A few years ago, I met Gavin Escolar in Manila through a cousin. At that time, he was a successful bespoke jewelry designer in the Philippines and we bonded over branding his jewelry line. I got to know him as a thoughtful, generous and fun person to be around. People gravitate towards Gavin. All sorts of people from different age groups, interests, backgrounds, cultures, beliefs and lifestyles. The only thing these myriad people have in common oftentimes is their love of all things Gavin. That is what most people know.
What less people know is that working with Gavin, you find out there is even more to admire and appreciate. Since that meeting he moved to San Francisco. I moved to Sacramento. I have seen his fortunes rise and they never really fell. He has seen harder times moving from the luxuries of Manila with the network and support he was enjoying there to San Francisco to be with family. The bespoke jewelry business is a hard one to crack when you come from somewhere else. Gavin did not let that faze him. He took up Uber driving and used the opportunity to promote his jewelry. He was even in Forbes as San Francisco’s Uberpreneur. He has been on TV, the news and his image around the Streets in banners as successful San Franciscans. He was doing well and even expanded to have some drivers under him.
In 2017, he was offered a chance to go to Alaska for a summer work adventure. He sent me postcards from the edge. Just a note or a call about what he was doing. He told me all about Chaga mushrooms.
Two months later he was back in San Francisco going about his normal life. And I didn’t expect to hear any more about it. He called about joining some fairs and events. I half-expected another celebrity driving adventure like when he was Anthony Bourdain’s chosen Uber driver throughout an entire San Francisco tour. With Gavin who or what is happening now is usually exciting and new. His life is like the Love Boat. But more like the business and people and less about the business of people. But once the Chaga mushroom got hold of Gavin, it just refused to let him go. Even it knows, Gavin is just too much of a good thing to say no to.
I didn’t hear from him much for a few busy months. But just to show who Gavin is. My Dad suddenly passed away and the moment I got back he was at the San Francisco airport to pick me up. But this time, not in his Uber SUV. But in a shiny, black and fully branded The Chaga Company SUV. I was speechless. And I’m never speechless. So, I just let it all out “Gavin the branding… It is beau–ti—ful. How could you?”
Turns out that once he got into Chaga as a business, things just started rolling along. Instead of knocking on doors and peddling his wares. People have been gravitating to help him, join him, collaborate with him. I’m talking about Equinox, Ferry Building pop-ups and people with all sorts of expertise in finance, law, food, retail and sales. The Chaga Company has grown in the last two years, positioning itself for growth in the health food space.
Gavin, who didn’t know anything about Chaga 3 years ago, is now the leader in the Chaga mushroom field. The C-19 crisis has not dampened The Chaga Company. It is propelling Gavin and The Chaga Company in a very unprecedented way. No one expected this. But Gavin is running with it, galvanizing everyone he can meet and correspondent with to introduce this antioxidant super food into their every meal. Journalists, Silicon Valley types, global bloggers, fashion influencers and big name brands have been calling on Gavin even more today in the time of Covid, than any other time.
Anyone who knows Gavin knows that Gavin loves food. So, Gavin came up with a whole line of propriety products that make it possible to include Chaga into anything we eat or drink. No diets nor sacrifices. Gavin makes healthy easy, affordable and accessible. His only challenge will be to keep up with growing demand and the demands of a burgeoning business. People will want Gavin to succeed.
Knowing Gavin. I understand the gravitational pull. Gavin is like a sponge, he takes everything in and infuses every interaction with his passion and energy. And when it comes to advise, you can tell him something once, an idea, a direction, a concept, a critique. He doesn’t react with ego. He weighs it all in, takes stock of all his resources including people and ultimately runs with only the best results. Gavin discards old practices and weaknesses the way other people spring clean regrettable fashion choices. You know how Marie Kondo tells you to only hold onto things that bring you joy? Gavin can Marie Kondo his whole life. His clothes, culture, work, friendships, food, socials, community are not separate compartments he juggles around but who he is flowing throughout whatever he does (work, rugby, sailing, yoga, wine-tasting or even just a whining phone call from a friend. He is all in. All the time. Armed with his uniformly, utilitarian but bespoke onesies, he is ever ready to introduce and reintroduce an even greater, more generous, more gregarious Gavin to the world at large.