Eric Alcantara of Umbra Mia shares career advice – listen and spread the word!
Learn how Eric Alcantara left his successful career in the hospitality industry to step out on his own and start the Las Vegas based luxury brand Umbra Mia…
There’s nothing better than having a reliable umbrella for these rainy Autumn days, especially one that resembles a piece of art (who wants their hair and make-up melted and clothes left soggy, anyways?). Umbra Mia founder Eric Alcantara has perhaps made the chicest of these coverings. What started as a small idea to bring new shades to the art of shading itself has certainly evolved into one of the most unique luxury brands.
Always in style and always protected in the rain, Alcantara takes us inside his humble beginnings of an entrepreneur with a bright idea. His pursuits were not without a strong effort and even stronger coffee. After all, there are no rainbows without rain. Alcantara gives us his insight to what life was like before Umbra Mia, and how his experiences helped him develop the brand.
Before the birth of Umbra Mia, life for Alcantara was full of adventure. This entrepreneur has lived in seven countries and travelled to ten! You can say that Eric had a knack for learning languages and we learned that he picked up Spanish and Portuguese along the way. He had a successful career in the hospitality industry and worked with notable brands such as Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons and Starwood. He even helped start and run a few companies.
It comes without saying that Alcantara always had a passion for fashion. After having seen much of what is offered in the rest of the world, he decided to take a leap of faith and follow his own passion to step out and set up his own luxury brand Umbra Mia.
In moving from a set career to starting his own venture, not everyone understood why Alcantara would leave a line of work that was familiar.
“They questioned why I would want to leave a stable life and source of income to start something that was so far from what I had done in the past,” Alcantara said. But that didn’t stop him. “My answer to them was simple. I have passions and need of experience in this life of which I have not yet explored.” He knew he had a long road ahead of him and welcomed the challenge. Having built and run companies for others, he knew what to expect. Only this time, it was his own skin in the game, and his personal reputation on the line. He grabbed the bull by the horns with great pride and responsibility.
The most difficult challenge Eric Alcantara faced in his career is the balance between career and personal relationship.
“The only way I know to overcome this is for each to be at peace with themselves, passionate about what each does for a living and have passion for each other,” he told Your Coffee Break. “If you love what you do and the relationship is a challenge then you are with the wrong person.”
Over the years, Alcantara has been inspired by many artists, designers and other creative individuals such as Michael Jackson, Chanel, Meryl Streep, Carolina Herrera, Goya and many more. His appreciation for art and creativity guided him in launching, and excelling, his brand child Umbra Mia.
So out of all the personal accessories to choose from, why did Alcantara pick the umbrella? For one, he saw an unseized opportunity in making something ordinary quite elegant.
“I like umbrellas. They are sharp accessories that allow the owner to have some flavour. In my eyes, the sky is the limit with having the segment grow to the same heights as bags,” he said. “Umbrellas were first tools and are in their infancy as main stream accessories.”
Alcantara stresses that the most important aspect in any business is relationship building. The relationships he built over the years and the reputation he earned allowed Eric to call upon talented men and women for guidance, collaboration, education and to challenge himself and my ideas.
Part of Eric’s self-challenge is to turn uncertainty into curiosity. He said it makes the uncertainty less ominous.
With a lot of hard work over the years and plans to push Umbra Mia to new heights, Alcantara still recalls the first time he felt in awe that someone appreciated his beautiful work. When a customer told Alcantara she had never held such a beautiful umbrella and couldn’t take her eyes off of it, he then wanted everyone to have that same experience.
Though Alcantara has put great effort into his brand, he has taken the time to see the beauty in life and appreciate the small things, an aspect that he feels is what gives him meaningful ideas.
“Life is like getting to walk around London only one time in your life. Enjoy your walk. Talk to everyone, notice everything, and experience anything,” he said. “Move forward, look in all directions for inspiration but never stop moving forward.”
Take a cue from Eric Alcantara and make sure you enjoy your walk but for those rainy Autumn days, you may just need a good, classy umbrella to look and feel fabulous: www.umbramia.com