Tom Giacinto's Bold New Clothing Line: Living People Apparel

Meet Tom Giacinto, the twenty-something Orange County, Calif. born founder of Living People Apparel! He dream has always been to develop his own brand of hip clothing that makes a difference in the world around him. He proves that you don't have to start a company with a million dollars or wait until you have 100 years of business experience. All it takes is passion, innovation, careful study of the market and the right connections. Tom is making it happen!

The following is an interview with Tom. May you be inspired by his passion and willingness to take a risk!

Tell me about yourself -- where did you grow up, what were your interests growing up?

I grew up in Southern California and was always interested in the beach and action sports. I actually played semi-professional paintball for about 3 years.

When did you know you had an interest in fashion design?

I wouldnt say that I am a fashion designer, I like to make cool clothing for people that support the same causes that I support. I've wanted to do this for 4-5 years now.

What inspired you to create your own collection?

Well...I recognized that people, young people especially, are not aware or interested in supporting causes that need their help. My hope is that my collection will raise awareness for these causes.

What makes your collection unique? What demographic are you targeting?

I think that all my designs are unique because they were all created by me. I try to think of what people would like to see. I want people to want to by this stuff because it looks good, not just to support the causes. I want people to feel like they are getting their moneys worth. This clothing line is geared towards the masses, everyone is welcome here.

What are the challenges in creating a clothing line?

The hardest stuff is getting started, getting all the paperwork done so you're legit, figuring out whos gonna make everything, how your going to bring stuff into the country. Doing this alone while working a full time job is a challange.

How do you source clothing?

I work with several overseas factories in different countries. I target the factories that are certified and do not use child labor.

Can you provide any tips on choosing a factory? Explain the process in selecting one.

To find a good factory is one of the hardest things you can do, you never know who is legit and who is going to rip you off. The best advice I can give is once you find a factory that you think is good, go there and check them out.

I would consider this a bold move -- to develop your own line. In your mind, how does boldness/bold decisions play into this venture -- and the line itself?

Thanks, I would say the the most bold decision I had to make was deciding to commit or give up. Once i decided to commit to it, I was determined to make it work, and I am getting close.

For those looking to create a line themselves, can you provide them some resources (i.e. Websites, books, etc.) that can help get them started?

It helps to have a job in the overseas import and export business but if you don't, I would read up on importing and exporting, check out sites like, that site gives a lot of helpful information on the business.

Where do you want your line to go? What are your goals/plans for the future?

I would like to see my stuff in some stores so that I can bring more revenue in for the causes. My plan is to donate a higher and higher percentage to the causes as revenue grows. I really would like to see other people get involved.

Provide a couple of your favorite quotes (from mentors, writers etc.)

"Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others." -Brian Tracy

"I just want to get better and better" -Shawn White

Visit Living People Apparel at There you can buy Tom's newest designs!

- Post by Jen Engevik of Project BE Bold

Abuse and Reuse: Affton Shouse Goes Bold & Shares Tips for Innovation

When I jumped into creating Project BE Bold last year, one of my key goals was to showcase people out there using their passions to make the world a better place. I think it is truly important to learn from innovators who find ways to use their talents in a way that is unique and bold.

Meet Affton Shouse, resident of Bend, Oregon and founder of Abuse and Reuse candle & body products. In an effort to be a steward of the earth; a dispenser of healthy, organic and local products; and the creator of kick-in-the-pants, one-of-a-kind wares -- Affton has had a blast and inspired those around her. Her concept is to take used wine, beer, liquor and soda bottles and transform them into candle holders. She then fills them with organic soy wax, scented with one of her collection of 170 natural scents.

Beyond creating candle votives that inspire her, Affton also takes requests. Her clients often bring her bottles that have sentimental value - rather than have the bottle sit to collect dust, she transforms them into keepsakes that can be used forever.

It's amazing when we dare to break the mold and dive into a trade with passion. Those around an innovator tend to become inspired, jump on the bandwagon and the next step comes naturally. For Affton, the process is taking her local project countrywide. Soon her Website will go live for the world to see...stay tuned!!

The following is an interview that I was fortunate enough to conduct with Affton. May her words and thoughts inspire you to dive into your very own unique passion:

Where did you grow up? Beautiful Hailey, Idaho. I went to Wood River High School.

What did you like to do as a child? I always enjoyed arts and crafts. Making friendship bracelets that I took to school and sold when I was like 10! ha! Loved interacting-- always had a ton of friends. I also liked playing football after school with the neighborhood boys! I was always the only girl.

Tell us about your school experience – why did you like and/or dislike school? I loved art class...hated anything that involved doing homework. I love the social part of school and loved my teachers. I always did very well on tests, but barely passed classes because I refused to do homework! If I could go back knowing what I know now, I think I would have been a straight A student!

What are your passions/interests in life?  I love getting dirty. Camping has always been a huge part of my life along with fishing and hunting. I enjoy being outside no matter what the activity may be. My passion is self sufficiency...I love being able to do my own thing!

What inspired Abuse and Reuse? I had been saving bottles that appealed to me. After a  pile of them in my window seal I realized I either needed to do something with them or throw them out. I had made candles before and loved the idea...WaLa!!!

Do you have competition, and how do your product offerings differ? Every business has competition. There are a lot of people that had this idea before I began - I strive to make my products better by using the finest materials. I am very into my local community and try to buy everything possible right here in Bend, Oregon. I also pride myself on my customer base. My customers thus far have shown extreme loyalty and great constructive criticism which has helped me grow and provide a better product.

How can you make yourself stand out above your competition? Listening. I love feedback on every single item that I sell, whether it is good or bad. Listening to what my customers want and expect from my products has put me above my competition. This idea is pretty new to the Northwest which gives it a huge advantage!

Tell me about the bottle/candle making process? Do you enjoy the process? What are the challenges? The candle making process is actually quite lengthy. First is the cutting of the bottle. Then comes the sanding which takes about 15 minutes per bottle for the smooth texture. The filling of the holder is the longest process, taking up to two days! I am always trying to better my techniques and speed up my process. I enjoy my product but do to the length of the hole filling process I have my moments of discouragement.

How will you reach out to customers so they know you’re there? Word of mouth. I am constantly talking about what I do and where to find my products. Being made of recycled materials makes for great conversation and interest amongst many people.

What advice can you offer those looking to start their own? Don't be scared. There are so many options and opportunities out there for small business owners, especially women. Utilize your resources and don't give up! Owning a business is very discouraging at times, but hard work, dedication, and persistence goes a long way!

What would you do if money weren’t an object? How would you approach your business and life? Keep doing what I'm doing! Sure, I wouldn't have to make due with old tools and slow equipment, but I love what I do. Not going to lie, an employee or two would help!

In you mind, what does it mean to live boldly? Stand out and stand behind what you believe in. Don't judge and don't be judged.

What are your favorite quotes? Live like you are dying!

As Affton continues to grow her business, Project BE Bold will provide updates. Stay tuned! To order her products prior to her site launching, visit the Abuse and Reuse Facebook page by clicking here.

- Post By Jen Engevik

Yoga on Yamhill in Portland Oregon: Donation Only Center

Yoga on Yamhill - Portland, Oregon

Yoga on Yamhill, a newly opened yoga center in Portland, Oregon celebrated its grand opening on December 7, 2010. It's founder Paul Terrell is a student of world-renowned yogi Bryan Kest.

Paul, known to his friends as PJ, is an Army veteran who served in Desert Storm as a youngster. After earning a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq, PJ came back home and began his journey toward yoga. In 2001, he and a good friend gave Bryan Kest's Power Yoga studio in Santa Monica, California a whirl. He walked into the studio with shorts and a t-shirt -- no yoga mat, no water, no expectations.

Inside Yoga on Yamhill

Not knowing what he was in for, or that his introduction to yoga would lead him to building his life around the practice, PJ dove into his first class following the instruction of Kest, moving from pose to pose with sweat pouring from his body. After class, he sat on his rented mat in a delicious daze -- thankful for his first yoga experience.

Paul on Left with Bryan Kest

Fast forward to 2010 -- PJ has entered into his calling as a yoga instructor. Following the lead of Kest, from whom he gained his yoga certification in 2009, he has chosen to follow the Donation Only model so that yoga can be available to all people, regardless of their financial situations. While there are no set fees for classes, it is important for the practitioner to know that their donations will keep the lights on and provide food for its instructors. The concept surrounds the act of  intentional giving which fuels a healthy and rich yoga community.

Classes are available Monday-Sunday and offer a variety of yoga styles and levels. For more information and Yoga on Yamhill's schedule, visit Suggested donations are between $8 & $12.