Thirteen-year-old Joseph Loel, who was born and raised in the Arcadia neighborhood, is showing the world that entrepreneurs can come in all ages.
Like other middle schoolers, Joseph is an 8th grade homeschooler who is part of a local swim club. But most other middle schoolers don’t own their own small business.
Joseph started his own clothing line, Victo Apparel. The name Victo was chosen for victory, an emotion Joseph strongly felt after finally achieving his dream of owning his own business.
“I think there were a few reasons that drew me to creating this line,” said Joseph. “I wanted to earn money and still use my design skills. I also thought it would be fun to learn about owning and managing a business.”
“He went at it 40 different ways. The kid is tenacious,” said Joseph’s father, Brad Loel. “He just had this idea that he wanted to start his shirt business.”
Joseph puts his heart and soul into everything he does. With his swim practice, he has been in the pool for six days a week since he was eight. And that drive has transferred over into his clothing line. He spends his spare time creating and designing new products, helping to manage every aspect of the company.
“Figuring out how to print these shirts took a while,” said Brad. “He tried heat transfer paper, talked to a guy who taught classes on silk screening. It was trying to find a way to do it without dropping $1500 for basic equipment.”
Eventually Joseph partnered with a local print house and was able to have the shirts made at an affordable price that still allows him to make a profit, without putting in tons of money for equipment. When it comes to the shirt designs, that’s all Joseph too. He’s learned to create the designs on Adobe Illustrator.
His line is more about than just getting his creative juices flowing. He is also using the proceeds to give back to the community. “I want everyone buying one of my products to know that for every item they buy from me, I will donate $1 to children in 3rd world countries,” said Joseph. “$1 will feed a child for 20 days according to St. Mary’s Meals statistics.”
“My greatest business accomplishment so far is being able to sell my products with people in my community.”
— For more information, or to buy from the clothing line, visit http://go2l.ink/victo.