My name is Saïd and this is my hustle.

Saïd Martínez-CalderònBefore anything else, I’m a creative individual. I’m inspired by everything around me (except celery, fuck celery). This hustle & grind has been going on for a long time now. I know I’m supposed to speak eloquently about my professional philosophy and use words like “synergy.” But let me tell you a story instead.

My first job was when I was eight years old. I was a dirty kid in a small town three hours west of Mexico City. The biggest export then (and maybe still) was avocado and mango. They would ship them in these thinly wooded crates. The wood was so thin, they were hammered with tiny nails; so they hired children because their tiny hands could work faster.

I never thought about child labor laws then. I just thought I was hanging around with my friends making boxes.

When my family and I moved to the United States again in the summer of 1997, Pokemon was the biggest craze for every fourth grader I knew. Those suckers would pay for anything Pokemon-related. I would draw their favorite characters for up to $2 each. I was ballin’. If they didn’t have the money, they would exchange my drawings for duplicate first edition collector cards. My mom would then take me to the comic book store and I’d exchange it for cold hard cash. America.

In middle school, as my taste matured, Dragon Ball Z was the next thing. And boys wouldn’t settle for a drawing on lined paper. No, I had to upgrade. I would stock up on poster paper and draw epic battle scenes.

The girls weren’t as crazy about DBZ but I needed to find an “in” to that market as well. Laugh quietly to yourself if you remember the sparkly gel pens everyone used. Well, girls liked sparkly and pretty. While we’d wait in line at the school cafeteria, I would draw their name on their arms with gel pens and add cute flowery designs with hearts and stars. By the time it was my turn to pay at the line, I had just earned my lunch money.

Then high school came around, my reputation was essentially cemented as the art kid. Once, I was hanging out at Hot Topic (yeah, that Hot Topic) with my best friend and we were looking at graphic tees. We wanted to get some but g’damn they were expensive at $35 a pop. My friend looked at me “dude, we’re artists. We can make that shit.” Another light bulb.

I started making manual screen print designs on shirts, hoodies, and pants. At $20 each, my friends would provide the article of clothing they wanted me to design on and a description of the said design.

Fast Forward

You see, I’ve always been down with the entrepreneurial spirit without realizing it had a name. I’ve been working with small business owners at various intervals between full-time employment for the past eight years since graduating from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in 2010. I live, work, and play in Washington DC but the type of work I do has allowed me to work with anyone from anywhere in the world.

Yes, I can design logos, websites, social media integrations, business cards, inbound marketing campaigns, and automated email sale sequences. This is my business.

But at its core, I do more than that. I build brands and tell stories.

Hire me and I’ll help you tell yours.

© 2018 Neostalgia Design, a division of Martínez Calderón Co.