Designers / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Cesar Idrobo, Head Pattern & Sample Maker at YEEZY

Cesar Idrobo is a designer focused on creating footwear and accessories, and is currently working as a Head Pattern & Sample Maker at YEEZY.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I have a Bachelor’s in Industrial Design and Master’s in Accessory Design from SCAD. My career started with my first internship back in LA in 2011 at lighting and furniture studio, Artecnica. Then, I went on to complete three more internships before graduating.

After working for a year, I decided to pursue graduate school in accessory design. In this program, I learned to design and make shoes and bags. I apprenticed for 6 months with Marcell Mrsan, master shoe maker after finishing my academic studies.

I then had the opportunity to work with adidas, Nike, Pensole and finally ended up staying in my current job as a Head Pattern & Sample Maker for YEEZY.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

It varies every day. It’s never the same! so expect the unexpected. Through a recent work day, I just start working as soon as I come to the office. The physical process of shoe making is very hands on and requires you to be focused 100% on what you’re doing.

Maybe a couple bathroom breaks, a stroll through inspiration/work boards and chats with my co workers. Conversations and opinions are important to me because they can help me articulate ideas or trigger new ones. I try to do tasks that are less creative towards the end of the day.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes, it’s flexible in terms of me making a schedule that works for me as long as I deliver and meet my deadlines. That’s what it comes down to: Getting it done. The only challenge I have is that I need a physical place to do my job, so I have to be on site to do most of my job due to the tools and machines I use.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

It means how I manage my time and what I value in life. What you love in life is what you spend your time on. Having a clear understanding that life has seasons like the weather has is.

Understanding this concept helps you pave the way in your mind that there are times when you’re going to be really busy and there are times that will be slow. The fact you are busy, it doesn’t mean you have a well balanced life, it just happens to be a season, but doesn’t mean it will last forever, I hope not!

Reading helps me keep my consciousness awake so I’m constantly evaluating if what I’m doing is bringing meaning to my life. There is a book I read that touches on routines that I live by is called The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.

Working from home and need inspiration? Grab a copy of our Workflow book, featuring beautiful photos and inspiring stories from workspaces around the world.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I’m always making an attempt to ban electronics from my room or my bed. It’s tough because you’re used to having the phone with you, so naturally I bring my phone to my bed. Avoiding phone interactions before and after bed time is an aspirational goal. I also started deleting apps from my phone for periods time to limit my phone use has been helpful and it feels goods.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Favorite podcasts: Soulection Radio and The Minimalist on soundcloud

Favorite books: Creative Confidence, The Go-Giver, Buying In, Designing Design, Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

My iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil has been coming in handy lately for most of my creative needs. Carrying my camera is also something I carry most of the time to capture moments and moods.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Elon Musk would be fun!

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

There is a tendency lately, most people feel like life is a race. Mainly because we are used to celebrating those who finish first or finishing fast. That feeling is important, but not when it becomes a way of life. It is okay to slow down and let it be.

Let things and events in your life to grown organically. Also, It’s important to have the sensitivity to know when you to be on a certain mindset depending on what you’re going through in your life at that moment.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.