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Building a Custom Brand: Meet Carlos ‘Llantero’ Cortez’ Business Journey

Building a Custom Brand: Meet Carlos ‘Llantero’ Cortez’ Business Journey

What does it take to be your own brand? We think our CityLocs’ famila can agree it takes grit, hustle and grind day in, day out. Whether you’re working for the big boss or own a business the hustle is true (maybe you even do both) and we respect that. You wake up before the sun is out and go to bed when it’s dark, to do it all over again the next day. We see you keeping it real and building a legacy that means something to you and the people around you. That’s why we chose to highlight Carlos Cortez, a boss man himself nicknamed, ‘Llantero’ who is a tire shop owner from El Monte. We think he shows what being your own brand means. You guys know we’re all about customizable merchandise at CityLocs. We give props to this dude that customized a life of his own. Being your own brand isn’t easy but when you get dope results from hard work it’s all worth it.


Llantero owns a tire shop in El Monte where he hooks it up with custom wheels. His Instagram feed and customers are proof of the sick work he does. Just take a look at his custom work for yourself. We dare you not to drool over his chrome wheels, tire lettering, and rides he gets to service. Llantero’s pops came from Mexico at 16-years-old and learned how to work on wheels. He started the business from scratch by working on the craft and knowing his product. His pops’ entrepreneurial journey started at the swap meet during the weekends. He would sell tires he picked up at other shops during the week. After hustling at the swap meet he finally opened up his own shop.


As a kid, Llantero would hustle and grind at the shop with his brothers to learn the ropes of the machinery. After high school his pops put him in charge of the shop. “He kinda forced sold it to me. Like, he told me, ‘You know what, I’m not gonna give you a choice. I’m sell it to you for a certain amount. If you want it. If you don’t want it then you’re on your own.’” Llantero was scared at the beginning with all the bills from the shop. But that responsibility made him hustle more to build a successful business. The folks that visit his shop know him as Llantero which was a nickname he later grew into since he didn’t like it at first. It’s now a nickname he wears proudly on his California CityLocs customized leather vanity plate hat. “People used to call me ‘Llantero’. I didn’t like people calling me ‘Llantero’.” I used to hate it!” Eventually he got used to the nickname because it stood for the pride he felt in his work. The nickname Llantero is a part of his brand now and what folks that visit his shop know him as.


This dude’s business story proves that sometimes we find our journey and other times our journey finds us. What brand are you hustlin’ to build?


Learn more about our customizable Leather Vanity Plate Hat options. Tag us on social media #citylocsbrand so we can see your creations!

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