Film Stars September/October 2021

October 15th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

The Diplomatic Film

By Chris Collier

Political conversation packed itself into Venezuelan subways, buses, streets and homes in 1999. Hugo Chávez had just been elected president, prompting a passionate population to ponder their opinion on the country’s political landscape. Geler Bruni was born in 1986 and entered his teenage years around it all.

“When I got into university, I wanted to study diplomacy,” Bruni says. “Because the career is politically related—there is no way you cannot be involved. You get passionate about it. And that’s how it started.”

Making a Difference

Bruni graduated from the Universidad Central de Venezuela with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies in 2010. Politics were his passion; he wanted to make a difference. He began his career as a project manager, coordinating social initiatives in disadvantaged communities.

“I wanted to do something to help—to give people some tools [and] some more opportunity to step up in life,” Geler says. “… It could be building a soccer field, baseball field, a park for the kids [or] improving the housing of the people that live in those communities. I was touched by our reality back home. So I wanted to do something to change that reality for some people.”

While Bruni was lifting his community up, he was struggling to make ends meet with his salary.

“I was helping my parents pay the bills at home,” Geler says. “But with that salary, I couldn’t afford to rent my own place. Buying a place—it was impossible.”

Bruni’s then girlfriend (now wife) dreamed of pursuing a post-graduate degree in commerce and trade in Canada. Bruni’s dream was to become an ambassador for his country anywhere in the world, but the timing wasn’t right.

“Deep in my heart, I knew there was not going to be a change in the government or the situation back home for a while,” Bruni said. “So for me, it was reset and start over as soon as we landed in Canada.”

Heading North

Bruni touched down in 2014, immediately enrolling in English classes to further his integration into his new home. His first order of business was finding a new career path—an endeavor aided by an acquaintance in Toronto.

“I had a friend from my town back home who was living in Toronto, so I reached out to him as soon as I got here,” Bruni says. “He introduced me to a guy who used to rent him [his] basement. That guy was the owner of a security window film company.”

The referral ran its course and Bruni ended up with a new gig at the company, which specialized in residential and commercial security applications.

“It was hard at the beginning,” Geler says. “I was cleaning the windows, [and] I thought it was perfect. The next thing you know, when I [applied] the film, I was getting dirt specks or hair trapped in between the film and the glass, so it was pretty frustrating. But I think that it encouraged me to do it better. If I’m going to do something—I learned from my parents—[I have] to do it well.”

Geler focused on his training and improved his application skills. Customers took a liking to his genuine drive to help people. Whether it was building soccer fields in impoverished Venezuelan neighborhoods or installing security film at someone’s Toronto home, he wanted to help.

“Customers started liking me a lot,” Bruni says. “I noticed that some people asked my boss: ‘I want the Venezuelan guy to do my windows because I know that he did my friend’s house, and he did a great job.’”

Bruni traversed Toronto and educated residents about the benefits of window film, a form of customer service that came naturally to the former social coordinator.

“I had to start learning not only to install the film, but about the performance and what is behind the films,” Bruni says. “… For me, it was like, ‘No, I want to learn. I want to learn how this works.’”

Putting it Together

Geler worked for the company from 2015 to 2018. After three years as an installer, he founded his own business, IP Window Films in Toronto, Canada. His shop specializes in security window film solutions for residential and commercial applications. Product offerings include security and safety window films, privacy and solar control window films and decorative frost window films.

“After three years of working salary, I realized, when I opened my business, how underpaid I was,” Bruni says. “… When I got to know the pricing and everything, I was like, ‘I was making this guy a lot of money.’”

In 2019, only 20% of the company’s sales originated from leads stemming from Google Ads, social media, his website and referrals. By 2020, Bruni had changed that. “From spring 2020 up to [now], 90% of our work comes from our own leads,” Bruni says. “I worked very hard on Google AdWords, social media and networking to get to this point.”

Bruni is a one-man show for small and medium-sized projects but hires installers for extensive undertakings on a per-need basis. His system lead to the shop amassing an estimated $120,000 in sales in 2020, but he is open to the idea of hiring an apprentice.

“When I hire somebody, I am going to make sure to help him learn about the industry,” Bruni says. “If in the future, they want to fly and pursue their own path, I would help them. There is enough business out there for everybody in this industry. We cover [a minuscule amount] of glass in the whole world.”

Does Bruni have a return to politics plotted?

“I don’t picture myself going back, at least not in 10-20 years,” Bruni says. “If I go back to politics, it would be when I’m 50 with more experience and if there are changes in my country. Right now, I am focused on growing my business, enjoying the freedom of this country and the financial stability that I finally reached out here. So right now, my main focus is my family.”

Chris Collier is the assistant editor for WINDOW FILM magazine. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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