Entrepreneur Rande Gerber on Making His Own Convertible and Why Free Time Is the Ultimate Luxury

You’d think by now Rande Gerber might want to put his feet up. Though the 61-year-old is perhaps best known for founding Casamigos Tequila with George Clooney (the pair met when the actor had a drink at one of the N.Y.C. bars Gerber owned in the 1990s), the Queens-born entrepreneur began working when Ford Models scouted him at age 16. After college, he modeled in Europe for a few years, then took a job selling commercial real estate. It led to his first big break in business: running the watering holes for Ian Schrager’s network of boutique hotels. The experience planted the seed for the Gerber Group, which has since opened scads of stylish boîtes across the U.S. Gerber handed the reins to his brother Scott to focus on the tequila business in 2008, which was subsequently bought by Diageo in 2017 for $1 billion.

Gerber’s entrepreneurial streak is still strong. On a recent vacation with his wife, the supermodel Cindy Crawford, and their two children—daughter Kaia and son Presley—Gerber was so impressed with the sunscreen in his hotel he tried to buy the company. Its founders made him a partner instead.

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What is your exercise routine, and how often do you do it?

I do cardio five to six days a week. I’ll do some weights, I’ll do some push-ups, and I have a chin-up bar. I also have a Katalyst suit. It looks like a wet suit, and it has all these electro pads in it. You can turn it up to where you can barely lift, but it’s stimulating everything. They say it’s like doing a two-hour workout in 20 minutes.

What do you do that’s still analog?

If you came to my house, you would see sticky notes everywhere. I’m always waking up in the middle of the night, writing ideas. My brain really goes—especially the creative part of me—when everyone’s sleeping and the world is silent.

Rande Gerber at his home in Malibu
Gerber at his home in Malibu

What apps do you use the most?

I would say Maps, because I’m horrible with directions. There’s also a great app called Picture This: You take a picture of a tree or a plant, and it tells you exactly what it is and how to take care of it.

What do you most crave at the end of the day?

I look forward to reconnecting with friends and family over dinner.

What’s your favorite cocktail, and how do you make it?

I mean, I drink it all, but for me, it’s been the same since we created Casamigos. It’s Casamigos Reposado on the rocks.

How do you find calm?

Meditation and certain breathing techniques are very helpful, but I guess my calmest moments are typically if I’m home and my wife and both my kids are in the house.

What’s the most impressive dish you cook?

I’m pretty good on the barbecue. I like to cook steak, chicken—anything on the grill. I can’t bake, but I’m good with breakfast. I’m like a short-order cook. Besides that, I leave the cooking to Cindy or Kaia. They’re both great cooks.

What does success look like to you?

Having the freedom of time. For me, that’s what [success] has afforded me. And also still enjoying what I do. You’re successful if you’re excited when you wake up in the morning.

If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?

I wish I knew how to play guitar.

His bike collection includes models from Yamaha, Honda, and Specialized
His bike collection includes models from Yamaha, Honda, and Specialized

How much do you trust your gut instinct?

I always go with my gut, and I always have. And I think the reason for that is I never want to blame anyone else for anything. If I feel strongly about what I’m feeling in my gut, then I go for it.

Where do you get your clothes?

For jeans, I’d either go with just a good pair of Levi’s or Sandro. T-shirts are simple: I wear Bella + Canvas, which are not expensive but just great quality. And the boots are from a small store in New York
called Ari. They feel like sneakers, but they look like boots, so they’re super comfortable.

How many watches do you own?

I have a bunch of IWC. They’re elegant, masculine and I feel good wearing them. I also have a few Rolex that friends have given me as gifts, which are great.

a limited-edition platinum version of IWC’s Big Pilot’s watch
A limited-edition platinum version of IWC’s Big Pilot’s watch

What car are you most attached to?

I have an old Tahoe from ’91. It was my first real purchase in life when I started making money. And then a couple of years later, I said, “I really want a convertible.” But I didn’t want to buy a new car, so I had the top taken off the Tahoe. Now I have a convertible Tahoe, which I love.

Gerber bought this Tahoe in 1991 and
later cut its top off
Gerber bought this Tahoe in 1991 and later cut its top off

What’s your favorite hotel?

I really love the Aman resorts, pretty much anywhere. They really do it right. I really like that zen-like, laid-back, not-trying-too-hard atmosphere. They just seem to understand the full experience.

Last piece of advice you gave?

I say this often because my dad used to say this: You have to live while you’re alive. Sometimes it’s important to remember that you write your own story in life. You have the ability to change what you’re thinking. And I feel that if you think positively, positive things will come to you.

What advice do you wish you’d followed?

Maybe slow down. If something comes my way, and I think it could be super successful, I get excited about it. And sometimes I sign on to a few too many things. And then it takes away from, once again, the one thing that I said earlier about the meaning of success: having time.

the fake crocodiles in the pool enjoy a view of the Pacific Ocean
The fake crocodiles in the pool enjoy a view of the Pacific Ocean

Last film you paid to see?

We paid to see Elvis because my daughter’s boyfriend was in it. We wanted to see it on the big screen in a theater. And it definitely was worth it.

What kind of music makes you happy?

I listen to such an eclectic mix of music, but I love kind of old-school. So you know, stuff from the ’70s, whether it’s the Rolling Stones or Peter Frampton or Van Morrison. Just good memories—things that kind of bring me back.

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