Smiths & Kings Creator and Founder
He remembers the first market he attended. He paid $25 for his table and only 40 people showed up. “It was the best thing ever!” said Jose during our chat after telling me he sold two wallets. It was the moment he remembers where he felt like pursuing his passion of being an entrepreneur. He was 26, living in St. Louis and tired of moving from job to job. He wanted a career.
Jose has a basic philosophy behind his work. Smiths represents the people that work with their hands and the craftsmanship that goes along with it. Kings is reflective on how he approaches each and every piece he makes – taking care to ensure that all he creates will be crafted to the highest quality. He wants his customer to know that they are buying a product that is intended to last for years. “It’s rewarding,” says Estrela when he tells me about customers showing him pieces that they bought years ago. He prides himself on the satisfaction the quality of his pieces offer.
In 2015, Jose moved back to L.A. and started working on more complex items out of his home office – his garage. Last month, he found a warehouse in the Arts District of L.A.’s downtown area where he works alongside other artists and creatives. He was attracted to opportunity the warehouse gave him to shut the door at night and escape from the never-ending mind of an entrepreneur. He has the balance of work and home that he was looking for, and is finding more opportunity to discover more that he can bring to his brand.
Up next for Smiths & Kings is a collaboration with The Gentle Pit, where Jose will work with new materials, creating exclusive items that will only be sold on thegentlepit.com. “I believe in the Gentle Pit philosophy and I believe in Casey. Her passion is contagious.”
Jose in 11 questions
What is the soundtrack to your life. One album.
Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon
Name a few of your favorite spots to eat in Los Angeles
Taco Spot (Eagle Rock) - best wet burritos ever!
Mofongos (North Hollywood) - when I'm craving food from back home, only place to go.
Little Sister (DTLA) - I could literally eat their pork belly all day.
Would you rather be a member of N’Sync, The Jackson 5, Spice Girls or Beastie Boys?
Beastie Boys - early hip hop, graffiti, and breakdancing, yea I want all of it.
Favorite quote is?
Quality means doing it right when no one is looking. - Henry Ford
Hiking in the mountains or laying on the beach?
Laying on the beach
Favorite place to travel to?
What’s your nickname?
Where is your favorite place to shop for home items in Los Angeles?
Flea Markets, vintage stores and Craigslists. I'm a master haggler :-).
What is the last show you binge watched?
Frankie and Grace
Starbucks order is?
Favorite book of all time?
Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson