Laurbong Gai, a passionate entrepreneur and fashion designer from Salt Lake City, has big dreams. He is a marketing student at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business and the founder of Balmont, a streetwear company and evolving fashion brand with a carefully designed product. Balmont stands out from other clothing brands because of the company’s timeless designs sourced from sustainable fabrics.
Being born and raised in Salt Lake City is the fuel to that drives this fashion brand’s fire and makes it deeply personal for Gai.
At the heart of the brand’s story and message is Balmont Avenue, the street Gai grew up on, and he wants to represent and bring the DNA of his upbringing into the culture and growing arts scene in Salt Lake City.
It all started with a passion for fashion. Gai has always loved clothes. Channeling this passion, he started reselling sneakers and clothes from pop culture giants such as Supreme, but soon realized he was not only dissatisfied with it but being called to do something else.
Drawing inspiration from Virgil Abloh’s transition to Louis Vuitton and how he continuously reinvented himself and shaped fashion culture by remixing different elements, Gai decided to throw himself into the fashion world and tell his story, or his autobiography, as he calls it, through his clothes.
The dream turned reality after he attended multiple pop-up shops throughout Salt Lake City and decided to do his own at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute’s Lassonde Studios, where he hosted a meetup to launch one of his signature collections in fall 2021.
Being a marketing major and wanting to ensure a successful turnout at Lassonde Studios, he marketed the event through Instagram as well as old school flyers and posters, with Lassonde Studios serving as the vehicle to launch his company and get it off to a great start.
When asked about the pop-up event and why use the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute as a starting point, Gai said: “Lassonde is the epicenter of the university and a hub for where you see people hang out and launch their business startups, so it made sense as a perfect spot for hosting an event and to be part of creating in one of the most exciting places in the university.”
In the past year, Gai has dropped “Welcome to Balmont,” an introduction to the company through an assortment of T-shirts as well as his first official collection, “Desert Sun,” inspired by his father’s work in the military and a way of recognizing his dad. With two successes under his belt, Gai has big plans to continue evolving his brand and himself as a designer, with new collections and clothing coming soon.