Young people in big cities are increasingly deserting high-tuition costs, rising fees, and stressing over tests to dive right into entrepreneurship.
Many of these young adults are taking their high school dreams and trying to turn them into reality through branding.
With the use of the Internet as a marketing tool, these ambitious teens are following the footsteps of major brands such as BAPE (Bathing Ape) by starting off with logo T-shirts.
Christopher Hong was inspired to start his own brand, Divinities, by hanging around one of the biggest areas for retailers of street wear in the world–Fairfax Avenue–because, “[he] wanted to create a brand of his own that he could express some of his visions based on his own lifestyle. He wanted to create something for his ‘homies’ and at the same time bring something to the table.”
Hong says that his main inspirations are other cultures and music. He is not alone in this new wave of entrepreneurship. Many other expanding brands that are well known on the Internet and created by young people are include Peas ‘N Carrots International, Jane Doe LA., Peace L.A, Dertbag Design, and Thebrandwithnoname.
The graphic design, photography, screen printing, and marketing for these brands are all done by people under 20 years old, and many of these brands are derived from the skateboarding street community. They continue to grow through the music, art, and already-built empires such as Dirty Ghetto Kids by skateboarder Stevie Williams, who set the standard.
The reality for these ambitious teens is that some of them will make it far in the industry and others will fail, but one thing is for certain, all of them have a head start in the world of business and manufacturing.
When I asked Christopher where he sees his brand in the future he responded, “I see us very relevant to those who haven’t noticed us. I see the brand expanding to new heights. People will be able to point us out, so it’ll all come together soon,” said the designer, who pointed out that the brand is continuing to grow with the help of supporting friends and already established influencers in the industry.
Another young entrepreneur, Sheranne Jackson of Peace Los Angeles also has a vision of street-wear apparel that she is putting into action. She is adding something new to the game by marketing to and delivering products to the growing female community that is often overlooked–tweens, skaters, etc.
Peace Los Angeles is a brand that wants to bring awareness of social injustices, education, and promote creativity. Collaborating with Miss U.S.A. contestants, Jackson has gained supporters of her mission. Her brand includes retro crocheted hair wear that accent her screen printed shirts–a style that has been popular in California for many years.
Don Tapscott author of “Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World,” and co-author of “Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World,” predicts this pool of young entrepreneurs will be greater in the upcoming years, because of this generation of Internet-savvy teenagers.
According to the government, there has been a 46 percent increase in the number of people dropping out of college to become their own boss. He believes that because of this increase in young people who are becoming more creative and self governed through blogging and social networking sites, the power structure of the working community is changing. More people prefer to be their own boss.
While the idea of doing their own thing is intoxicating, there is major competition for the local brands created by young entrepreneurs. That’s because major companies can outsource production of their goods which drives down their costs and enables them to sell to the public much more inexpensively.
Tapscott believes that marketing is no longer about finding out how to relate with your consumers as much as it is important to engage the consumers within the company.
More information about these upcoming CEOs can be found on their websites–www.peasncarrotsintl.com, www.thedivinities.com, www.thebrandwww.withnoname.net, www.janedoela.tumblr.com, and www.dertbagdesign.com.