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Teenager Sows Career In Apparel

Nothing.

That’s what 14-year-old Jeremy Koven heard when he reached out to a major California footwear brand because he wanted to resell its overrun inventory.

Rather than let it deter him, the teenager decided to start his own company to put streetwear designs in adolescent hands.

Late last month, he launched a website for his AgentCali, a Brentwood “by teens, for teens” clothing line that includes T-shirts, sweaters and the like that he designs and has made in downtown Los Angeles.

Might he hit the speech circuit? Well, he’s already talked about the business with 500 fellow teens during an Oct. 26 entrepreneur business boot camp at UCLA hosted by Project Echo, a non-profit that helps at-risk students gain vocational and entrepreneurial skills.

“It was a great experience,” Koven said. “Those are really bright kids.”

Koven relies on social marketing strategies to get the word out about AgentCali. The brand already has 6,000 Instagram followers and Koven plans to station student representatives at every California school to spread the word about the brand. The company currently has more than 10 such representatives, called brand ambassadors, in Southern California.

Koven said he wants to hit $100,000 in sales in AgentCali’s first year.

That’s a lofty goal for an eighth-grader, but it helps that he has at least one expert adviser: His father, Andrew Koven, is vice president of e-commerce and omni-channel retail for Guess Inc. of downtown Los Angeles.

The elder Koven tries not to get too involved, though, and said he sees AgentCali as a sort of Business 101 for his precocious son.

“We’ve been very careful to say that this is your business,” he said. “We’re just here to listen and support him.”

– Melissah Yang

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