Doodling: a childish activity. A useless pastime. It is also how junior Sebastian Aduana got started on his own clothing line. After realizing that his homework assignments and packets were filled with drawings, he decided to transform them into something more productive.
“I took all the doodles from my packets and refined them to put them on clothing and make a brand out of it,” Aduana said.
His brand, Konquer Collective Co., is named after the idea of conquering one’s fears. According to junior Morgan Hinkle, Aduana puts thought and effort into every aspect of the brand, from its name to its website design.
“For the past few months, it’s all he’s been able to focus on,” Hinkle said. “In math class, he’ll be making sketches whenever we’re done taking notes. It’s all he can think about.”
Aduana’s designs are inspired by cartoonish elements from video games and surrealistic elements from horror movies. The combination of the two seemingly juxtaposing styles provides his clothing with a unique look.
Aduana converts his doodles into graphics using Adobe Photoshop. He then sends his designs to Apex Ink, the warehouse from which he receives blank hoodies and T-shirts. After he previews samples of his designs on the clothing, Apex Ink produces more clothing, which becomes available on his website.
“He was so casual about it when he was explaining it to me,” intern counselor Rachel Ellis said. “But it’s such a huge deal. He’s doing so many different aspects of it: creative directing, curation, fashion design, graphic design, art design.”
One factor about Aduana makes his business stand out: his age. According to a poll conducted by Incfile in September 2018, the average entrepreneur is 42, and only 8% of current business owners started their businesses when they were under 18.
“It’s really rare to find teenagers starting up something new,” Hinkle said. “People shut down so many ideas coming from teenagers. So I think it’s really cool that he’s trying to push past that and be himself.”
Aduana tries not to let negative feedback discourage him. Instead, he uses others’ preconceived notions regarding his age as motivation to prove them wrong, placing a higher value on the support he receives from his peers.
“I use people not taking me seriously as my fuel,” he said. “It just makes me want to go further with it.”
According to Aduana, other teenagers hoping to start their own businesses should not be put off by others’ opinions of their age. But, they should consider the time and effort they are willing to sacrifice for their business, as it is a significant commitment. They should also evaluate their reasons for wanting to start a business.
“Make sure that it’s something you actually want to do,” Aduana said. “If it’s something that you don’t want to do and you’re just doing it for money, it’ll feel like a chore.”
According to Ellis, all students should pursue their ambitions. BG offers a large variety of career pathway exploration courses for both academic and non-academic careers. Exploring one’s goals during high school can have a positive impact on their future and motivate others to do the same, Ellis said.
“We just want to find everybody something they love to do and find passion in their lives,” Ellis said. “I think it’s so inspiring for yourself and your peers when you find success in doing what you love.”
*Aduana’s clothing is available at www.konquercollectiveco.com. For business inquiries, you can contact Aduana at [email protected]