While many companies strive to gain the attention of A-listers by gifting the newest product, local self-taught graphic designer and animator Tristan Herbert, pictured above, believes in just the opposite. “I prefer to do it for your average everyday person. It was really the celebs who targeted me,” says Herbert, whose line of custom-made smartphone cases has caught the attention of Nicki Minaj, LeBron James, and Kim Kardashian, just to name a few.
As a budding entrepreneur (currently overseeing three separate operations: Tristan’s World, Tristan Art Custom Cases, and Love Clothing), Herbert uses social-media sites to get his designs in front of the public. “For Nicki Minaj, someone in her camp saw what I do [on Instagram] and showed her. She said, ‘I want something like that.’”
The cases, which cost $40, range from portraits to favorite animals to cartoon characters. “I try to design what people like and can’t get in stores,” Herbert says.
While he has had some offers to sell his product in local Baltimore boutiques, for now, he’s only offering the cases through his site, tristanart.com. “It wasn’t [a matter of], ‘Could I get them into stores?’ It’s more, ‘Does this makes sense?’ People get my stuff because they feel like they can be exclusive. I try to control it and be strategic.”