The summer before his sophomore year, Mountlake Terrace High School student Bukhari Shakil and a friend created a clothing line, originally named Exotic Clothing Company.
When the friend left the business, students Malek Qibaa and Samuel Polevoy joined Shakil helped him set up a company website and find a manufacturer. And Shakil changed the name to Exoticco, hoping to make it sound less “clunky.” The name stems from the phrase “express yourself.”
The trio launched the clothing line last summer, just before starting their junior year. Since then, they’ve sold to customers as near as MTHS and as far as South Asia and Europe, according to Shakil.
They’ve also spoken with the manager at Nordstrom, and have future plans to have their clothing sold in stores.
However, even with an online-exclusive product, the three have still made “thousands” in revenue, Shakil said. A “good fraction” of that is kept as profit.
Exoticco has a manufacturer in California that produces and ships the clothing to buyers. Qibba said that it will take approximately 10-15 business days for the product to be delivered to consumers. Shakil, Qibba and Polevoy design all of their own clothing.
Shakil also said that he’s been seeing an increasing number of people in classes and around the community wearing Exoticco clothing. Qibba mentioned that another student in his fourth period class “would not stop talking about it.”
None of the three has had any prior experience as entrepreneurs, but Qibba’s family and Shakil’s father both have careers in business fields.
“I had a lemonade stand when I was like 9,” Shakil said, “but I don’t know if that counts.”
Qibba, Shakil and Polevoy said they are modeling their company after “above-millionaires” business owners because they know that those people are incredibly successful. With that, they try to replicate small aspects of each business-owning strategy into their own company.
Exoticco t-shirts, hoodies, phone cases and beanies can be bought at their website: exoticco.us.
–By Stephi Smith, MLTnews intern