Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriel Medina.
Gabriel, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was heavily into streetwear back in high school. My mom used to drive me to these small, hidden away boutique shops to buy clothes. I was obsessed with graphic tees, and at the time, I’d travel hours, or sometimes camp outside shops to buy brands like Acrylic, Dissizit, The Hundreds, 10 Deep, One People Project, Us vs Them and Obey. Those brands were putting out super unique and thought-provoking graphic tees. I just couldn’t get enough. I was in love with the culture and everything it stood for, but I never once thought that I would find myself here a few years down the line.
I struggled in school my whole life and college was no different. I knew that college was going to be a challenge for me, but I never thought I would completely fail my first year. I slacked off a lot in high school, and that kind of followed me to college. I would spend most of my time watching Halo videos on Twitch TV and talking to my classmates instead of paying attention. I rarely studied or did homework, and that caught up with me.
During my second year, my interests shifted. I changed my major. I was really into cars at the time and decided I wanted to become a mechanic. I figured it would be easier, so I enrolled in some auto classes. I loved it. My days consisted of messing around and working on cars. But that eventually got old, and then I found myself right back where I started; unsure of what to do or which direction to take. I ended up taking a semester off to try to figure out if school was right for me.
During that break, I spent most of my time working and saving money, but I was still passionate about cars, so it became more of a hobby, something that consumed my free time. I thought why not start a car club?
I rounded up a few friends who also loved cars, and we formed this little car group. We racked our brains trying to come up with a name for ourselves and finally settled on Emanon, which is literally “no-name”, backwards. We wanted to be official, so we had to make team shirts. My friend Patrick designed our first logo. We stuck Emanon in Kanji underneath it, and that was our first design.
People took notice and started asking if they could get a shirt or a hoodie with the design on it. What started as a team thing turned into an opportunity to make money, so I took it. My cousin, who did screen printing, produced our first batch.
We were only making a few bucks from each order, but I was hyped! I also didn’t know any better. We made about $400 profit on all those orders. With that $400 I now had 2 choices: split it amongst my team and call it a day or re-invest that back into making more product. I wanted Emanon to be more than just a car club, so the team and I decided to put the money back in and start something. And that’s how Emanon Clothing was born.
That was the moment I felt like I found my purpose.
I knew next to nothing about design, so I enrolled back into college to pursue a degree in graphic design. Meanwhile, I reached out to a graphic designer, Christopher Moore, on Instagram, and he agreed to design a few graphics for us while also teaching me the process. This time my mind was in a different place. I was determined to graduate and grow this brand. I put my head down and focused in class, and started getting tutoring afterwards. At the end of the year, I passed all my courses, and I knew my hard work was starting to pay off. When I wasn’t at school, I was glued to my computer, watching YouTube tutorials and teaching myself. That year really flew by, because next thing I knew I was in my cap and gown.
I graduated with an Associate’s in Graphic Design, and that same year I landed an internship with The Hundreds in L.A. That was a full-circle moment for me. The brand that I had admired for the last 7 years offered me an internship! I was living my dream, like a kid in a chocolate factory. Hands down the best 2 months of my life. I owe a huge thank you to Bobby Hundreds, Ben Hundreds, Eddie Viramontes and Phil Lumbang. They seriously took me to the next level.
Fast forward to today, I now work for the skate brand Bumbag as a Junior Product Designer. I’m on a crazy journey. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the best of the best, and that’s priceless. I’ve taken everything I’ve learned at these places and applied it to my brand. Growing Emanon remains my main focus, and I’m in it for the long run.
Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It definitely hasn’t been smooth sailing. It’s been a huge learning curve for me, learning how to run a business, and I still really don’t know what I’m doing!
No one in my family had their own business or had any connections, so I had to go out and figure all that stuff out on my own. It hasn’t stopped me but it sure has slowed me down. One of the hardest things for me was to find companies that would manufacture the products I wanted at a decent price.
Growing the business is a challenge. My lack of knowledge, combined with a lack of money has been hard, but I’m not giving up. I have a great team behind me, and I know that with our combined talents and motivation, we will figure this out.
Please tell us about Emanon Clothing.
At the core, Emanon Clothing is a lifestyle brand that uses unique graphics to tell stories and motivate people to follow their dreams. But more than that, we are a community of like-minded individuals here to inspire one another.
We produce hats, shirts, hoodies, beanies and more, but our graphic tees are definitely what I’d say we’re known for.
What I’m most proud of is building a sense of community. I’ve met so many great people and have made so many new friends thanks to Emanon. I love meeting our supporters and motivating them to keep chasing their dreams.
The message me want to send is simple: we believe that we are all capable of making noise and being heard. We’re all capable of fulfilling our dreams and pursuing our passions.
At the end of the day, we’re not just selling shirts. We’re offering people a chance to be apart of something greater, a community that is willing to share and grow as one. When you wear Emanon you become apart of that community. No one is left behind.
What role has luck (good luck or bad luck) played in your life and business?
I believe that we create our own luck, or at least in my case. Being in the right place at the right time, on purpose, or going out of my way to pursue an interaction that would later benefit me.
When I first met Bobby Hundreds, owner of The Hundreds, I gave him some of the shirts I designed. I told him that one day, I wouldn’t just be some random kid he met at his warehouse sale. I told him that I either wanted to work for him or collaborate with his brand one day. That year I made sure I was at every single one of his events, and to share a few words with him while I was there, all in hopes that he would remember me.
He eventually did. He greeted my girlfriend and I with hugs every time he saw us at the events. I created my own luck.
I took it one step further when I found out his brand was looking for interns. I called off work, drove 2 hours to wait in a line of about 200 kids hoping to score the spot. When it was my turn, I walked in, and was greeted with “Gabe what are you doing here?” The relationship that I had worked to established paid off, and I ended up getting the internship.
- GRAPHIC T-SHIRTS $19.99
- HATS $24.99
- HOODIES $49.99
- BEANIES $19.99
- GRAPHIC LONG SLEEVES $29.99
- Website: www.emanonclothing.com
- Phone: 1(760)216-7719
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emanon_emn/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emanonclothing/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/emanon_emn
Danielle Jackson-@daniellejacksonphotography, Seagge Loy Abella-@insageproduction, Jean – Richard Perez-@rezuhloot