Hector Cabrera: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Vancouver luxury flooring specialist Hector Cabrera, whose studio and showroom in the heart of the city offers clients an unparalleled experience when it comes to choosing the perfect floor…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am an entrepreneur and luxury flooring specialist in Vancouver. I specialize in understanding my clients’ tastes and lifestyle needs, then connecting them to luxury hardwood, luxe wool carpeting, and high-end vinyl flooring products. We make flooring fun and sexy!

Our flooring studio is a fresh industrial-style contemporary gallery in the heart of Vancouver where we spoil our clients with complimentary drinks and snacks while discovering the perfect flooring for their home using our signature “flooring matchmaking” process.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
Flooring has played an instrumental role in my development and identity.

In 1990, my family and I immigrated to Vancouver from war-torn El Salvador. My father started working as a flooring installer and for the past 24 years has crafted beautiful, durable floors for thousands of families across British Columbia.

In 2011, I took inspiration from his success to strike out on my own with a more fashion-forward, modern approach to the flooring industry with the goal of creating the ultimate flooring experience.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I am passionate about beautiful design and positive transformation. There is no better feeling than helping a client achieve their design vision. Helping them achieve their dream home is incredibly fulfilling!

Like any business, there are a lot of moving parts to keep on top of, which can be challenging. It can be stressful and hectic at times but the fun we have along the way and the amazing, fulfilling end results make it well worth the effort.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
I really love the work that I do, so I sometimes find it difficult to “turn off” work mode. I don’t really notice it but I’m sure many of my friends would say that I need to stop talking about flooring all the time!

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself growing my business and expanding my team. I’d love to open more flooring studios and travel the world looking for the most amazing, sexy, fabulous flooring available on the planet.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
I started my business from scratch. I went to a networking event and got my first referral that I then turned into the cash flow I needed to get the ball rolling. I was subcontracting my younger brother Elmer (who is an amazing flooring installer) out of my apartment in the Olympic Village and took it one step at a time.

Growing from those roots to where we are now, with a beautiful showroom, amazing products, and loyal clientele, was a thrilling experience. You learn to embrace the bumps along the road as learning experiences and just always try to improve.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Money is nice but there are a lot of ways to make a buck. I see money as a tool for measuring how good you are at providing truly beneficial solutions for people.

To me, success means looking within, finding out who you truly are, and then finding a way to manifest that by doing something worthwhile – a business, a craft, an art, etc. It’s taking the essence of ‘you’ and putting it to work!

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Our studio launch was definitely one for the memory books. Standing in our newly renovated showroom surrounded by my family, friends and everyone who has supported us throughout the years will be something I’ll take with me forever.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Businesses, like people, are a work in progress. If you apply the mindset of continuous self-improvement and do something to move you and your business forward every day (regardless of how small), you will eventually get there.

Also, learn the art of listening – especially listening to experienced people in your field who have already been through the trenches. Good advice is always in fashion.

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Anatoli Souvlaki in North Vancouver has amazing food and a warm atmosphere. I love that it’s a family-run business with a rich and inspiring history.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
My “therapy” consists of running 10K on the seawall listening to a great playlist. By the end, I feel renewed and happy I did something for me.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
New York City. It’s dynamic, romantic and exciting… if it were a person, it would be my dream partner!

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
New Radicals – You Get What You Give

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Building another company – that entrepreneurial drive has always been inside me.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Out in Schools and BC Children’s Hospital. Where I am in life was made possible by opportunities that were awarded to me fairly early in life – if I can make even a small difference in one child or teen’s life, I consider that a victory.

What to you is notable?
Integrity. Perseverance. Dedication to game changing results.

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