The award-winning Kreative Mindz Customs is the brainchild of Aniya Hoggatt, a 15-year-old student at Central High School in Fresno. Photo by Donald A. Promnitz
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
Editor’s note: As part of of cover of the 10th anniversary of the start of the Great Recession, we are featuring young entrepreneurs, or “kidpreneurs,” who represent the next generation of entrepreneurism that were in diapers during the start of the downturn.
For one junior at Central High School, her clothing customizing business has turned into a hit with her peers — and it’s already taken her across the country.
“Aniya’s always been creative,” said Charmaine, Aniya Hoggatt’s mother. “And she’s always talked about owning her own business.”
These two passions have resulted in the creation of Aniya’s venture, Kreative Mindz Custom, which does custom designs and logos for shoes and clothes. This includes her own shirt and sandal designs.
Aniya built Kreative Mindz while she was part of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) for Fresno State. Run through the Lyles Center for innovation and Entrepreneurship, the YEA! program lasts throughout the course of a year, at which point students will pitch their business ideas and compete with other students.
Central is one of five high schools to have YEA! programs with Fresno State, along with Bullard, McLane, Roosevelt and Reedley Middle College.
Earlier this year, her business placed first in the Regional YEA! competition, resulting in a $500 prize and a trip to Rochester, New York to take part in the Saunders National Competition in May. Shannon Sill, program coordinator for the Lyles Center, said that she was impressed with the artwork that Aniya did, along with the presentation made to the judges.
“I think if she continues pursuing her passion for business, she can take it to the next level,” Sill said. “She has the obstacle of being in high school, to which she can’t devote 100 percent of her time to her company, but when she graduates, she can.”
Meanwhile, Kreative Mindz is continuing to be in high demand among Aniya’s classmates as well as others. In a given week, she said that she gets orders to customize five shirts and a pair of sandals. And while she has to balance school, Aniya said that being in business at age 15 doesn’t come without its benefits.
“I would have to say the support system,” she said about the biggest advantage. “Because you have a lot of friends that really want to support you. And I’ve had a lot of support from teachers as well.”
When she starts college, Aniya said that she expects business to slow down somewhat as she makes adjustments. Nonetheless, she still has high hopes for Kreative Mindz, and intends to see it reach its full potential.
“If you have that goal — that dream— first you’ve got to believe in it, then after that, just put in the effort to achieve it, and you can do it.”