Starting small and dreaming big. That’s how Denver-based fashion designer, Mondo Guerra, describes building his brand and business. Mondo is a designer and social influencer whose innovative style and bold prints have caught the fashion world’s imagination, while his truth and courage captured the hearts of fans around the world when he first revealed his HIV+ status on “Project Runway” Season 8. He later went on to win the debut season of “Project Runway All Stars” and became an audience favorite as a mentor on Lifetime’s spinoff series, “Under the Gunn.” Mondo’s creative designs can be purchased as a variety of original products (from See Eyewear to Crocs footwear), with his signature collections available from various online retailers.
Mondo’s visual aesthetics often carry a social message that intersects his art with his advocacy. In 2013, he became a national spokesperson for Dining Out for Life, an annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser hosted by Subaru. The Denver-born artist was also commissioned to create a custom World AIDS Day design for the 2015 Subaru Legacy that was revealed during Art Basel, Miami and is a spokesperson for Merck’s Project iDesign HIV/AIDS educational initiative. Mondo is currently working on a new project that empowers young creatives through art therapy.
With his newfound success, Mondo needed financing to meet demand for his designs and support his fashion startup. He first visited his local US Bank seeking a loan and was referred to Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) whose financing in 2014 helped Mondo expand production, inventory and staff.
“The CEF loan taught me a lot about what it takes to invest in your business,” recalled Mondo. ”It’s one thing to dream, but it’s another to finance those dreams.” He also utilized CEF’s Business Acceleration Services to refine his accounting systems to support his new business.
Since working with CEF, Mondo has focused on the development of cutting edge multimedia content and continues to create modern designs that blend his fashion and social consciousness. He remains dedicated to supporting causes close to home, using his signature Pozitivity print to launch an advocacy project of the same name with the Colorado Aids Project. He’s also teamed up with Urban Peak, a nonprofit organization in Denver serving homeless youth, as the Celebrity Designer for its annual fundraiser, Urban Nights. And has lent his talents as mentor and judge to the annual Goodwill Industries of Denver Good Exchange Fashion Show where high school students compete to create winning designs and intern with Mondo.
Realizing his potential as a designer and social influencer has taken Mondo to new heights and places. Growing his business along with his fame required a bit more support on the ground.
“CEF is an important asset to the state of Colorado because it creates jobs that might not be the typical 9-5 experience,” Mondo stated. Spoken like a true visionary and successful entrepreneur.