Meet Maricel Meneses, LA's Emerging Stylist Behind Your Favorite New Artists

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By Lainney Dizon

In Los Angeles, it’s more than having talent. It’s about understanding the importance of hard work and surrounding yourself with the right team. Who are you building with? How will you collectively work to bring your vision to life? With passion and strategy you can make great things happen. For Maricel Meneses, an emerging stylist behind your favorite new artists including rappers Jay IDK and SuperDuperKyle, she understands the importance of this and is just getting started. As a Los Angeles native with an extensive background in streetwear working for streetwear labels HLZBLZ and Dimepiece LA and mastering her craft with Top Dawg Entertainment, Maricel knows what that elevating your hustle is all about putting in the time and dedication. Currently working as the merchandise marketing for Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) and a styling assistant, we spoke with Maricel to talk about her journey so far, the importance of building with the right team and her favorite spots in Los Angeles to find inspiration:  

LowLeaf for Ke7h3r. Styled by Maricel Meneses.

LowLeaf for Ke7h3r. Styled by Maricel Meneses.

LA Pulse Mag: How did you get into your current career? What words of advice would you give to those interested in getting in the same hustle as yourself?

Maricel Meneses: I was always into fashion growing up. My mom refused to buy my sisters and I toys to play with because she thought they just made the house messy (I know, weird, I think?), but always took us shopping! I hated that, but now I'm thankful for it because I probably wouldn't have gotten into this industry otherwise. In regards to streetwear, my older sister played a lot (if not only) hip-hop around the house when I was a kid. That definitely played a factor in the type of fashion I got into as an adult. My first experience in this industry was interning for women's streetwear brand HLZBLZ. I was a sales intern there and learned how to find wholesale accounts and close sales.

The next summer I actually became the wholesale coordinator for another women's streetwear brand Dimepiece LA. I wasn't even looking for a job! This is while I was going to school full time pursuing social work, which I now have my B.A in. While I was in school, I just pursued fashion for fun. I worked little retail jobs and looked for internships. I actually started off as an intern at Dimepiece too and 2 months after interning, I notified them I had to resign because that semester I had to have a mandatory internship that was related to my major, which Dimepiece obviously was not. They then offered me the wholesale coordinator position, which was great because I was able to quit my retail job and I split my time in the campus library working on homework and closing sales or would go to the office on days I got out early from class.

Two years later in my senior year of college, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) was looking for assistance in their merchandise department. I was a huge TDE fan and applied right away. By this time, I already had a lot of experience and knowledge in fashion and streetwear, which impressed them. I then quit Dimepiece and after graduation only had TDE on my schedule, which I hated because I'm someone who has to be busy every second of every day. I was with TDE for maybe 7 or 8 months by this time and started learning more about the team behind an artist and became interested in styling. Without a good stylist, it is hard to completely elevate an entertainers career. So I started emailing different stylist and actually only got one response. It was from Debbie Gonzales, who I now assist and who taught me literally everything. I am so grateful for her! Side note: it was perfect that we began working together because she cares about social justice just as much as I do and does tons of volunteer work. Because of her, I am able to live out both of my passions. Anyway, I interned for a couple of months, left TDE after 2 years and then became her assistant. 

Kids of Immigrants lookbook / Styled by Maricel Meneses

Kids of Immigrants lookbook / Styled by Maricel Meneses

The advice I would give to those interested in getting in the same hustle would be to work hard, have patience, don't be entitled, build genuine relationships and intern, intern, intern! I would not have had big opportunities if it wasn't for interning. Even though I had paid positions, I still took on an internship even after I graduated college. This is definitely an industry where you will have to pay your dues, multiple times. You are going to have to make a lot of sacrifices. It really depends how bad you want it!

What was the most exciting project/projects you worked on?

I just did my first VMA's! That was major for me since growing up the VMA's was a big award show for our generation. I assisted Debbie with styling Super Duper Kyle and Noah Cyrus. Both of them looked so bomb! Earlier in the summer, I was part of the styling team for Big Sean's looks for YG's "Big Bank". Those are probably the biggest projects I've done for styling so far. Also, Noah's feature in Hypebae was a significant project for me too because I've been following them for forever. At TDE, I made some mock packages for Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. merchandise. They didn't go into production or anything, but it was cool to even be in a position for that. 

Recording Artist SuperDuperKyle at the MTV VMAs. Styled by Debbie Gonzales, Daniel Buezos and Maricel Meneses.

Recording Artist SuperDuperKyle at the MTV VMAs. Styled by Debbie Gonzales, Daniel Buezos and Maricel Meneses.

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

Not to be scared, not to quit when something is hard and that being assertive is not being mean. Tons of experiences have taught me those same lessons over and over again. I am someone who always had to do everything perfect the first time doing it. Being scared of not being perfect has stopped me from doing so many things in the past and I absolutely regret it. It's a gift and a curse because it makes me perform as an overachiever because I make sure there's no room for any criticism, but it definitely is not always that serious.

My first day of college was a full day (literally it was like a 8 hour class because we only met once a week and it was 4 hours of learning and 4 hours of "lab") of a sewing class. I am someone who is not gifted with anything that requires physical coordination. In 8th grade, our teacher was really into knitting and required all of us to buy supplies to knit and I hated it because it would stress me out that I wasn't perfect or familiar with it. I used to get intimidated really easily. We did like 7 hours of learning that day and 1 hour of playing with the sewing machine and I was STRESSED. I literally dropped that class the same night. I am so mad at myself for that because now that I'm in styling that is such a valuable skill that I'm currently learning. And it was all because of fear! Definitely don't quit because you're scared or because it is hard. All experiences are useful! Overtime you'll learn, so these things won't be "hard" in like a week or a month honestly.

You will be taken advantage of in this industry if you aren't assertive. You will be walked all over and never paid. That's all I can really say. It's super straight forward. Oh also, set boundaries. I was just an "Ok, ok, ok" person for the longest time because I did not want to ruin opportunities. No. Lol.

Describe a normal day working on your craft.

Most people think styling is so glamorous and just putting an outfit together. There is so much more to it than that! You one, have to be really organized. Sometimes you'll have 8 showroom appointments and a few store pulls in one day and in order to stay on top of it, you have to have time management, plan your day geographically and keep in mind the wardrobe budget. It's a lot of driving, answering emails in between driving and visiting showrooms for incoming pieces and making sure you meet deadlines with brands/showrooms to ship on time for the event, keeping up to date with tracking. Honestly, it's a perfect work day for someone like me who has be stressed 24/7 lol just kidding.

On brainstorming days, it's much more chill. It's a lot of reading up on the Vogues, Hypebeasts, Highsnobiety sites to learn about upcoming collections or just browsing the web for hours looking for new cool brands. Styling is a 24/7 hour job, which I love! Also, styling is the most physically demanding job I've EVER had! I think that aspect surprises a lot of people. Sometimes you have to carry 5 full garment bags over your shoulders and walk 2 big blocks in Downtown Los Angeles because there's no parking. I'm 5'1" and do not work out at all, so I don't necessarily have muscles built for this but you gotta get it done!

Maricel getting ready behind the scenes. “Most people think styling is so glamorous and just putting an outfit together. There is so much more to it than that! You one, have to be really organized.” Photo courtesy of Maricel.

Maricel getting ready behind the scenes. “Most people think styling is so glamorous and just putting an outfit together. There is so much more to it than that! You one, have to be really organized.” Photo courtesy of Maricel.

Did you have any mentors growing up?

Mentors in fashion growing up, no not really. Mentors in my work ethic, yes. My mom has been a single mom since I was in the 4th grade and even before then, always worked multiple jobs. From when I was in grade school to my earlier college years she worked from 8am-11pm, took my sisters and I to school every morning and picked us up from school between jobs, would drop us off then go to a new shift. Maybe that's where I get my "I have to work 24/7" mentality from now that I think of it. She mentored me without even knowing, I guess. But my oldest sister, Michelle, definitely made sure I worked hard and went for what I wanted but in a smart way. 

I do have mentors now though that guide me through all the craziness of this industry. Obviously, Debbie who I previously mentioned. She's the greatest! But I do give credit to my boss at TDE, Matt Genius and an old coworker of mine at Dimepiece, Janelle Hethcoat. The three of them make sure I do what is best for my personal wellness and professional life too. Janelle is the definition of a real boss and is someone I aspire to be as I continue to grow. She's so fearless and just always know what to do! I can be really indecisive and she will snap me back into my senses. Matt talked me through a lot of my growing pains. Like I mentioned a couple times, this industry can be a tough one. Without Matt reminding me that everything happens for a reason and that I should always look out for myself, I would not have surpassed a lot of my fears.

What's your next hustle?

I've covered a lot of departments in fashion: buying, wholesale, merchandise marketing, e-commerce and obviously of course now styling. As of now, styling is where I really want to grow. I do want to continue my own personal client list and make history somehow in streetwear. I'm still figuring that out and growing. I can't even think of the future because I'm so focused on succeeding here. Designing would be cool.

Any favorite underrated spots in Los Angeles for shooting or finding fashion inspiration?

I do know overrated spots: those painted pink walls with wings. Half kidding.. To be honest, I really think for fashion photos the simpler the better for backgrounds. You want the outfit to be the main focus, not really where you are. Find some cool, clean and simple walls and let your outfit define the photo! As far as fashion inspiration, I go back in time a lot. I look at old magazines, watch old music videos and just google a lot. Inspiration can come from anywhere though if you really are present in the moment.

Check out more of Maricel Meneses’ work on her website: MaricelMeneses.com

Meet Sarah Shen, the Up-and-Coming Photographer with Vogue-Like Shots

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By Elise Gray 

Due to a highly-competitive industry, fashion photography is an endeavor that holds great potential for many, but true prospects for few. A student by day and photographer by night, Sarah Shen—who creates wildly Vogue-like shots for Rosalie Agency—is an exception to the rule: Her knack for fashion was ignited through an internship at GUESS® and now takes precedence through images showcasing brands in fun and creative ways. 

At present, Sarah Shen is currently a senior at USC studying business with a minor in advertising. "I love working with others who are equally as passionate about creating. When I shoot, I focus on the people working alongside me. Feeling everyone's energy on set is a beautiful thing to me. I also love making my subjects feel beautiful and confident," says Shen, "Being able to spread that energy motivates me to keep shooting photos." With the help of mentors at Rosalie Agency, a content creation agency for beauty brands, Shen creates magic with her Canon 70D and a 50mm 1.8 lens. Inspired by the work of brands and other photographers on Instagram, Shen turns to mood boards to create the perfect aesthetic on set and camera. "I spend a lot of time planning before each shoot to help me create a concept that ties the shoot together. I like to get everyone on my teams involved and invested in the projects, so I make mood boards to effectively communicate the direction I would like to take for a shoot. I always ask if there's anything they'd like to do as well," says Shen, "I find that having a team that is actively involved and cares about the end-result is the most essential component in bringing a concept into fruition."

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As a female in what can sometimes seem like a male-driven creative space, most of Sarah Shen's female-assembled teams have generated amazing results with images that accentuate an atmosphere of empowerment. As a young professional, Shen looks forward to creating enticing fashion editorials with new and exciting brands. She continues to create a name by showcasing her work via Instagram, posting the photographs she's shot for brands such as Garcia Companies, Frankie Phoenix, Dreamingless and more.

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Instead of settling for the norm, Shen encourages other artists to step out of their comfort zones. "All of my best opportunities were thanks to cold calling people," says Shen, "There's also no "right" way to do something, you just have to do it and figure out what went right and what went wrong, so you can improve and prepare yourself for the next time you do it."

As the Vice President of USC Photo Club, Shen will be helping hold a Fashion Shoot this coming semester. Any models or photographers in Los Angeles can apply to take part in this event. You can check out their website for details. For more of Sarah Shen's monumental work, check out her Instagram @sarahshenphoto, Facebook, and her portfolio for inquiries!

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NYLON Magazine's Young Hollywood Celebrates Game-Changing Generation Z-ers

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If there’s anything I love about Hollywood, it’s about being surrounded by inspiring creatives in the industry. If you want to be the best, you need to surround yourself with the best and Hollywood is definitely home to the future game-changers in entertainment. I had the honor to attend NYLON’s Young Hollywood event celebrating game-changing Gen Z’ers in the world making an impact through Music, Acting, Media, Beauty & Fashion and Activism. Hosted by one of my favorite fashion magazines, NYLON, and TAO Group, this year’s event celebrated 25 members of Generation Z who are changing the world and took place at Avenue Los Angeles.

The evening started with a special performance by Vancouver underground artist Tommy Genesis and AMRIT was bringing hip-hop music all night. The event was in collaboration with Pinkie Swear, a makeup collective for dreamers, magic makers, and misfits. Throughout the night they were setting up station and showing guests fun stuff in their collection including the launch of Party Powder.

Cover stars in attendance included Billie Eilish, Jazz Jennings, Marsai Martin and Paris Berelc. Some of my favorites including Hayley Kiyoko, and Dear White People’s Logan Browning were there as well! Check out the behind the scenes fun below:

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All Photos by Rich Fury/Getty Images for NYLON

Lovely Finds At The DTLA Art Walk 

Photo Credit:  Downtown LA Artwalk  

Photo Credit: Downtown LA Artwalk 

By Elise Gray

The DTLA Art Walk is an exciting time of the month for everyone in Los Angeles, CA. In a city so creative, one would expect to see art shows lining the LA streets. At the DTLA Art Walk, you'll see contemporary artists like Laura Letchinger and lovely small businesses like Treasurie Jewelry Design. But who grabs the talent? Megan Collaso works closely with I Art U DTLA, a community event for LA Art Walk patrons, to help all art genres fill our city streets. 

Megan is a dancer turn marketing guru who works closely with RAW Natural Born Artists. RAW works to provide independent professionals with the platform they need to reach audiences. Megan loves that RAW is not exclusive to traditional visual artists. Those who have a knack for art, fashion, film, photography, music, hair and makeup artistry will benefit from RAW.

Megan explains her recent experience at a RAW event in D.C, "I like how many artists I get to meet. I love the different personalities and being surrounded by creative people. These events help artists like Missy Lynn Music and Aida Murad, gain access to pop art galleries and live stage shows. Makeup artists can display their talent as "living art" while they work on live models. There's even a fashion show at the end of the night!" 

If you reside in the United States, Australia, or Canada, then you have a chance to access a RAW event! Luckily for Los Angeles inhabitants, the I Art U DTLA event is downtown. It is in this place that you will meet Judy Share Hernandez and Allison Share Hernandez, owners of Treasurie Jewelry Design. This mother-daughter-duo works with unique carvings, minerals, and semi-precious gemstone beads. Judith designs the jewelry and Allison handles the social media and photography. Judith is one of the most imaginative, vivacious, and giving business owners in the Los Angeles area. She works closely with people in places like China, Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan, to make handcrafted unique statement pieces you will never see anywhere else. You cannot talk with Judith without gaining a rich historical experience. 

Her eyes light up as she explains the inner workings of Treasurie Jewelry, "My youngest, Allison, always wanted to have a Jewelry company. I've always wanted to make jewelry. For me, it's like building a sculpture — it takes time to rearrange and see what goes with what. It’s also so much better working with old stuff because you’ll be making a piece that has a story." 

Judith isn't messing around when it comes to antiques. You’ll be carrying a culture on your neck when purchasing pieces from Treasurie Jewelry. Each design pays homage to a modern interpretation of new beads. Judith doesn’t want to copy old designs but draws inspiration from vintage pieces. She eagerly showcases all of her handcrafted goodies at I Art U DTLA and explains the story behind every single bracelet, earring, and necklace to patrons. What's even more empowering than the love that these women have for their work is the love they have for other women doing the same thing. 

Photo Credit: Facebook - Treasurie Jewelry 

Photo Credit: Facebook - Treasurie Jewelry 

Judith explains the detriment that creative women in Nepal face and how Treasurie Jewelry works to assist them, "Tibet is safe for girls, but sadly Nepal is not. Bhutan stands in the middle of the two countries as the last kingdom in the Himalayas to be touched by the outside world. A lot of Bhutanese women weave silk and content textile (basic cultural patterns). These women weave their family patterns into their designs. We purchase these designs at tourist prices so that she can make money. When we sell a woman's design, she will get 10% of the purchase price so she can support her family."

There's nothing more empowering than women helping women. Wear the world on your neck when you purchase from Treasurie Jewelry. You'll not only receive handcrafted, authentically vintage pieces, but you'll receive a memorable experience thanks to Judith. You can learn more about Treasurie Jewelry and their upcoming events through RAW or your next visit to the DTLA Art Walk. We can't wait to see you there.

Event Recap: The Collective Conference LA at Wanderlust Hollywood

If I told you you can do what you love and get paid, would you believe me? Everyday, more and more people are finding ways to monetize on their passion and turning their hobby into a long-lasting career. From the lifestyle blogger who worked two jobs during the day and wrote content at night (that's Skinny Confidential) to the 30 year-old working woman who began LA Girl and posted everyday for two years until she finally quit her day job at Day 730, your creative dream is possible. It just needs watering. Every. Single. Day. There is no half-ass doing if you want to live the life of your dreams. 

Last Friday, October 21, LA Pulse Magazine had the pleasure to attend The Collective LA, a conference dedicated to connecting top bloggers and brands in the world of fashion, food and travel. These influencers shared with us the journey of creating stories, collaborating with brands and the importance of creating editorial calendars! With the growing impact of digital media, everyone has the ability to share their story but it’s the quality of storytelling that separates the good from the great. Within the last minute of you reading this, there were 16 billion photos posted on Instagram and 300 hours of video content shared on Youtube. That’s a lot of content!

Here are the most helpful tips we learned while connecting with the next top brands and bloggers making waves in the food, travel and fashion industry: 

  • The average consumer’s attention span is 8 seconds
  • Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat: Use Instagram Stories to highlight the best material on Snapchat. The more you can share the experience behind the story, the more viewers are engaged. Follow us @LAPulseMag to keep up with the latest.
  • It’s not about the medium, it’s about the message. What message are you sharing with your content? Does it tell a story? 
  • People Map is a helpful Instagram Marketing Tool to assist  you understand who your audience is while scaling your efforts.

Thank you to The Collective LA and hosts FAB Counsel and 365 Hangers for an informative conference, it was a blast connecting with brands including TastemadeThe LA Girl and Mr. Kate. Stay tuned for more exciting digital stories on social @LAPulseMag and stay updated with the latest The Collective LA events here

From LA to NY: Actress Janel Shares Her Journey As An Actress

Credit:  Alex Valderana with Valdman photography  

Credit: Alex Valderana with Valdman photography 

As a working creative, balancing the two can be a challenge. But with the right attitude and persistence, and strategy, doing what you love can be a possibility. For NY-based actress Janel Tanna, she understands that living your passion is the only option worth pursuing.

With her first role in an independent feature film named Savior, she snagged a nomination as ‘Best Actress’, proving that when you do what you love, others will recognize your commitment to the craft. She says “acting is something you have to decide to go for and pursue. You need to stay true to working on what the craft means to you. We as artists and humans all have different aspects to who we are, different paths we could have taken.. Acting is about nourishing those different parts of who we are and becoming that character.”

LA Pulse Mag talked with the rising actress about the importance of loving what you do, how she got started in the industry and her advice for how to succeed as a working actor:

LA Pulse Mag: When was your first role as an actor/ actress? How did you first get involved in acting?

Janel Tanna: My first film role was actually the first feature film I auditioned for when moving out to New York City. It was a low budget independent feature film named Savior (by Marinaro and Matrone) and I played Vanessa, the troubled and street wise love interest of the main character. It was a pretty emotional role and most of her scenes were intense so my character had an impact. I ended up luckily being nominated for best actress in a feature film at one of the film festivals we screened at. The film also won a best picture award.

I always wanted to be an actress as a child, but living in an area not fully conducive to pursuing such a dream. A career was a more definitive path was encouraged, such as the sciences. Despite this, I ended up winning a few free acting classes at a local studio. The women who owned the studio saw a lot of talent in me based on the monologue I did. Through life events and a twist of fate I ended up where I always wanted to be, NYC. I interviewed with The Lee Strasberg Institute and I decided to stay, and as they say the rest is history.

LAPM: You trained in method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute. Tell us about your experience there and how it shaped you as an actress.

JT: I had applied to the Institute and got accepted the next day. I absolutely loved what I was learned and my very first teacher Mauricio Bustamante made an impression on me. He has such a passion for the true core of the art. After my very first improv on my first day he said to me, “it is unusual to be that open and free without any training. You have talent.” That was all it took for me. Sometimes you only need that one person to believe in you in the beginning.  

LAPM: What have you learned from senior actors? Do you have any mentors that you look up to within your field?

JT: I feel one is always learning. I filmed a pilot last year in Los Angeles with more experienced actors. Watching them in character with full devotion and commitment to the role is something that I value and practice when in character myself.  Even when I first came out to NYC and decided to become an extra on some sets for experience to see what goes on, I just would watch the main actors over and over on down time during their scenes. What they did, their movements, gestures and mostly focus during take after take. Even noticing how they spent their time in-between takes or scenes. How they focused, etc.I also learn a lot any time I do a play or even a small scene. I feel I always take something away from myself or my scene partner.  For me personally, the psychology of the character is of utmost importance. I work to tap into the psychology and what that person must have gone through to get there. From there the physical hopefully manifests.

You learn your best acting and skill training in a theater environment because it takes you to the depths of places and emotions. However, I feel all the emotion and feeling is the same internally but how you put it out there is different. Film picks up everything, so speaking and channeling through your eyes tells a lot. Al Pacino came to talk to us at Strasberg as a former student of his and told us what I believe to be true, “it’s a matter of where your audience is. On film it's a foot away. Keep that in mind. You adjust.”

LAPM: Who are some of your favorite actresses/ actors?

JT: I really love the talent of Kathy Bates. I think she is phenomenal. Her characters can be of this world, out of the world, crazy or sane and you always believe it. She is so intense yet so right on screen and truthful. I also love all of the ladies on Orange is the New Black. It is such an amazing show with a wide talent of diverse women.

LAPM: What advice can you offer aspiring actresses/ actors in the field?

JT: Stay true to working on what the craft means to you. We as artists and humans all have many different aspects to who we are, different paths we could have taken. Nourish those different parts of you. Ask yourself if acting is truly what you want to do. I have had friends who started thinking they wanted to act but then finding more personal joy in things like directing, writing, etc.

LAPM: Any upcoming projects you’re excited to share?

JT: I am excited to be playing the female lead in an upcoming independent feature film Saturn's Window, based on the book by Quanah J. Hicks. What drew me to the character, Cora Cadence, was her introverted and subdued nature. Despite this, she has so much going on internally. Her actions and world she has created is her own respite. That's all I can say for now as not to reveal too much as to be it becomes a reality rather than a story. Initially, Quanah the creator had me in mind for another role, but once I read the script Cora spoke to me. We had a meeting and he heard me out. He agreed and offered me the role. The role is very much a part of me, despite being somewhat different than the femme fatale, love interest or heavily outward emotional roles I have had the honor of doing in the short year and half I have done. Cora's persona is also very much a part of me and something I can relate to so I look forward to getting the opportunity to show this range in my work.

Like Janel, it’s about going on a journey that fulfills your calling. Loved and related to her story? Stay connected with Janel and follow her at @janeltanna.

Credit: Jack Paulus with Dream Central Studios

Credit: Jack Paulus with Dream Central Studios

Gaffer & Child: The Ultimate Gentleman's Skincare Line

This article is in partnership with Gaffer & Child, an organic skincare line made for men. Gaffer & Child works to encourage gentleman to #giveadamn about their community and themselves with all-natural ingredients that's good for you and good for the environment.

Skincare is an important part of daily care, and any gentleman would agree that looking the part is just as important and taking care of yourself. From fitness to personal hygiene, looking like a gentleman takes time. Grigore Madikians, Founder and CEO of Gaffer & Child, an organic skincare line designed in Los Angeles made by men for men, understands this delicate balance and works to create skincare products for gentleman who #giveadamn about their appearance and personal care.

David Morris: What is Gaffer and Child's mission? Where did the name come from?

Grigore MadikiansGaffer & Child challenges people to "give a damn". We focused on men because more often than not they don't care about their skin, and don't spend time on personal care. Gaffer & Child is symbolic. The word ‘gaffer’ comes from cockney east London speak. A ‘gaffer’ is a boss, a leader, a coach. We are here to set the new standard in personal care. We are here to let men know they too can be the gaffer, and help pave the way for a new future in personal care, symbolized by the ‘child.’ We have an important message, it's something that's too often overlooked. It’s the fact that we all can be leaders in our own way if we embrace our differences instead of trying to assimilate. Embrace your talents and your passions, and in doing so you will inspire someone else.

DM: When did you get the concept for Gaffer and Child? What inspired you to create it?

GM: Gaffer & Child was established in 2015, it came to me as I searched for a "clean" solution to my daily personal care products. I’ve always used the best new products the industry had to offer ­­only problem was they were full of chemicals, that could be detrimental to your skin and health. Your skin is your largest organ: it absorbs toxins and chemicals very quickly. I wanted to develop a line that was wholesome and effective using the best ingredients we could find in nature. Because we use all­-natural ingredients our products can be used by anyone, any age, that’s what’s great about it. We often find that our customers share it with their girlfriends, that’s when we knew we created something great.

DM: What type of gentleman would enjoy using G&C products?

GM: Our products are for the true gentleman. Someone who walks with purpose. Our business is independent, and locally-owned, rather than nationally-owned. Our resources are used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms, continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community. Our products are for the individual who works, plays, and purchases consciously. What we're talking about is the ethical consumption movement, or buying with an eye toward your fellow man and the environment. Essentially it's for the man who knows he votes with his dollar, conscious consumerism is a way to support your values every time you walk into a store.

DM: What are some of your best-selling/ favorite items?

GM: It may sound cliché, but all of our products are my absolute favorite. I personally use them all daily in my own self­care regimen. It takes us months to develop each product, because we simply won't release an item unless we'd use it ourselves. Each piece that we've created is my favorite. They are all unique in their own way, and serve a different purpose in your self­-care routine. It’s taken us over two years to develop an essentials line. That is what we find to be essential in your self­-care routine (hair dressing, face wash, shaving cream, moisturizer, exfoliating scrub). From our essentials line we will begin to expand to meet the needs and expectations of our customers. In efforts to create a relationship with our followers, I make sure to personally initiate contact with each one of my customers to gain their feedback, offer my support, and answer any questions they may have. Currently, we’re offer our products exclusively online at Gaffer and Child. We want to focus on growing the community personally rather than having it on shelves in stores. This allows me to have a better understanding of their expectations, so I can continue to improve our current product offerings, and develop more products tailored to their needs.