arts. I was always into art and design. I loved drawing. My sister was going to Parsons in New York. I was really inspired by her doing what she loved, which was fashion designing. So I decided to apply to art school.

I didn’t think I would have a career in the arts. I was really into computer science in a strange way. I loved that aspect of writing code and getting into the technical side of the computer system. But I had a passion for art and acted upon it. After art school the first job I got was senior designer at Harper Collins, designing book covers. I must say I felt like I was in a dream the first 6 months. I was doing what I loved to do… Designing… Designing books. A book cover to me was like designing a mini poster. Loved the process and how every book cover tells a story, working with the typography illustrations, photography and just being experimental.I did that for a year and wanted to try something new.

I got hired at McCann Erickson as a junior art director working on L’Oreal. It was great, fast passed, and a new creative challenge, beauty advertising. I did that for a year and shortly after that worked for Condé Nast where I freelance for a few years, for Mademoiselle and then Vanity Fair magazines. I loved working there and it really allowed me to work on some fun special projects. I was working on project invites and advertorial pages, and it was always fresh and new. I stayed there for a few years.  I really was ready for a change. And change was working at Ericsson Fina, a beauty boutique ad agency which was a part of Grey New York. I worked on Covergirl as an Art Director to Creative Director where I worked on campaigns with Taylor Swift, Queen Latifah, and Janelle Monáe to mention a few. I worked with a number of amazing photographers and directors, models hair and makeup teams. I loved it!

Janelle Monae for Covergirl

TBN: What was your “Ah ha” moment? ( I borrowed this question from one my idols, Oprah) When did your calling speak to you?

A.W: I think that working at Ericsson Fina was a great “Ah Ha” moment because we pitched a beauty and hair campaign and we won the account. It was a great experience. We were a small creative team of say 8-10 and it was like working with your family. Really supportive, really creative and a good creative challenge.

TBN: As a Creative Director, is there a specific medium that you enjoy working in more than others such as photographic print campaigns vs. digital or television work? What’s the least favorite part of what you do, is there one?

A.W: I really love photography and film. I love the process of coming up with a creative campaign for a brand, the research and development and crafting of that campaign and then producing the final concept. I love the story telling aspect. I love how a photo alone can tell the story without words.

I love the idea of tapping into ones emotions…

I’m not sure if there’s a least favorite aspect of what I do. I have to think about that…

TBN: You work with what I assume to be large groups of talented individuals such as Photographers, Hairstylist’s, Makeup Artist, etc. Do you find it difficult to align on one common vision for a project?

A.W: I’ve worked with Pat McGrath an amazing British and Black makeup artist, Photographer Tom Munro, Micheal Tompson, Dan Jackson, some really amazing creative guys who have worked on some major editorial stories and advertising campaigns. I must say they are all so collaborative and creative. I love working with a team of experts who do what they do best, I have my vision, but it’s just the foundation. Working with a strong team is key and you must be flexible. I don’t like to work with drama queens because the end of the day we are all putting our names on the final product i.e ad campaign or editorial story.

TBN: Did you always envision that you would have a career in this field of work?

A.W: No… I really wanted to be a systems analyst. Can you believe that?!

TBN: This may be a bit of a touchy subject, but do you think that we’ve made collective progress in the availability of jobs within the Fashion Industry for people of color?

A.W: Wow… I’m black and was born in the UK. I remember working at Saatchi & Saatchi in the UK and I was the only black creative person in the building. I would say things have changed a lot over the years. I can talk for the beauty business which is somewhat similar to the fashion business. I do think I’ve had much opportunity to work in the Beauty business both here in the US and in Europe and Asia. It could be timing, but I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work were I’ve worked.

Screen+Shot+2015-09-26+at+4.28.48+PM

TBN: Where do you see your career trajectory within the next 3-5 years? What goals do have on your list, and what advice would you give to readers on how to pursue and manifest their own dreams?

A.W: James that’s a good question. I really love the creative field. I really would love to strive to create work that not only inspires and educates people in some way, but touches you emotionally and in a positive uplifting way. So I’m keeping it open so I can explore new opportunities that will allow me to do this. My new creative challenge now is working for a start up magazine that bridges all the experience I’ve gained over the years. This magazine is a celebrity lifestyle publication that gives you exclusive stories and keeps you current with beauty, fashion, trends, with a European twist. The magazine is in both Spanish and English. I was brought on to take this European Tabloid magazine to the next level in the US market. Check it out on a newsstand near you, Hola! (Made in the USA)

TBN: Lastly Andrea, how has this journey been for you thus far? What has been the most interesting part for you, and what has been the most challenging?

A.W: It’s been a great journey…

I think that things are changing in the industry. I started out in the industry where you were an expert in your field i.e: Beauty. Now it seems that we are all experts. The internet has changed the industry and how consumer are involved in the process. Now you can create your own Youtube commercial and have thousands of people watching it from all around the world… that’s pretty major. From online Youtube videos to digital magazines, Instagram, Facebook, these are all creative tools to express yourself.

Andrea Warmington

Main Site

Facebook

I would like to give a big sincere thanks to Andrea for taking the time to chat with me for The Black Nouveau!

It has been a wonderful insight into the exciting world of Creative Art Direction.

J.F

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T.B.N Interviews: Wallace Chan

Posted in Nouveau Spotlight, T.B.N Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2014 by James Field

 

“My greatest enjoyment is to express emotions, wisdom of our ancestors and the greatness of Mother Nature through jewelry creation.” –Wallace Chan

 

I am honored and overjoyed to feature a fascinating and extremely inspiring interview that I conducted with Master Sculpture & Jeweler, Mr. Wallace Chan. We discuss his exceptional skill in jewelry design, his inspirations from nature and his outlook on life and creativity.

Enjoy….

 

To begin I would like to formally welcome Master Sculpture & Jeweler Mr. Wallace Chan to The Black Nouveau, I am so honored to speak with you.

TBN: Since your debut as the first Asian designer at the 2012 Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris with the collection “Path to Enlightenment: Art & Zen” your work has been featured in countless publications and has been critically acclaimed as works of sculptural art.

Your style is a whimsical blend of naturalistic themes, fantastical motifs and exceptional craftsmanship, where do you draw inspiration from?

W.C: To create is to live fully, to absorb knowledge in all ways, and to practice repeatedly. The creating process can be described with two words, “life” and “understanding”.

Life is the key to creation, a vital element. Creation changes, and is full of vitality, it reflects the pulse of the heart and the spirit of the age, and motivates the development of history. Creation and life are interactive, for there to be creation, there must be life, and for life to have meanings, creativity is a must.

“Understanding” involves communication and channels. The creator must understand the skies, the earth and in between the two, human beings. It may sound a bit vague, but to put it in simple words, it means the creator should learn about the past, the present and the future, and he should dig into different kinds of knowledge e.g. astrology, geography, technology, history, psychology and philosophy etc.

As for inspiration, when you understand life and the universe, you will naturally understand that, there is humanity in everything, from a piece of wood to an elephant. When you treat them with emotions, they respond to you in the same way. Inspiration comes from the accumulation of our everyday experience. Like the herbal cabinet of the Chinese doctors, each little piece of our memories is stored in one little drawer, and when I see a gemstone, these pieces of memories come out from different drawers, they entwine, merge and transform with one another, and this interaction generates creativity.

I hope to re-interpret and enliven the elements of Mother Nature and culture through jewelry creation, and pass the wisdom of the skies, the earth and human beings on to the next generation. But to make it happen, solid and cultivated craftsmanship is crucial, from techniques to materials and tools, it is important to invent new ways in order to have our imagination actualized.

T.B.N: You have been credited as the creator of the “Wallace Cut” may I ask what this means, how did you come about designing it?

W.C: Why did I invent “Wallace Cut”?  One time I went to a photography exhibition, in one of the photographs I saw the images of a man overlapped.  They said it was a dark room technique called “multiple exposures”.  I wondered if I could achieve the same effect with carving.  I kept this piece of memory and the curiosity on my mind. When I finally started learning about gemstone cutting, I saw how the light entered the gemstone’s body through its surface, and how the light interacts intensively inside it.  This experience recalled my impression on “multiple exposure”, and since I had acquired the knowledge to carve and design with gemstones, I could try to realize my idea this time.

The Wallace Cut is a carving technique which creates an illusion in transparent materials by combining medieval 360-degree intaglio into 3-dimension engraving.  The resulting quintuple reflection unifies these features with precise calculation and angle casting and forms a 3-dimension and multi-line reflection.

The "Now and Always" necklace featuring a signature 35.4ct Wallace Cut aquamarine with the image of Horae the Greek Goddess of nature, with amethysts, diamonds, blue topaz, sapphires and opals.

The “Now and Always” necklace featuring a signature 35.4ct Wallace Cut aquamarine with the image of Horae the Greek Goddess of nature, with amethysts, diamonds, blue topaz, sapphires and opals.

The concept sounds simple, but the execution was near impossible.  Let’s take my “Horae” design as an example.  To get a full-bodied, 3-dimensional face for this work, I had to empty out precisely just such a face at the back.  First, I bored a tiny hole right in the center.  That’s the starting point, which is the nose.  Then I slowly widened the space from inside out.  As it was done in reverse, every drill was an act of reverse thinking: left is right, deep is shallow, and front is back.  Since the space inside is the face of the Goddess itself, there was no space to move around. But that’s how the image acquired multiple reflections, creating different angles of the face.  I carved the front view of the Goddess, and she would be looking at me sideways

Moreover, the tools that were available on the market were not sophisticated enough.  I had to make some of the tools specifically for this work.  I went to a factory and became an apprentice in order to learn about the mechanics it took to invent the tools. After six months in the factory, I found out that I could use the dentist’s tool for it.  But the drill rotated for 36,000 times per minute, which was too fast, and the heat it generated while carving would damage the stone.  At last I realized that I had to do the carving under water.  So here it went: I carved, I dried the stone, checked to see if it was alright, (because one tiny mistake would be reflected into four more mistakes, and the whole piece of work would be ruined,) and then I put it into water to carve again. It was a stroke by stroke process, I forgot how many hours I worked on each piece, but at the end I felt that my mind, my hand, and the tool were all working as one, it was my consciousness doing the carving. It was 1987, and it was one of the craziest carving periods in my life. I surrendered myself to the magic of light and shadow, and found great happiness in it.

I had to do a lot of calculations to determine where the center was – where exactly would the face be situated.  The next step was the amount of space for each half of the face; both sides have to be symmetrical.  Then there were the angles of the faceting on the periphery of the face in order to achieve the number of reflections that I wanted.   And even if the calculations were all correct, I still needed to put them through some trials before I committed them to the stone.  All in all, this piece took me two years to finish, not counting the years I spent in perfecting the 3-dimensional technique. Life was not easy during those two years, I had to earn a living, and at the same time keep inventing.

T.B.N: With your vast knowledge of Gemology, metallurgy and sculpture, what sort of obstacles do you encounter when designing a piece? You have been known to completely destroy pieces if they are not up to your standards, would you call yourself a perfectionist when it comes to your art?

W.C: Since I began my creative journey in 1973, I have gotten used to absorbing knowledge and techniques from all directions. The wisdom left to us by our ancestors benefits us throughout life, but no matter what we do, we must not depend it all on existing knowledge. We have to explore and pave new paths. We have to turn our world upside down. Upon the old foundation, we have to build something new for the development of our future.

Difficulty has an intimate relationship with creation. It nurtures creativity and through challenges we grow. Difficulty comes from everywhere, from tools to techniques, materials and our mentality. But as long as we can overcome our own desires, we know how to deal with difficulty without backing down, as well as without fear, anxiety and disgust. The path of creation is often lonely, but this lonesome feeling makes us strong and helps us persist. Creativity grows as a result. I feel that I have entered a fairyland every time I meet obstacles, and once I solve my problems, I go back on earth with a sense of satisfaction and joy that is beyond words.

I pursue perfection, but there is no perfection in this world, there is nothing you can call the highest, or the best. But this is the reason why there are limitless possibilities. As there is no limitation, I can pursue perfection without fear, I can try, I can fail, and there is no need to compromise. I am used to absorbing new knowledge with open arms and an open heart. I am always under pressure, and upon the existing pressure I pressure myself even more, to explore the depth and width of knowledge and work my mind out.

T.B.N: My absolute favorite pieces are your exquisite butterflies. They represent your work very well and are a reoccurring theme in your collections. Do you have a favorite piece that you consider your greatest achievement?

 

W.C: Underneath the sugar-coated idea – “greatest achievement”, you can only find stumbling blocks. I do not have anything that I can call my “greatest achievement”, but I am happy to share with you a creation that I have recently completed. This creation has been on my mind for more than a decade, until about 4 or 5 years ago, I started to have it realized. In the process of creation, I went through tons of struggles and was often close to giving it up, but I couldn’t help continuing. Finally, it was completed right before the 27th Biennale des Antiquaires.

The Wallace Chan "Secret Abyss" necklace has a yellow diamond of 10.05 cts set in a rutilated quartz shell of 211.74ct and complemented with emeralds, fancy colored diamonds, amethysts and rutilated quartz.

The Wallace Chan “Secret Abyss” necklace has a yellow diamond of 10.05 cts set in a rutilated quartz shell of 211.74ct and complemented with emeralds, fancy colored diamonds, amethysts and rutilated quartz.

This creation is titled “Secret Abyss”; it expresses my exploration on the meaning of existence.

More than 10 years ago, I saw a magician trying to escape from a glass tank of water whilst chained and handcuffed; logic said that it wasn’t possible, yet he escaped. I was moved by the performance; I was, in fact, extremely impressed. And after some years the idea of “Secret Abyss” came alive on my mind.

When you try to make an idea reality, it is often the case that a series of difficulties, sacrifices and failures tag along. I was looking for the materials for this creation, at first I thought crystal would do, but it was too clear, so it could not create the dream-like feeling I wanted. I gave up the idea of using crystal and turned to rutilated quartz instead. The texture of rutilated quartz gives the feel of a fairyland. But it is not easy to find rutilated quartz that meets the standard required for my creation, so it took a long time and great efforts.

After acquiring the suitable materials, I created a 6.5MM opening on the rutilated quartz, through this small opening my tools got in and empty the stone out. Where could I find the right tools to do this? As the creation has never been done before, naturally no one had invented the tools I needed. So it was another long process of consideration, calculation, design and experiment to have the right tools invented. I’d better not go into details here.

After a series of failures and tons of broken materials, I finally found a way to empty the stone out in a satisfying state. The 43MM wide space inside the stone became my creative space. My tools entered the space through the 6.5MM opening, and gemstone clouds were set. I would say that the 6.5MM opening was the entrance and exit of my soul, it extended my existence. Inside the rutilated quartz there was this metaphysical world, in which there were materials. What is empty is no longer empty, the clouds float in light and colors… – that denotes a state of mind, as well as a state of life.

T.B.N: What do you enjoy most about your career? What advice would you give to aspiring designers and business owners?

 

W.C: Accessories have existed in human history for a long, long time. It appeared way earlier than other forms of art. It is an ancient culture, and this culture has then become evidence of civilization, and an embodiment of knowledge aesthetics, wisdom and emotions. And my greatest enjoyment is to express emotions, wisdom of our ancestors and the greatness of Mother Nature through jewelry creation. Jewelry stands for eternity, and through this eternal media I can share the stories and meanings of life with others.

Designer and creator are different, and they are different from merchant or dealer. Very often, designers come up with ideas and sketches, and then they hand over their ideas and sketches to craftsmen to work on. However, I encourage designers who are interested in the jewelry field to learn with patience, and to train up their ability to reach out to all directions – on the top there is culture, philosophy and art, beneath these there is knowledge of a craftsman that includes optics, physics, ergonomics, metallurgy etc., on the left you find technology, and on the right there are trends and markets… The mastery of all allows greater creative freedom.

I am not very good at commercial activities, certainly not an expert in business. But I believe that as a merchant, dealer or investor of this field, it is important to acquire thorough knowledge of the field in order to recognize the talents of a creator. Designers and creators live in their own worlds, their pursuits tend to be more spiritual, but merchants live in a collective world, and economic growth is their fundamental consideration. But the former and the latter join hands to create the many legends we have seen in this industry.

T.B.N: Your pieces are considered to be works of art in their own right, and I would certainly agree that they are extraordinarily beautiful yet delicate and complex. Was that always the goal when you were designing your first pieces?

 

Wallace Chan “Fleur de la Dynastie Tang” brooch with rubies, yellow diamonds, pink sapphires, tsavorites, garnets, emeralds and diamonds.

 

Featuring the world’s largest flawless purple sapphire weighing 164.39ct this is the “Gabriella Rose” necklace symbolizing femininity, harmony and tranquility.

 

W.C: If I must define the goal of my creation, it is the true, the good and the beautiful. When I feel that my creations are far from meeting the standard, that is when I have to destroy them and start over, or I may put them aside for a period of time, and try to enhance and enliven the knowledge on my mind. My creations come alive when I enter a new world of thinking.

I have this very strong belief in my life: only when I have my work done to perfection today can my dreams be realized tomorrow. I maintain the same attitude towards any goals, dreams, obstacles and challenges in my life. It is fair to say that, in life, we may not always be rewarded for our hard work, but it is always true that no pain, no gain.

The aesthetics and craftsmanship of each piece of creation is nothing but the result of hard work.

T.B.N: Lastly, what is the ultimate vision for yourself and your brand? How would you like to be remembered as a designer?

W.C: I enjoy living for the moment, spending every second and every minute on creation. History is vast, and deep, the universe is wide, and limitless, and our existence is so small. I look at the world with the curious eyes of a child. I have to seize the moment, practice on and do my homework. Once I have completed a piece of work, I must move on to something new right away, as I cannot linger in the satisfaction that belongs only to the past. I hope that with my creations I can fulfill my responsibility for history, and I leave it to history to grade my performance.

It was great honor to be given the chance to interview Mr Chan. His passion, seemingly endless creativity and respect for his art only fuels my own career goals. He is, in my eyes the true definition of the word “Craftsman” using his various skills and experience to create one of kind, sublimely beautiful and timeless works of art.

Special thanks to the Atelier of Mr Wallace Chan.

J.F

T.B.N Interviews: Tunji Alade III

Posted in T.B.N Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2014 by James Field

 

 

TUNJI_Promo5_x

 

Today I am please to welcome singer/songwriter Tunji Alade III to The Black Nouveau. We discuss his love of music, fashion, song writing and his plan to become the next great musical artist.

 

T.B.N– Welcome Tunji and thank you for taking the time to talk with me!Lets begin with your background, where are you from?

T.A– I am from Houston, Texas. My family is from Lagos, Nigeria, London and Guanajuato, Mexico. I also have family in Virginia and New York City.

T.B.N– Your music is a wonderful mix of sounds and you have a very captivating voice. Was music something that always aroused interest in you? How would you describe your music style?

T.A– Music has always been my first love. I’ve always been attracted to it and it has always been part of my desire, music makes me feel and inspires me. I won my first contest at age seven in a classical music competition. I was a runner-up and won a contest to visit this amusement park called Fame City.

I would describe my musical style as smooth, vibrant, fresh, bold and even raw. I’d say my music ranges from Hip Hop to smooth Rhythm and Blues, Soul, EDM, Acid Jazz and Jungle and House mixes. My music emanates from experiences, breakups to relationships, love and vice versa. I describe my music as a style that is…married to fashion, art and the club lounge experience.

T.B.N– How long have you been singing? Also you write your own music, what sort of challenges do you face when creating a new song?

T.A– I’ve been singing since I was thirteen and writing since I was seventeen. Thinking of a new song is like an idea, I can come up with hundreds of ideas just from the instrumental. People don’t want me to think of a new song, they want to see my live performance; they want to be able to connect with me and get to know me.

T.B.N– Share with us a little about your new album. What was the inspiration behind it?

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T.A– My album so far has eight songs. My EP with six songs was just leased through INgrooves Music, the back office of Universal Music Group.

My name is Tunji Alade, and my full name is Tunji Jemi-Alade III. Tungsten Light is sort of an anagram of my name, Tunji Alade. Essentially the tungsten light hue is only visible naturally at magic hour. The inspiration behind my album is to find hints and clues. Fate, paths, and destiny interconnected with people through the human experience and through music.

T.B.N– How do you see yourself and your music evolving within the next few years? What are your long term goals?

 T.A- I see myself evolving greatly. They say it is not where you’ve been but where you’re going. Right now, I’m affiliated with a company called Hotbox. Ironically, I see myself with a team that will tell me who that is. I’m not even being sarcastic. Seriously, I hired a manager not long ago and we almost signed a major deal and it sort of fell flat because attorneys from Warner Brothers called my managers office back and said that I am/was with attorney/client privileges. This was not too long ago and when I contacted Warner Brothers Music, no one knew who I was. It was kind of strange submitting my demo and getting calls back from Interscope, Sony then getting word from a manager that I hired saying that Warner Brothers contacted him and told his management office that I am with attorney/client. Having no documents signed, no official contract, no statements that told me it was official, nothing in writing to let me know what was going on was strange.

Even in retrospect for me to think of where I want to be its very clear because I was affiliated with a major studio in 2000. In 2002, my junior year in college, my university pulled me aside and told me that they had officially gotten word that my undergraduate work was created into a music video and was  broadcast on national television. Then all of a sudden in 2002, I had a million dollar offer for a property and a random phone call from a broker that told me she handled all my paperwork. Right when I was going to buy a 1.1 million dollar mansion, coincidentally, my off campus apartment flooded as a sick building with a sanitation problem of a flooding toilet; it became difficult and my university would not tell me what company contacted them to verify what company I was working for.

Being an underground artist or ghost writer, I see myself evolving with the right team. I want to formalize my contracts with the right team. I know about business, about knock-offs and the intricacies of trends, being a hot artist or an artist that has the new hairstyle, new digs, new style. And how to strive to for a level above that into a longevity hallmark level. Signing with the right major and formalizing the right deal in the right way so that there is no confusion if it is realistic and that it is literally legitimate. For me, my expectation is to move forward with a team that will give me full creative control and options to work with artists that I respect.

I am not trying to be any artist except me. My music is my voice. My music is married to fashion. I see my shows as being part high energy choreography and part runway show. My followers are affluent heads, people who love fashion, art and commerce. In the next few years, I see my album already published and licensed while working on a second and third follow-up album, acting in feature films and doing business with the most advanced marketing endorsers. I see myself immersed in the business and doing what I love.

Tuji 2

 

T.B.N– Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring singer/songwriters? Was there anyone that you admired growing up that inspired your interest in music, and how?

T.A– I was scouted by a major agency and won a modeling competition at age seventeen in High School and was not allowed to follow my path. I also was not allowed to play a musical instrument growing up. It can be very brutal, move masterfully, don’t let others who don’t care about your goals determine your rate of success. Make it happen.

When I was growing up I admired all kinds of music. I especially loved music in different languages from foreign countries. Then around 2006, music really started speaking to me in a special way, I started to really command on the Piano with a handful of songs I composed. Then, Tunechi came out and my friends started asking me if I could sing. I love music from Coltrane to Davis to Portishead to Massive Attack to Green Day, Niyaz, Maxwell, Timberlake, Timbaland, Alicia Keys, Jay Z and Beyonce. Any Grammy award winning artist or any artist under Berry Gordy or his understudy, Etcetera.

 

I would like to sincerely thank my good friend Tunji for this interview. Please visit Tunji below and take a listen of his truly unique and original sound.

www.Tunji-Alade.com

Thank you all for reading!

J.F

 

T.B.N Interviews: Lawrence Charles

Posted in T.B.N Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2014 by James Field

With every new year comes new beginnings. For myself and The Black Nouveau, I wanted to kick off my interviews section with a dynamic, entrepreneurial spirit that embodies the new energy that I wish to bring forth this year.

Enter Mr Lawrence Charles, CEO and Founder of the luxury tea company Charles & Company. He is a man of great character and perseverance, and he made his dream come true with true grit and determination. He talks to us today about his struggles growing up in the inner city with a single parent, modeling for one of the biggest names in Fashion, and ultimately creating the brand that bears his name.

T.B.N- Welcome Mr. Charles and thank you for taking the time to speak with me about Charles & Company. Let’s begin with a little background, where are you from?

L.C- I’m from Canton, Ohio. I grew up in the inner-city and was raised by a single mother. My grandmother and grandfather played an important role, but I did a lot of “self-parenting.” It was normal to do things like walk to school by myself in kindergarten, or have to make parent level decisions regarding my education, dealing with counselors, etc. I essentially escaped high school by the skin of my teeth. I wanted to attend college and double major in Industrial Design and International Economics or Finance.

Schools like Wharton made me salivate, but I finished high school with a 1.2 GPA. I found myself navigating a home life of both parents on drugs while fighting with my teachers and an education system that sorted me below my aptitude. I simply gave up fighting and just survived. Upon finishing high school I was able to get into college on my talent alone. I was off to Pittsburgh. I went to design school and studied Industrial Design with an emphasis on consumer product design and interactive software development. To get through school in Pittsburgh I lived in a homeless shelter. There, I learned how to play chess at the level of chess master. You’d be surprised who you may find in a homeless shelter, but being a kid there I was taken under the wing of some caring, brilliant people. There, I learned how fragile life is. I also learned to be present. I learned how to love, care for, and care about people from all walks and circumstances. To this day, although I’ve worked with Royalty, and extremely powerful people and celebrities, I believe that everyone is a dignitary. Everyone.

I finished school at the top of my class and was recruited by one of my professors to be a Head Designer on a start-up children’s television series. It went on to win 3 Telly Awards, beating juggernauts like Fox Kids and Disney. About this time was when Tommy Hilfiger came calling.

T.B.N- After reading your bio I can, on many levels, relate to your upbringing by a single parent in an urban and sometimes discouraging environment. Did that ever deter you from pursuing your dreams?

L.C- Yes I had challenges, but I think the question may have been more about did I feel challenged in my ability to achieve my dreams and goals. Every one of us has talents and fresh passion that helps us in pursuing our goals. But in coming from an urban environment, there’s generally no one there to help you understand the talent you possess. Nor are you just a parent, uncle, or sibling removed from seeing for example an attorney, a professor, an investment banker. I had to set out on a path of defining and understanding what these incredible gifts and talents God gave me were, and then how to use them and hone them. So, pursuing your dreams from there is somewhat of a long chartered flight.

T.B.N- Did you always have the entrepreneurial spirit, and when did it begin flourish?

L.C- Yes. In kindergarten through grade school I would auction off my “hand-me-down” toys to neighboring adults for their kids. In the 2nd or 3rd grade I was always building, constructing things out of paper or whatever spare parts I could find. I rarely built things for the norm, but rather the aberration. I was pioneering then. By 7 years old I stumbled across a flower factory in town that was constantly throwing out what I thought were perfect flowers. I came up with the idea to sell flowers in front of a busy bank on Fridays. Even at 7 I knew that was when everyone got paid. I had category pricing, meaning I would set prices by what I thought commanded more or less. I would also bundle deals, like purchase 2 for “X” price. By high school I started a neighborhood barbershop.

T.B.N- Your work as a model and spokesperson for Tommy Hilfiger must have been an exciting and memorable time in your life. Tell us the story of how that came to be?

L.C- While I was going to design school, I took advantage of the filming that was done in Pittsburgh and the different casting offices as well as modeling and I just turned my photo into as many places as I could. I was a “starving artist.” One day I received a call from Tommy Hilfiger NY that was left on my voice-mail at home. I almost lost my mind. That was a surreal moment. I did a show for Tommy and with Rebecca Romijn. That sent me to New York City and was the launch of my modeling career.

T.B.N- When did your love of Tea begin?

L.C- I began drinking tea while in New York City. New York is a non-stop, 24/7 city, but when I discovered tea I found that it had an almost magical ability to quiet and slow down the chaos of the city. I fell in love with the history of tea and how it was King Charles II that integrated tea in to the higher, social fabric of British society. How it was through the influence of his wife, and her use of it to socialize with family and friends.

T.B.N- What were some of the challenges you faced when launching the company?

L.C- Without question, capital. And I also had no idea what I was doing from the perspective of building a real, organized start-up company. I owned a bicycle, I had a backpack and all I knew was to take my tea to places I thought I could find people to buy my tea. I was literally selling tea on the streets.

T.B.N- What is your favorite tea to drink and why?

L.C- My favorite to drink is breakfast tea because I like that its complex, but I’m fond of its simplicity.

T.B.N- For those who are not aware, what are some of the many health benefits of drinking tea?

L.C- Tea is an amazing elixir that scientists are discovering new things about continuously. If you just take a look at white, green, oolong, and black tea, you will find things like Thiamine, which affect the brain and heightens mental alertness and concentration. Tea contains good antioxidants that thwart free radicals and slows aging. Outside of its ability to help you fight common colds, tea helps prevent cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

One of the most overlooked health benefits of tea is what it does for mental health. Just by sharing a cup with a friend or a neighbor or in your own solitude allows you to take a moment, slow down, stop thinking about the bills, the kids, etc. But it allows you to be present and pulls you out of the challenges of life. This is critical to your mental well-being.

T.B.N- What are some of Charles & Company’s bestselling teas?

L.C- It varies at times, but I would say our Indian Chai, White Blueberry Pomegranate, or Coconut Chamomile. Chai is in many ways the basis of Ayurveda. Our Indian Chai is very traditional, I use clusters of spices like cardamom, pieces of cinnamon, and ginger beautifully arranged in a deep, smoky Indian black tea. With our White Blueberry Pomegranate, to raise the antioxidant and vitamin C levels, I use freeze-dried blueberries and pomegranate that’s laid in a beautiful, open leafed white tea which gives it a deeper, richer brew. Our Coconut Chamomile begins with fresh, beautifully picked chamomile flowers, tossed in with delicious coconut meat and honey bush. I’ve been told by customers it’s so good, and that if you drink too much you’ll hallucinate. Those customers, I believe, may have been enjoying something else along with our tea.

T.B.N- What are some of your future plans for Charles & Company?

L.C- First of all, I listen to the pull of our customers. This is a great barometer as to where we will and can be. In addition, we have built up a ton of cachet that we will begin to slowly cash in on. Our customers have done us an incredible service by giving us the title “luxury.” For this I am deeply grateful. In being a luxury brand, we cater to lifestyle. We are currently in talks with a couple major department stores. We are already looking at expansion in Europe. Our customers have been asking for china, so we will be launching our line of tea ware and china soon. Our customers consider us the “Ralph Lauren of tea,” so I believe this gives us the ability to become a multibillion dollar brand. I’m excited about what’s ahead.

 

Kathy Eldon & Lawrence Charles

Kathy Eldon & Lawrence Charles

 

T.B.N- What advice would you give struggling entrepreneurs?

L.C –

· Be persistent.

· Be persistent.

· Be kindly persistent.

· By all means do what you say.

· By all means, follow through. It’s tough to have so much on your plate at once, so delays are understood, but by all means follow through.

· Following through builds trust.

· Get a financial adviser if you already don’t have one.

· Get a mentor too.

· Listen to your adviser (And learn through your own experience what advice is working. Don’t just think you’re right. Let go a little)

· Listen to your customer. Pursue what you deeply believe is the correct path, but they will ultimately show you the way.

· Learn how to grow with no capital. When you get capital, continue to be resourceful.

· Revenue is deceiving.

· By all means, find your “product-market-fit.”

· Once you have your product market fit, build your network of “strategic” advisers.

· Continually look at growth and how your company fits into this thought of growth.

· If you’re a millennial or generation X African-American, do not carry the weight of your parents, and do not be coerced to do so. Yes, racism still exists in parts. So what, it’s not the majority. As Maya Angelou said, ‘Pick up your crown and wear it!’

T.B.N- What do you love most about your job?

L.C- Building a brand is a magical experience. I love everything, especially the people and the relationships. We get to work with amazing people both famous and not famous. From HRH The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson; Greta Garbo’s Estate; Diane Von Furstenberg’s Estate; to Jane Tranter, BBC Worldwide/The CW Network’s TV show “Breaking Pointe.”

T.B.N- Lastly, please give us some final words about Charles & Company and what you hope people will discover about your products.

Charles & Company Tea founded by Lawrence Charles brings to life the experience of traditional British Tea. The company was started to share the comfort, health, serenity, and togetherness that people experience while drinking tea. With a background as an award-winning Industrial Designer, CEO Lawrence Charles’ passion for creativity and elegance is present from the first step of selecting the leaves, to the last step of sharing Charles & Company Tea with the world. Charles & Company has signature blends you can learn about and purchase at www.cnctea.com

Thank you so much Lawrence for taking the time to inspire us all with your story and speaking for me, it was my pleasure. I look forward to hearing more about Charles & Company and I wish you much success on your future endeavors.

Like Charles & Company Tea on Facebook

Follow Charles & Company Tea on Twitter: http://twitter.com/charlesncompany

J.F

T.B.N Interviews: Marcus Stewart

Posted in T.B.N Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2013 by James Field

 

 

So its been quite some time since I have had the opportunity to interview any talent for the T.B.N Interviews segment of The Black Nouveau, but today I have the pleasure of welcoming our latest guest, Mr Marcus Stewart. I have known Marcus for a little over a year now from his extensive modeling and acting work, as well as fashion styling. Today we welcome him with a warm and chic greeting, as we talk about fashion, life goals, Bravo TV and staying focused in the whirl-wind industry of modeling and acting.

 

T.B.N– Please introduce yourself. How old are you, where are you from and where do you currently reside?

 

M.S– I’m so honored to be your first interview in almost a year! My name is Marcus Stewart, I’m 24 years old. I was born in New Orleans, LA and relocated to Los Angeles in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina. I just enjoyed my 4 year anniversary in NYC, I reside in SoHo.

 

T.B.N– I am very familiar with your modeling work. Tell us a little bit about how you got started? Was it a difficult process? What tips would you give to other aspiring African-American models looking to break into the industry?

 

M.S–  Well, modeling has always been a part of my life. My mother was actually a local model in the 70’s in New Orleans so I guess one can say that it has always been in my DNA. As a child I was never good at sports, even though I’ve always been tall and quick on my feet I was never an athlete. One day I was driving in the car with my mother around the age of 11 or so and I heard a commercial for “Model Search America” it caught my attention and since my mother had given up her potential modeling career to be a housewife, she was very supportive of me going on a “Go See” which in the modeling world is basically an audition.

 

She took me and my older brother who was super athletic and better than me at everything to the office and I was picked to come back and meet with agents one on one. My brother who I always thought was way better looking than me did not get picked SO, I knew right then and there entertainment was where I wanted to be. I was better than my brother at something so I went with it. From Model Search America I received interest from a huge agency in NYC but I never was allowed to move to NYC at such a young age so my mother took me to local agencies in New Orleans which is where I got my start and became a model then to LA and NYC where I was signed with BMG models.

 

Modeling is very difficult and competitive for anyone but it’s intensified a 100% for a black male. It is no secret that our fairer skin brothers and sisters work WAY more than us brown people. It’s also a very morally corrupt world that can eat you alive if you aren’t a strong-minded mature individual. I was in school or working a serious fashion industry job while pursuing modeling so I never dedicated enough time and effort towards modeling; I never reached my full potential. My advice is to be solid and comfortable in who you are and not to get caught up in comparing yourself to everyone else, you NEVER know what he/she had to sacrifice to get to the point you see. Work hard and stay focused. I’m not done with modeling yet. Stay tuned!

 

T.B.N– So lets not beat around the bush any longer, you were recently a cast member on the Bravo reality documentary series, “Dukes of Melrose” working with the owners of the ultra chic Decades boutique. How was that experience for you?

 

M.S– Yes, let’s just get to it. HAHA. Well, the first season of “Dukes of Melrose” is over so now re runs are playing. Being a part of “The Dukes of Melrose” was an amazing time in my life. I was actually heading back to NYC after a month-long vacation in Europe when I received the call from the owners about being on the show. I was the last person to be cast. I personally never wanted to be a part of a reality show, I have had some opportunities in the past and I just never thought it was my thing. When the producers and owners approached me I was open because I had been working for the company for maybe two years prior so I was familiar with the brand and I’m friends with the owners so I knew a certain level of class would have to be showcased, which made me comfortable and open to being a part of their project.

 

Because I was familiar with the camera and being on sets I was very comfortable while filming. I knew I was going to be myself the entire time and enjoy the process. I’m very happy to have had the chance to work with Bravo TV. It’s something my kids will be able to see although, my famous line “Your vintage team sucks ass” may have to be edited out for the youngsters…haha

 

CameronMarcus_2013_4

 

I have worked for Decades for 3 years. I started off as a part-time assistant buyer and worked my way up to The East Coast Editor and then to Trunk Show Coordinator. I was responsible for finding amazing and rare couture pieces on the east coast while also being responsible for our travelling “pop up shops” I started to get promoted very fast and mind you I had no prior buying or event planning experience. The last 2 years have been spent in and out of hotels and airports all over the USA. Being the Trunk Show Coordinator was great. Every city was new and fresh and I was the person responsible for creating memorable shopping experiences for the clients. It was a fun job but, in order to be GREAT you must grow so I’m no longer with Decades but wishing the brand continued success!

 

T.B.N– Has the show changed anything for you?

 

M.S–  Has the show changed anything for me? I get asked this question all the time. You have to understand I have been fortunate and blessed to work consistently in this industry for 8 years from being the youngest Dolce & Gabbana employee ever, to my time as The International Sales Rep for Sacred Blue Denim at age 18 to working for Vogue and GQ not to mention styling PJ Morton and other private clients. So, for me I’m still working every day. Building my brand and challenging myself creatively. I do get recognized a bit, but this is NYC so no one really cares. I’m still living the same life I was living prior to Bravo TV. Being on TV does not change things; YOU have to change things for yourself and that is what I’m doing. It’s a step by step process, I want to grow not explode. TV has given me a platform but now it’s up to me to create what I want.

 

T.B.N– What is your ultimate career goal, your biggest dream?

 

M.S–  My ultimate career goal? I would have to say that my ultimate goal is to have an empire. I love what Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum have done post modeling life. They are brands, businesswomen. From TV shows, style corresponding, writing books, and producing. Their hands are in lots of things. I would want to do something very similar. I have always looked at myself as a work horse and a show pony. I love creating and making things happen but I’m just as comfortable being the BRAND. My goal is to create a life and a legacy that last beyond me. We are blessed to be a blessing. I want to get back into modeling and acting while still focusing on women and their fashion needs. I want to build a holistic fashion empire. Fashion is such a materialistic and vain world, if I’m going to be a part of that I need to find a way to address the real issues which steam from the inside and show women how connected inner beauty and inner love is with how one looks and presents themselves to the world.

 

T.B.N– Lastly, where do you envision yourself long-term? What are you doing?

 

M.S– I see myself working for myself. I love the idea of being a contributor editor or brand ambassador for products that I believe in. I do think it’s important to still be connected to the world outside of your own existence but, more than anything I want to work on the Marcus Stewart Brand. I want to bring positivity back to the media and help empower women. This is all inspired by my mother. She is my best friend and has given me the key to the locked door called THE WOMAN. I know what the woman wants. She wants to feel beautiful and refreshed. The woman wants to feel comfortable and enlightened. The woman wants to feel sexy without being vulgar. I’m “The Fashion Doctor” I can diagnose your fashion emergency and give you the exact dosage to cure your fashion illness!

 

Right now I’m doing personal image consulting and working on an amazing aesthetic based non-profit organization for women who have experienced hardships. TV is also in my near future so don’t worry! I will be back. I believe that there are no coincidences, things happen for a reason, always remember that. If I had not done the Dukes of Melrose show I would have ignored my secret desire to be back in front of the camera. I would have ignored the need to help women feel powerful and beautiful. Destiny is a funny thing, what is meant to be will always be.

 

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T.B.N Interviews: Tracee Owo Feature x Live Astro New York

Posted in T.B.N Interviews with tags , , , , , , , on June 17, 2012 by James Field

Tracee in the “Oh Mickey!” tank by Live Astro

Hey guys, I recently conducted an interview and styled a feature with one of my good pals and up and coming musical artist, Tracee Owo. She is a true creative talent who has impressed me with her intellect, love of music and art and of course her personal style. Check out the full interview below.

T.B.N: Thank you Tracee for being our very first featured artist for Live Astro New York! Please introduce yourself for everyone – where are you from and where do you currently live?

Tracee: Thank you guys for the feature! To put it simply I’m a creative mind. My creativity includes being a vocalist, songwriter, musician, and more. I feel like creativity has no boundaries. I’m also the daughter of hard-working Nigerian parents who are my biggest inspiration. I’m originally from Prince George’s County outside of D.C. but now reside in Brooklyn, NY.

T.B.N: I’ve had the pleasure of knowing you for some time now and I know that you are a very goal-oriented person, what is the most important goal you wish to reach this year?

Tracee: The most important goal for me this year is to reach and make an impact on more people through my music, one person at a time. Only good can come from that!

T.B.N: You’re working on your first EP. Tell us a little more about it and what your process is for creating your music.

I’m working of my first full EP project titled “Upon a Time”! It’s a compilation of songs that each tell us a different story. Stories of determination, love, pain, and redemption. Not all of the stories are a reflection of me or my personal life but they are reflections of people and images we all see in our lives.

When I create it never feels like a process. For me, its more like a “happening.” Waiting for and allowing the right moment to happen and in turn creating something beautiful..

Dress by Polychromatico!. Necklace by Anu Jewelry.

T.B.N: What do you find to be the most difficult and the most simple in the way that you work?

Tracee: It’s funny because I don’t find this to be difficult but a lot of the people I work with, whether it be producers, engineers, graphic designers, etc. have all said the same thing: “You’re very particular, direct, and want things to be perfect… but I like that” Although they say they like it, I know it gets on their nerves sometimes. That’s why I appreciate all of them so much. It can be difficult to be that way at times because it may take a bit longer to get things done..but when it’s right, it’s right. Oddly enough, the most simple part in the way I work is actually recording. I like to over-prepare but it works.

 T.B.N: What are some of your favorite artists, and who’s on your ipod currently?

Tracee: The infamous question that I can never fully answer! I love a range of artists for different reasons, from Blossom Dearie (jazz singer) to MJ to Chaka Khan to Queen to Kanye. Just like my taste buds love different kinds of food, I love different types of music and artists. I think every music enthusiast struggles with this question – Let’s abolish it!

 T.B.N: Your latest single is “Footsteps”. What was the most exciting part about creating it? How may people discover more of your work?

That song is deep on so many levels for me. It actually took the longest to create because I wanted it to be right and evoke the right emotion. The most exciting part about creating it was shooting the music video visuals with Julian Antetomaso (Videographer) and LaShaia Artis (Fashion Designer/Photographer).

We shot all in one day, guerrilla style, at three locations, one being a beach in early September and it was a bit chilly outside that day. But our energy and commitment  was amazing and it shows in our final product.

I’m working on the release another music video for a single off of my EP scheduled to be released this summer which I am UBER excited for! You can watch the current video for “FootSteps” and download the single now via www.TraceeOwo.com. Thank you guys for the feature and thanks to everyone who supports the vision!

Thank you so much to Matt and Tracee for the time and please check out more of Tracee and her craft.

Please visit www.Liveastrony.com to shop all of the looks shown here.

All beaded bracelets by http://www.SergioJames.com

Thanks for reading!

T.B.N Interviews: Terry Castro

Posted in T.B.N Interviews with tags , , , , , , , on April 25, 2012 by James Field
“A work of art is the result of a unique temperament” – Oscar Wilde
Such a quote was only proper for me to open up discussion for our latest guest for The Black Nouveau. I would like to introduce to you all, Mr Terry Castro who is the founder and designer of Castro NYC, his brilliant jewelry line. I was referred to Mr Castro by a very dear friend of mine in Milan via Facebook (go figure) and she informed me that he was a very unique individual who makes truly beautiful works of art, I was sold since I revel in all art forms and love jewelry myself. I composed this interview with him about 2 weeks ago and I would love to share it with you all now. Please enjoy!

T.B.N: Hi Terry, thank you so much for participating, we welcome you! So, please introduce yourself to everyone and tell us where you are from.

Terry: I am Castro “the creator of dreams” at least I like to think of myself that way. I can’t think of any other word or words that would fit me better. Where am I from? Outer space, but my birth certificate says Toledo, Ohio. I really believe I was born in outer space and transplanted to Toledo, at least that is how people made me feel growing up there, I never fit in. That’s everywhere I go except in the art community, they must be from outer space too.

T.B.N: You have a wonderful self titled, high-end jewelry brand called Castro NYC, with some truly unique and beautiful creations. When did you realize that this was what you wanted to do? Explain the brand concept to us please.

Terry: Thanks to my brother Arron Geller, who is 18 years younger who pushed me to use NYC and our last name as a brand name. Where I grew up there is only like maybe 5 Castro’s in the phone book, and 3 of them are my family. So it is a very unique name, and of course we are black so add that factor, my mom is black , Mexican and Native American a.k.a BLACK. Since we were considered unique or freakish, I wanted to do my style the same, not trend in any way. This hurts me financially because I wont conform.

I don’t make the bucks, I dont give a fuck. I do what I want, you don’t like it don’t buy it. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t bend easy. I tried once to go commercial because my friend and roommate turned to the bright side, I made a little money but it was only a flash, and my real accounts flipped on me. I was branded a traitor, now I am back to the dark side! If you don’t have the force stay the hell away from me.

The other thing I realized, is that I wanted to do everything different after my first trip out of the country and understanding that my country is great, but it has been lying to us all our lives. Leading us to believe that it is the center of the world. Seeing other black people just like me, but at the same time so different, when I came back my eyes were open. I realized that it was my duty to make a change in any way I can, that was the planting of the seed.

T.B.N: What do you enjoy most about designing?

Terry: What do I enjoy? (blows out air) hmm, that is like being born again just like church. You go in all crusty and come out all polished, sorta like that or like having a baby. You do all the grinding hard work and sweating (that’s the thought process and concept), then your girls pregnant ,complaining ect and the whole while you both keep trying to figure what the baby will look like. You envision always in your head about the baby’s body cause you just don’t know (that’s the creating process), next thing you know, pop! Baby comes out after all the screaming and hollering (that’s at the end of the process, no sleep). Baby is out and you realize he or she doesn’t look like either one of you, they are a combination of your entire generation (that is all the concepts, inspirations, photos, subliminal and direct), amazing! A miracle for sure.

T.B.N: Where do you see yourself and your company in 5 years? What is your ultimate career goal?

Terry: Outer space man, outer space, been waiting to get back. Space age, not here on earth with the mortals, with the right people helping me that is where the brand will be. On a level that cannot be touched, more global and more money I hope too.

I want to help others, to use my career to help achieve their own goals. I don’t want it all for myself.

T.B.N: Do you have any advice for our readers who many wish to pursue a career in jewelry design, or any design/creative oriented business?

Terry: Know the business before you just jump in it, know exactly what you want to do, this will help you from wasting time trying to figure it out and save money. Dont get into debt!, don’t take memo’s (credit) if you don’t have the dollars for it you don’t need it, credit is very easy to get into in this business. Very hard to get out of it because they will always give you more to keep you on the thread, only concentrate on what you are good at. Dont waste your time with things you don’t need, surround yourself with people who are better than you, but never let them know they are better, then they wont want to work with you. Always try to be diplomatic in your business dealings, you never know when you might need someone or who they might know, the world is tiny be careful of procrastination, it will kill you.

T.B.N: One of my favorite pieces that you design is the Tiger ring, what was your inspiration for it? Was it difficult to construct?

Terry: I found the tiger at an antique market, its shape reminded me of a dolphin jumping out of water, so that is what I went with. There are waves on the side and the tiger/dragon is biting a snake out of the water, this is to represent Yin & yang . While he is trying to eat the snake, the snake is on top of him trying to eat him too, so there is no winner but as one they are so beautiful together. Together we are unstoppable, remember that.

T.B.N: In conclusion what do you wish readers to know about your brand, how may they contact you?

Terry: We will never sell out, so forget about it. Castronyc.com, Facebook-CastroNYC, Twitter- castronyc. On the weekend in SoHo we have a pop up shop on the street in front of Club Manoco. Look for the brother with the locks.

Rebel, craftsman, a bold and courageous young man. These are just a few words I would like to use to describe one Terry Castro. I was profoundly impressed by his determination, tenacity and bravery in the face of such adversity he has experienced. I only wish to help in any way I can, and I will be watching as his star burns ever more brightly.

Thank you much Terry for your participation in my interview. I wish you the best of luck with the brand and you have a truly bright future ahead of you.

Thank you guys for reading!

Photo courtesy of Lacie Garnes