Tag Archives: member spotlight

Member Spotlight: RC Caylan Atelier

Filipino fashion designer RC Caylan first migrated to Grand Rapids for love. Today, he has a new dream: to bring Grand Rapids into the spotlight as a city of fashion.

Born in Iligan City and raised in Batangas City, Philippines, RC grew up close to his grandmother, who was a seamstress. Constantly surrounded by sewing machines, pattern papers, and scissors, he aspired to be a designer someday. Of course, it would take some time, lots of hard work, and a little good luck to get there.

MIGRATING FOR ROMANCE, STAYING FOR AMBITION

Back in the Philippines, RC worked as a cosmetologist in the pageanting industry. “I was kind of a gay stereotype,” he joked. Later on, he worked as a spa manager for a cruise ship. It was there where he met his future husband. “He was one of the guests on the cruise, and he had me exclusively do all of his treatments. He saw me every day and got almost every treatment we offered!” The two became a couple by the end of the 8-day cruise. “It was like a Titanic moment,” he recalls. After a year of long distance, RC made the move to Grand Rapids to be with his now-husband in 2012. Shortly thereafter, he decided to pursue a career as a fashion designer.

Since his big move, RC received his associate degree in Fashion & Merchandising from Grand Rapids Community College in 2015, interned with big-name designers in Hollywood, and went on to showcase his work in runway shows in San Francisco, Detroit, and even Rome Fashion Week. Finally, his studio RC Caylan Atelier, located at 80 Ottawa Ave, Suite 308, came to life in 2016.

Today, RC crafts trendy creations inspired by modern and classic aesthetics blended with functionality. With exquisite attention to detail and quality, his goal is to make a masterpiece out of every project – whether it’s a special occasion gown, a wedding dress, or anything else. He also emphasizes the importance of intimate consultations to ensure he captures clients’ personalities through his designs. “Everything I do is custom-made for my clients’ wants, needs, and dreams,” he said. “I’m just here to bring that to life.”

AN ENCHANTED EVENING FOR AN ENCHANTING CAUSE

RC Caylan receives a standing ovation at the end of “An Enchanted Evening,” his first solo show

Most recently, RC had his first solo fashion show entitled An Enchanted Evening. The event took place at the JW Marriott Hotel in Downtown Grand Rapids on September 15, 2017. Almost 300 attended. “It was the grand launch of my brand here in Grand Rapids. Before that, not that many people knew who I was and what I do,” said RC. “It was great that not only was my brand recognized on a large scale, but I was also able to give back to the community!” An Enchanted Evening benefited the American Cancer Society and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Grand Rapids.

INTERVIEW WITH RC CAYLAN

Photo by David Specht

How did it feel to plan and execute your first successful solo show (An Enchanted Evening)?

I was overwhelmed! I never expected so many people to come. It was the proudest moment in my career. I’ve been to Rome fashion week and shows in Detroit and San Francisco – and that was all amazing, but to have a fashion show just for me with all the chairs filled up, seeing everyone enjoy themselves was even better!

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

When I make something for my clients and they’re completely happy with it. That’s the greatest satisfaction to me. That’s why I display all the Thank You Cards from my customers on my office wall!

What are the biggest challenges of your job?

Oh, the struggle is real every day! Putting up this business and introducing myself to this community as a designer, and especially as an immigrant, was really hard.

FUN FACT!

One reason RC chose his studio’s location was superstitious. “I’m Filipino and we tend to be superstitious,” he explained. “I like the address. The suite is 308, so it ends with an infinity sign. The street address is 80 Ottawa, so it starts with infinity too. It’s never ending – like a never-ending opportunity!”

What do you love about Grand Rapids?

Without question, the first reason is that my husband is from here. Second, if you’re an immigrant, you’re always told that the USA is the land of dreams, but to me, Grand Rapids is the city of opportunity. It has so much to offer. This city is growing more and more every day, and there’s so much potential for anyone. Third, I love the cold weather.

What are your thoughts on Grand Rapids’ current fashion scene?

It’s coming up! Even though we’re known for being very conservative, there’s definitely potential. I see more and more people every day moving up in the way they dress. I take pride in representing a smaller city like Grand Rapids. As a designer, that’s one of my goals: To show everyone that we can be as trendy as Parisians and New Yorkers.

Why did you decide to become a member of the Chamber?

As a small business owner and also being new in the community, being part of an organization like this is great. You can use their resources to help grow your brand. It’s also a great thing to have to meet new people and make connections. I’m also trying to learn how to make my business more sustainable. Right now, my marketing is all word-of-mouth, which is very helpful, but I need to do something more if I want to grow.

 

We at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce congratulate RC Caylan and wish him continued success!

Do you know any members of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber that deserve a feature? Email suarezs@grandrapids.org and they just might be our next Member Spotlight!

Member Spotlight: Preferred Construction Group

In the heart of the booming construction industry is a company that makes more than just buildings. Troy Yarbrough started Preferred Construction Group (PCG) in 2011 with the vision of providing unique construction and remodeling for the medical and education sectors – all while making a positive impact on the community.

It was not an easy road for PCG to become the established company it is today. Despite Troy’s over two decades of industry experience, it took a big leap of faith to start a business with just one man, one truck, and one idea.

Today, PCG has numerous projects with their major clients, including Spectrum Health and Grand Valley State University, and utilizes many building partners and subcontractors from all over the Grand Rapids region. Their renovated facility, formerly a fire station, is located at 1945 Kalamazoo Ave. SE.

With a team focused on reducing intrusive and disruptive renovations in occupied spaces, as well as providing innovative services to meet all customer needs, PCG has proven to be so much more than “just another construction company.”

BUILDING TOWARDS PROGRESS

The PCG Building

“I like to define PCG as a ‘great company that does great work, which happens to be a minority-owned company,’” Troy explained. Another major vision he had for PCG was to be a minority-owned business that gave other minorities the opportunity to spotlight their abilities in the construction industry. A big believer in giving back to the community, Troy is an active member of the Chamber’s West Michigan Minority Contractors Association, wherein he mentors minority subcontractors.

Troy and his partners, Robert Johnston and Ellis McClain, remain focused on growth, boasting a strong team of 16+ employees. Troy’s dedication to building leaders within the organization is evident through the company’s continuous encouragement for furthering education and awarding certifications.

When he’s not answering emails or running his team, Yarbrough enjoys golfing, spending time with his wife and his three kids, and working on carpentry projects at his home workshop. He also finds time to continue his professional development through the Chamber’s CEO & Management Roundtable Program. This Chamber offering is an intimate, peer-to-peer learning program focused on Executives and CEOs. “The discussion in the program meetings are instrumental in assisting with making wise business decisions,” Troy says.

Q&A WITH TROY YARBROUGH, C.E.O. OF PREFERRED CONSTRUCTION GROUP

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

“It brings me great pleasure to see the smiles on the faces of clients when a project is completed. There is nothing more satisfying than the reassurance of a job well done!”

FUN FACT!

You already know that Troy enjoys golf, but did you know he likes to mix business in the golf course too? He always says, “A bad day on the golf course is better than a good day at the office.”

You’ve been a member of the Chamber since 2012. How has it helped you?

“The Chamber has many beneficial resources which have enabled me to be a better businessman. It has been instrumental in giving small businesses a big voice in the Grand Rapids area. The value for us is knowing that we are not alone but are part of a much larger group of companies that share common goals. I also value the opportunity to meet other business owners. The Chamber can be an excellent vehicle for new businesses to make an impact in the community.”

DID YOU KNOW?

PCG is one of the nominees for the 2017 EPIC Award for Minority-Owned Business of the Year! Learn more about that here.

Can you share one of your company’s working philosophies?

“A motto I have instilled in my team is ‘failure is not an option.’ We may need to work a little bit harder to arrive at the destination, but all situations have a solution.”

What is it like being part of Team PCG?

“As a growing company, we are learning that our people are our best asset! It sounds cliche, but it’s true. We work hard to find and keep good people. We have a quality team of skilled folks who are even better people at heart. Our staff also represents a healthy cross-section of our community. While this is not a pre-qualification for employment, it is something we are mindful of and value as a company.”

PCG team huddle!

What are your goals for the future?

“We want to have a presence in all of the major medical and educational facilities in the Greater Grand Rapids Area. We strive for positive, yet measured growth as we continually seek to serve our clients.”


We at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce congratulate Troy Yarbrough and the rest of the PCG Team in their continued success!

Do you know any members of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber that deserve a feature? Email suarezs@grandrapids.org and they just might be our next Member Spotlight!