Axel Magaña’s passion for entrepreneurship began in the sixth grade.
By age 12, he was already designing brochures and flyers for sporting events for Salesian High School.
As a freshman at Theodore Roosevelt High School, he came up with the idea of having his own successful clothing line.
Today, at age 21, Magaña hopes that he is on the way to making that dream come true by launching the Boyle Heights clothing company, Golden Age Inc. Although he has a long way to go with the company, he’s taking it step by step to achieve what he wants.
Magaña represents a new wave of young entrepreneurs who have found alternative ways to pursue their dreams. Although he and his partners are not making big bucks, they’ve managed to split their time between the clothing company and regular day jobs — all for their love of fashion and art.
“It is not all about the money”¦it is about being creative,” said Magaña.
The Golden Age founders met in high school, four close friends, popularly known as the “pretty boys” because of their trendy attire. Their passion has been the driving force behind the launch of Golden Age.
Magaña describes Golden Age as a collective of young photographers, designers, models and more. Together they motivate each other to become successful entrepreneurs, he said.
“I’m the main founder, but I don’t like saying it,” said Magaña. “I just like being the creative director.”
All the partners in the clothing line have invested money into the business, but Magaña said he has invested the most funds and time. But he would not provide details on their investments or any profits because, he said, they are at the beginning stages of their company.
Golden Age attire is hip and trendy, targeting 16-year-olds to those in their early 30s. All of the clothes are stitched and designed in a detailed manner. The Golden Age logo is embroidered in every clothing item including beanies, sweaters, jackets and shirts. T-shirts cost $20- $25; sweaters, $30-$40, jackets from $50 to $80 and other accessories like beanies and hats are between $15 and $30.
Golden Age is an unconventional business, which currently sells its clothing at a local barbershop.
Gonzalo Acosta, owner of OBSRV Barber Specialists in Huntington Park partnered with Magaña to have Golden Age clothes sold at his barbershop and said that so far the business is breaking even.
As they start working their way up with the business, the packaging system is not formally done at one location. Orders are packaged at the barber shop or at Magaña’s house. “We pull out all of our orders and check how many we got, check our inventory and cancel [orders] for what we don’t have,” says Acosta.
Most of their sales had been made online, the partners say. The collective was using Big Cartel a service that assists artists by providing them with a customizable online store. But the partners say they are revamping their website, goldenageco.com. For now no sales can be made because the website is down.
Most of the founders also have full-time jobs and work on the clothing line during their time off. Currently Magaña has a full-time day job at a doctor’s office where he designs and helps with marketing. He has also taken some graphic design classes at the Art Institute of California in Santa Monica to expand his skills.
“People leave and come ”¦ but I understand everybody has lives,” explained Magaña.
Together the collective has developed marketing and promotional strategies to help spread the word about their clothing line. Ricardo Tlapanco, the social media marketer, and Magaña’s childhood friend, said he always remembers Magaña being on the move.
“Axel hustled his way up …Our parents gave us the usual and we wanted name brands, so he worked to get the better stuff,” said Tlapanco.
Daniel Magaña, Axel’s brother, also remembers his big brother’s business sense.
“When we wanted new yu-gi-oh cards, we would sell them for a little more than what we bought them for,” Daniel said. (Yu-gi-oh cards are like sports cards that are used for trading and competing against each other).
Because Golden Age was founded by young entrepreneurs they are still learning how to get where they want to be, and hope to expand their business, Magaña said.
He admits to taking baby steps. “Everyone falls but I do not want to fall too hard,” he said. “As for my career, I don’t know what it is yet, but I do know it is (about) entrepreneurship.”