We had the good fortune of connecting with Anthony Mejia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anthony, how do you think about risk?
Risk is the difference-maker in not just business, but life as a whole. If there’s little to no risk, you’re likely operating from a place of comfort. Not many extraordinary things are birthed from a comfort zone. Deciding to go to college or not, choosing where you’re going to live to give yourself the best opportunities, all the way to taking the leap and leaving an established job to launch your own business- risk taking is what makes it all so exciting and worth it. I landed (what I thought to be) my dream job out of college. I was working for one of the largest athletic apparel companies in the world and was excited to get there and leave my mark. Create dope clothes, work with some amazing creatives and start climbing the corporate ladder. I got there and it wasn’t at all what I expected. I spent all of my time entering data, sourcing materials, and grabbing way more coffee than someone not working as a barista should. I quickly realized that I wasn’t anywhere near my dream job. After 2 years, I made the decision that the allure of a job title and having a certain company’s name on my business card was not worth the emptiness of feeling unhappy and unfulfilled. I left the position at the company’s headquarters on the east coast to return to my hometown of Pasadena in hopes of greener pastures. After a couple months, I interviewed for a position at a start-up athletic apparel brand. Following my meeting with the owners, I was confident that the position being advertised was something I could really sink my teeth into and be creative in. A few weeks turned into a few months and eventually I hit the 1-year mark in the position. In a conversation around reviews, I voiced my frustration that I still had yet to have much of a say in the design and creative process. My boss at the time responded “There’s no way you’re going to have the ability to create what you want in this role. This is just about getting it done and getting it out.”… I gave my two week notice the very next morning. Two completely different levels of business, nearly identical outcomes. I realized in that moment that there was only one way I was going to have the creative control I was looking for… 4 months later, Made the Collective launched. With our not-for-only profit business model, I am able to do the two things that I am most excited about- make dope clothes, help improve the lives of as many people as I can through my passion for fashion and athletics. I had to risk the comfort and monotony of a couple of “stable” positions in different companies to get here. While there’s an increased level of stress and a healthy level of fear associated with owning my own business, I would not have it any other way. I am beyond blessed to wake up excited to create and grow my brand and without the inherent risks of making the leap to entrepreneur, none of that would be possible.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Here at Made the Collective, our mission is to improve lives through our passion for giving, culture of thoughtfulness and an unequivocal commitment to quality. With a substantial portion of all sales going directly to benefitting our, your and their community, we understand the importance in an uplifting and encouraging experience for all whom we encounter, lend our support and all of those that support us. Whether it’s the collective, our products, or an opportunity for giving, people are at the core of all that we do! The thing I am most proud of Made for, is that our standard for quality does not limit itself to just our products- it extends to every aspect of our business and is ultimately how we make decisions. No cutting corners, no half-stepping; we are all in 100% and our commitment to excellence reflects those values. If nothing else, I hope that is what shines the brightest around our brand and our mission.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The City of Angels!! Perfect day here goes as followed: Wake up ocean side and go for a walk on the beach/pier Breakfast at Los Feliz Cafe in Atwater Village Hangout at the Grove or Old Town Pasadena late morning Cruise around Hollywood, eventually making your way to Universal Studios Catch lunch at Leo’s Tacos Truck (Al Pastor is the way to go) Make your way over to Golden Road Brewery for a couple of beers Get a Lyft over to Dodgers Stadium to catch the boys in blue for a late afternoon/night game Grab a #1 with grilled onion + chopped chilis w/ animal style fries from In N Out Head back to the ocean side spot to end the perfect LA day Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shoutout to my family for their unconditional love and support. Especially my mom, who has not only encouraged me to always be the very best person I could, but also given me the tools and resources to continue to grow as a professional and as a man. I also want to thank my girlfriend, Amber, who has seen me through all of the growth over the past 10 years and given me the confidence to pursuit my dreams and passion, while also providing me with the most amazing family of my own. Finally, I want to thank my daughter Zoriah. You are the biggest blessing in this life and everything I do, I do for you stinky!
Chris Kim IG: @ckimcreatives