Tribal member small business spotlight: Justin Gilbert

Justin Gilbert, owner of Kuvua Design.
Justin Gilbert | Kuvua Design
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum

Kuvua Design: Tempe, Ariz.

What is your name and who are your parents? My name is Justin Gilbert and I am the son of Karen Gilbert and Daniel Gilbert.

What is your small business? (Name, services, industry) My business name is Kuvua Design which helps Native American business owners and tribes build an identity for their businesses and help with design. Designing graphics for logos, packaging, letterheads, business cards, layout design, typography and color theory.

What inspired you to start your own small business? I think what inspired me to make my own business is that I wanted to give back. I feel that our tribe has really done so much to help me build the skills I have today and in turn I want to help other people and businesses be the best they can be. I may not be home all the time, but I really want to elevate our people and I feel I can do that through design.

What have been some of the challenges you’ve encountered in building your business? Designing seems like the easier part of my business. It’s finding out all the other areas that are the most difficult. Like learning about taxes and licenses and what type of business to open up.

What is your vision for your business and how would you like to see it grow? I would like to see my business designing for tribes across the nation. Not only designing for tribes but representing our tribe in established companies like Nike. Maybe someday having our own clothing line.

What support would you like to see offered by the Tribe to its small business owners or prospective entrepreneurs? Having a CPA who might be able to give advice on taxes and payroll related questions.

What short advice could you provide to an aspiring tribal entrepreneur? Don’t wait — just start it. It seems like when you get the wheels rolling it helps you keep going.

How can tribal members and members of the community support your small business? You can support my business by coming to visit my website at kuvuadesign.com. I have shirts and stickers available for sale or if you could please share my Instagram and Facebook with our sister tribes. I would like to reach them as well.

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