Santiago Jaramillo was born in Barranquilla, Colombia on July 2, 1995 along with his fraternal twin brother Camilo and shortly after moved to Medellin. At the age of three his parents got the opportunity for a better life in the US, and jumped at it because they new it was the land of opportunity. Despite his parents’ hard work and willingness to succeed they were faced with the harsh reality that most immigrants face when starting their new lives in other countries; in order to stay afloat they had to work multiple jobs. Short of a year of Santiago’s new life in the States they were blessed with an opportunity to move to South Florida where his parents could provide more for them and live in a more desired environment. Miami became the city that ultimately saw Santiago grow up and shaped his younger years into adulthood.
He dedicated the first couple of years of his college career to Culinary Arts as he didn’t have a true passion and thought this could be what he wanted to major in. As his studies continued, as many collegiate students do, he realized his true passion was actually graphic design and not the culinary field. He had previously explored some aspects of graphic design in a high school course, but never really found it appealing.
Throughout his college years Santiago also began to work in a Kipling retail store at the mall as a way to make some income. While working at Kipling he spent most of the day working both inside and outside the store as a stock associate moving boxes back and forth to keep the store replenished. The Miami heat was unrelenting and the job was not easy at times. However, there was a source of motivation for him as during his time at the store he embarked on the journey of starting PalmEraMia with his brother Camilo and cousin Andres.
During his three years at Kipling he had some very humbling moments. At the end of each shift he was responsible for throwing out the trash and during several instances he saw people wearing his brand throughout the mall. He would daydream of the day he no longer had to be working for someone else. However, witnessing such events not only lead to visualizing the future, these experiences lit a fire under him to work even harder towards his goals. He knew he would soon dedicate more time to his brand, and a brighter future would soon come. He wasn’t wrong. After a long and harsh summer Santiago was able to dedicate his full attention to PalmEraMia and leave his other job.
Starting the brand was a constant grind. One of the first challenges the PalmEraMia team faced when starting the business was looking for the right manufacturer. Even though they did not have the experience, they had hope that some of their contacts in the textile world in Colombia could help. After meeting with several manufacturers in Medellin they were rejected by most of them, mostly due to the low quantities they could afford to make, however they knew they could not sacrifice the quality of their products. The team eventually found a manufacturer in Florida which helped them with their small quantities and eager ideas. Santiago designed a hat with the logo which he thought would initially just sell to family and friends. Shortly after their first production that all changed as the team attended a meet and greet to give Latin artist Nicky Jam their newly produced hat. What Santiago thought was just going to be a small brand, slowly started to become a huge success. The brand started to appear in music videos, award shows, and all over artists’ social media accounts.
During the process of starting PalmEraMia they also knew they wanted to create a business with a purpose. Their purpose? Water; more specifically to help communities who lacked access to it. During their research on how to help make the world a better place they researched many causes like cancer, AIDS, autism, education, etc. During that research the most shocking statistic they found was that at the time about 14,000 Wayuu children from La Guajira, Colombia had died due to lack of access to clean water and other drought related causes. This new found knowledge that his native people of Colombia were struggling with access to clean water lead them to jump into action with this water cause. The brand now represented an image that was not only solely based on style, but on giving back and helping others. They knew they wanted their customers to wear their products with pride because of what they represented.
PalmEraMia has grown massively since it’s inception in May of 2015 and it’s store launch in August of 2015 and has been able to help save many lives through their multiple donations and volunteer efforts through charity:water, Nueva Life, and Blue Missions. The team continues to work hard to grow the brand and through that growth help those in need of clean water around the world.
Even though there are always struggles and obstacles in the entrepreneurial world Santiago has found a way to continue growing and learning with his team. He is incredibly happy where he is right now.
Today Santiago is one of the co-founders PalmEraMia and the head of design and creativity 🌴