About a year ago, he started a blog at 1dapperlatino.com.
“The reason I launched the blog was to speak about the three things in life I love most and I think everyone does as well: fashion, home decor and food. Who doesn’t like those three things?”
His blog and website showcase his creativity for potential clients to see.
“Instead of having a portfolio or book, I put my work on the website so people can take a look,” he says.
Montes grew up in Texas, the son of Mexican immigrants. Before relocating to Kansas City about 10 years ago, he worked in the family automotive dealership and briefly as a massage therapist.
After transplanting, Montes initially felt some culture shock, but he says: “Kansas City has been good to me. I continue to meet wonderful people.”
From an early age, he had a passion for decorating. His mother fostered his interest and valued his youthful input.
“I’ve been doing it for years for friends and friends of friends,” he says. “I have always been told I have a good eye.”
Montes assists his clients with tasteful and timely home decor. Many of them are younger than he initially expected, he said, and in a time crunch. Most of his jobs are residential, but he recently has added some commercial projects.
“There is no job for me too small or too big,” he says with a smile.
The first year of his decorating business has been a whirlwind of establishing accounts with suppliers, putting together legal paperwork, and building a website.
His blog generates business and attention. Several designers have reached out to him to showcase their products. Montes is often recognized in restaurants outside the metro area for his succinct commentary.
For the fashion shots on the blog, Montes hires a professional photographer to make sure the look is right.
“Everything that has come so far, I’m just thankful for,” he said. “I’m letting things grow organically.”
Montes says that the “1” in “1dapperlatino” indicates his ethic of building his business and brand himself. Dapper and Latino round out the apt description.
Montes is a member of both the Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City. He serves on the MAGLCC board of directors and says he is focused on continued diversity and inclusiveness.
“I want to reach out to both gay and straight Latinos that are in business,” he says. “We are all in this to help each other. The chamber [MAGLCC] is not a clique or a country club. … It’s valuable.”
Jogging, reading and “cooking when I can,” he says, are his favorite recreational activities.
And Montes’ main interests make it easy to find common ground with others, he says. “We all eat, we all get dressed and we all care about our surroundings.”