At 30, Miguel de la Rosa, known in the local entertainment industry as SpaceBoi The Stylist, already has three businesses under his belt.
He is a celebrity wardrobe stylist, has a digital marketing company under his SpaceBoi brand, is the creative director and fashion designer of DLR Clothing Co, and recently became the founder of Gaea Energy, a vegan, organic wellness company.
Taught to sew by his mother from an early age, de la Rosa naturally developed an interest in fashion.
He graduated from the University of the West Indies (UWI) in 2013 with a BSc in management studies and double minors in finance and marketing before earning an MBA in logistics and supply chain management from the Australian Institute of Business in 2018.
While at UWI, he “embarked on a new path of self-expression” through his appearance, wearing mostly his original or customised pieces. He not only discovered the “freeing spirit of fashion” but realised others tried to replicate his style.
Therefore, in February 2014, he followed his passion and launched his fashion line, DLR Clothing Co.
“DLR Clothing Co is a streetwear brand that specialises in ready-to-wear clothing. The brand’s watchwords are bold, urban and unique.
“As the creative director of DLR, my aim is to encourage local street wear enthusiasts to be free with their style choices and to be more adventurous when it comes to fashion.”
Since then, de la Rosa has launched six collections and designed custom pieces for celebrity clients.
As SpaceBoi The Stylist, he offers wardrobe styling, image consultation, custom costume/wardrobe conceptualisation/production and personal shopping services.
He has worked with public figures and celebrities including Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Ro’dey The Entertainer, soca artistes Machel Montano, Nailah Blackman, Erphaan Alves, Nessa Preppy, Patrice Roberts, and Olatunji, Jamaican dancehall artiste Popcaan, American fashion model Irvin Randle, and more.
“I always knew that I was a natural creative but I just didn’t know which field I would have ventured into. When I stumbled upon fashion I found my getaway. I knew this is what I was meant to do. I can forget about all that’s happening around me and log into a world that’s truly feels like home. I also think I get to experience the best of both worlds as I am able to create custom pieces for my clients and also style it to perfection. The end result? Pure Magic!”
In his interaction with clients he encouraged them to drink more water and eat healthier so he doubted any of them would be surprised to learn he was involved in something to do with wellness.
“In 2020, when everything was at a standstill, the entertainment industry was not active. This is when I had to go internally and find my next passion, where I could channel my creativity and energy, and what I could do to keep me active and make an income. This is where the idea of Gaea Energy stemmed from.”
According to de la Rosa, at a certain point in life, he felt the need to pay more attention to his health and what he was putting into his body.
“In 2016 or 2017, I got a message in my head that I needed to stop eating meat and drinking alcohol. And I just said, ‘I can’t ignore this voice so I’m going to do it. I need to try something different and see how it goes.’ Things really took a positive turn when I listened and I haven’t looked back since.”
For several years he moved between veganism and vegetarianism but he is now a pescatarian.
Then, about a year ago he stared to research superfoods and repeatedly came across sea moss. He read that it had most of the necessary vitamins and minerals the body needs. Also listed as benefits were that it rids the body of mucus, increases energy, boosts immunity, aids digestion, promotes weight loss, promotes healthy skin and hair growth, boost libido, and lowers blood pressure.
So, he started using it to see what would happen. He soon felt and saw a difference in his body, which surprised him.
“It really made a difference in my life and how I was functioning at that time. It really spoke to me. I thought, ‘This could be a game changer, this could make a difference in so many people’s lives. Why not try my best to create something that is sea moss based?’”
He began to use sea moss religiously, and started making the gel for himself but found the flavour to be lacking.
Around January he came up with the idea of infusing it with natural fruits. He went to his mother, Phylis Ann de la Rosa, who was a chef at her own restaurant for 12 years before retiring, and she delivered.
“My mom is really the mastermind behind the recipes. I come up with crazy ideas and she is the one who brings it home and makes it happen.
“We took the time to do the proper research to know the shelf life, what works and what doesn’t, because not everything could be infused and remain of a particular quality. We took the time to find the perfect fusion.”
And so, Gaea Energy was launched in April 2021. At the moment, its sole product is fruit-infused sea moss gel.
De la Rosa noted that Caribbean people have been using sea moss for decades, and it can be found on the market as dried sea moss and plain sea moss gel.
“Growing up we would have used sea moss in punches, mixed it in different dairy products, or sweetened it with condensed milk. I realised we have been contradicting one of the best benefits of sea moss for years by mixing it with dairy because sea moss is something that rids the body of mucus and dairy is a primary source of mucus.”
As such, all Gaea products are dairy-free. However, they are made with wild-crafted sea moss and real fruits, are 100 per cent natural, 100 per cent organic, 100 per cent vegan, sugar free, bisphenol A free, gluten free, with no genetically modified organisms, preservatives, artificial flavouring or artificial colouring.
Flavours include pineapple; coconut; ginger and turmeric; soursop; guava; hibiscus, ginger and citrus; as well as three new flavours of passion fruit; mango and chia seeds; and pina colada.
He added that the mango, guava, and soursop flavours are seasonal but the team, consisting of his two sisters, and mother as head of production, stocks some of the fruits to extend production.
Gaea Energy’s sea moss gel is very versatile and can be eaten as is, mixed in teas, smoothies, salad dressings, juices, eaten with oats, used to thicken and flavour sauces, and some flavours can be used as a substitute for jam.
“With covid19, people are still looking for natural ways to boost their immunity. And everyone is on the go and they may not have time to process sea moss in a way that would be delicious. We wanted to appeal to people who want to go on that natural health journey and made it easy and convenient for them to do so.”
The sea moss gels can be ordered for delivery on Instagram at gaeaenergytt, and Facebook at Gaea Energy TT.
“We will be launching delivery to Tobago in the coming week and we’ll be a part of the 868 Pop Up Shop, Halloween edition, at Trincity Mall on October 30 alongside local brands such as Bananarama and John’s Geera.
“We are also working on getting into various retail outlets soon so consumers can look forward to that, which will be announced in the coming weeks.”
Gaea Energy will also be introducing three new flavours by the end of the year, and its team is working on other sea moss-based items including popsicles, juices and cocktails, and gummy bear snacks which will be gelatin free.
De la Rosa plans to eventually move away from sea moss-based products and develop products based on some of the superfoods and natural remedies that are well-known in the Caribbean.
“I see Gaea Energy being a household name as a vegan, organic wellness brand. One thing I pride myself and the team on is that we produce high-quality, all-natural products.
“We truly believe nature has provided everything we need to unlock our ultimate potential. That is the driving force behind the brand. The main aim is to improve overall heath and wellbeing.”