INTERVIEW WITH SD VOYAGER

The SD Voyager invited me to be a part of their "San Diego's Most Inspiring Stories" series. There is an excerpt below, read to complete interview here.

Let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I started the initial designs for the brand nearly 3 years ago, I had a 1-year-old son and no steady source of income. His mom and I had this incredible one bedroom apartment in Grant Hill and I would take him to the park every day and when he would take his nap I would design. I had enough freelance work to get by but my true passion was working on Rottweiler.

I worked on and off for a while with a temp agency doing production graphics, but none of the gigs interested me in a long-term way. I worked for a t-shirt printing chain for a few months and made many valuable connections in that time, I also picked up a few techniques for printing along the way including digitizing and direct to garment printing. I quit that job after a close friend and coworker past away. I ended up getting a job as a screen printer in a shop closer to home.

Fast forward to the present and now I’m the senior designer for the shop, Rottweiler has been successful in a few shops in San Diego. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to pop-up in LA, SF and Chicago because of the brand. Its been a great time and a great learning experience, but it wouldn’t be what it is without all the friends and family that have supported it along the way.

I still live in a one bedroom apartment, but now its deeper in the Barrio.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I can attribute much of my success to being adaptable. Some months are better than others from a financial standpoint, but I feel like sometimes I learn more in the slower months and the learning process you can’t put a price on. The struggles usually come in the form of not meeting deadlines or working with people who are finicky. I have a sold team with Rottweiler so I’m fortunate to not have to deal with too much of that.

RTWLR (Rottweiler) – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Rottweiler is a San Diego based apparel and accessory company. We specialize in menswear (we have a lot of women supporters who appreciate the unisex fit of most of our apparel), screen printed tee’s and embroidered hats are staples of the brand. We have recently started branching out into the cut and sew market. I like to incorporate a story into each piece that we drop, whether it’s about where the graphic comes from or the style of printing that I utilized. I am not formally trained in graphic design or apparel manufacturing but I have been working in both of those fields for ten years.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Aurum nostrom non est aurum vulgum – A saying in alchemy that translates loosely to “our gold is not the common gold”. My friend Will and I came across this phrase in a book about various paths of consciousness. I felt that it pertains to this journey that I’ve been on with Rottweiler.

Success can be measured by evaluating material wealth needless to say. There’s definitely something to say about the wealth of knowledge that I’ve taken in through all of these learning experiences. I don’t plan on ever getting it all right or getting it all done but, feeling proud of the accomplishments that I’ve made so far and feel excited about the future of the brand.
— SD Voyager
David Castillo