An Interview With a Young CEO

DSC_0007nhMost fifteen year olds play video games or hang out with their friends in their free time. However, I had the opportunity to interview a very driven young man who puts on his CEO hat when he gets home from school.
Micah Johnson is the CEO of Levitate, a casual unisex clothing brand. He is 15 years old, lives in Lake Jackson, Texas (a suburb of Houston), and he is in the 10th grade at Brazosport Christian School. Keep reading, because he is giving us the scoop on what it’s been like to be an entrepreneur at such a young age and what inspired him to create Levitate.

Q: What made you want to start your company?

A: Well, basically I wanted to make a social impact in some way. I found that this was the most convenient way. I want Levitate to be more than just clothing. We chose the art form of clothing to get our message across the first go round, but I want Levitate to become a real social movement where people are actually levitating and rising above. I want Levitate to inspire people to make the standards of our society come up.

Q: What was the inspiration for the name of the brand?

A: There were various influences and inspirations that put the name Levitate in my mind. I knew there was deeper context to the word than the definition; it could be used for so much more.

Q: What does Levitate mean?

Levitate means to rise above negativity. So when we say “Levitate above Negativity” we want to inspire you to rise above negativity or whatever else you feel is holding you back; whether it’s the bully at school or that you had a rough morning. Don’t let that person or thing hold you back from moving forward to becoming a better person. We hope to aid you in the strength to Levitate above that!

2015-02-10_21.19.23Q: Were there any brands or individuals that you draw inspiration from when you’re designing the clothes?

A: I don’t actually design the clothes, that’s done by my designers (Calvin Banks and Caleb Kwok) but I do play a part in the designing process of the clothing. I get my inspiration from a variety of things such as: art, movies, music, nature, and whatever else looks likes it can be changed into art and incorporated into our line.
But specifically what individuals or brands am I inspired by? One individual is Kanye West which is seems cliché because his name may bring a negative connotation to mind, but the man is a genius. He is one of the most influential artists of the 2000’s if not the most. One other brand I am inspired by is Nike. Not specifically because of their clothing, but because of the brand they have built is instilled in the average American person. When people see a check mark anywhere, whether it’s in math class wherever Nike will come to his mind.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of starting your brand?

A: As of now it’s just the exciting part of seeing people wear my idea. I won’t see the most exciting rewards until later on obviously. I will be excited to see what rewards are to come.

Q: Have you had to tackle any unforeseen challenges so far?

A: Yeah, but I’m glad we realized them early. I will give you one example of a challenge we faced; earlier last year we were selling our product for the first time in person. I personally think we had the one of the most attractive booths there, and we thought that would be enough for us to attract customers. As time passed no one was coming to our booth! We then realized that we actually have to go out and sell. I think that was a good learning experience and for us.

Q: What courses/experiences do you feel prepared you to start the brand, or are you learning as you go?

A: I am taking a Young Entrepreneurs Class along with one of my employees, and I feel like this class has helped me organize the business side of things. Also it has helped me stay consistent within my business. As far as Marketing goes, my mentor Alexis Campstre has helped me a lot with Social media Analytics, improving the website, and helping me with my target market.

Q: What are your plans for the brand in the future?

A: In the future? We’re already in the future. We are ahead of our time! Nah, I’m just kidding, but we have a lot of things in store this summer *hint hint. By June 21st we plan to have our summer episode out, and to celebrate that we will be sponsoring our first concert! The date is set for Saturday August 1st,but the venue and what artists that we are performing is still TBD. In the meantime you can visit our online store here, and  stay up to date with us by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @Levitateabove!

You can also check out the article that Levitate did for Brand Square Fashion.

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