By Christina Molina
While most high school students fill their minds with homework, friends and daily activities, students Oscar Escalante, Bryant Phung and Christon Oribello went beyond the classroom to start their own business.
“I have always been interested in clothing,” Oscar said. “Mostly in graphic design on t-shirts and hoodies, so I thought to myself, ‘what about starting my own clothing line?’”
So, the 11th graders plotted out their design and logo, and with the financial assistance of Oscar's parents brought the finished product to life.
Their business became known as the “Stay Up” clothing line.
“The name 'Stay Up' has many meanings,” Oscar said. “It means, stay positive, stay active, get your name out there - stay up.”
The three friends started their apparel brand in September, as soon as their first design was created. From hoodies to sweatshirts, tees and beanies, they dove into business with the purpose of creating a successful, legitimate clothing line.
To begin promotions, Oscar, Bryant and Christon looked to popular social media sites Facebook and tumblr.com, where they created pages that displayed their newest products.
They soon started working with Nakedless, an apparel printing company. It was then that they each decided to take on more defined roles with individual responsibilities.
“I managed the finance side. Oscar did most of the designing,” Bryant said.
“Now, we all basically manage the sales each of us makes individually,” Oscar added.
The rigorous business venture was an eye-opening experience for the students.
“When we started Stay Up, we didn't think it was going to be as much work as it actually was,” Oscar said. “We were constantly managing sales, making sure we were on time with our schedule we had planned out.”
Nevertheless, hard work proved these young men capable. With the support of their families and peers, Stay Up sold, keeping their spirits positive.
The three friends decided to pay their good fortunes forward, by donating 20 percent of their proceeds to charity.
“The first charity we started with was feedthechildren.org,” Oscar said. “We plan on changing charities every so often, but we want to donate to a cause that helps people in general.”
The young entrepreneurs say they have learned a lot, just in their first few months of business.
“From all this, I gained business experience and become more organized and social,” Bryant said.
“I have learned a few things about designing graphics for our clothes and how to manage a small business like ours, from the start,” added Oscar.
According to Oscar, the meaning of "Stay Up" varies from person to person. What they hope people will get out of their designs and products is the mindset of a positive outlook.
“Keeping your head up, that sort of thing,” he said.