BY VERONICA ZARAGOVIA
Anywhere he goes, Founder/Designer, Gambrell Rénard takes a pen and notepad with him. He’ll jot down color combinations that catch his eye. Red lining around a seat cushion he notices at a restaurant could inspire his next design.
Gambrell designs throws, rugs, blankets, furniture, outerwear, and pillows using a variety of materials.
At 9 years old, he moved with his parents and sister from Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor, Michigan to San Antonio, Texas. After graduating from Clark High School, he left the Alamo City for college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. He earned a degree in history in 2004, then spent years working in Las Vegas and Chicago for a company that manufactured and distributed luxury outerwear, such as leather and fur coats. He started as a sales rep, worked his way to research and development, and then ran a showroom.
Starting a business felt like the natural next step. After all, his parents were entrepreneurs and he grew up in a household willing to take a risk.
“I’ve always had it in my blood,” Gambrell says. “That’s where the confidence comes from. It's just the only way I know how to do things—to be creative and try to build something special with my brand.”
His first line, named the Logan Collection, includes his signature pillows made with a leather exterior and fur down the middle. Logan is his maternal great-grandparents’ last name.
“They were the foundation of our family,” Gambrell says. “So I named the signature piece in honor of them.”
Gambrell organizes charity fundraising events called #PillowParty. These events have been held in various cities and raise awareness & funds for various nonprofit organizations. He enjoys working with organizations that have a desire to improve communities (i.e. helping homeless youth, school supply & food drives, developing parks and recreation programs, health & educational efforts, improving housing conditions.)
“In Detroit, my grandfather Willie was someone who seemed to help everyone in the neighborhood he lived in. What stuck out to me is that when he passed away, so many people thanked him and sent cards saying what an impact he had on their lives. It could have been something as simple as changing a tire for them, or talking to them about life situations and encouraging them. But they never forgot. And from that day I truly realized I wanted to have that type of effect because, sometimes it’s just helping someone get over a small hurdle in life that can really help them go a long way.”