LOCAL TEEN ENTREPRENEURS USE CLOTHING BRAND TO HELP COMMUNITY
Ajani Jefferies and Josiah Montalvo are the creators of “Goldn Rd,” a new clothing brand with an important message for the Rochester community. As firm believers in God, their clothing line signifies the road to success and their personal belief that “in heaven the streets will be paved with gold.” They hope to show that by having faith in God, anything can be achieved.
“We really wanted to inspire people and artists in Rochester,” Jefferies said. “A lot of people in this business look at it as competition on who’s more “swaged out” but we actually want to help others by working together with local businesses.
Jefferies and Montalvo started the brand in October of 2011, right out of high school. While the two did start off by attending Monroe Community College, they decided that rather than sitting in a classroom waiting for something to happen to make their dreams of creating a clothing brand come true, they withdrew to make it happen themselves.
“It’s one thing to talk about it, but doing it is totally different. When we first started we only had a little bit of knowledge about screen-printing from Art Peace so we would literally sit in my bedroom and plan out everything we were going to do. We started by funding ourselves with the amount of money we had saved from our small jobs. Unfortunately, as of today, that is still much of how we are up and running,” said Jefferies.
Jefferies and Montalvo believe being young has been both a blessing and a curse: “There are people who support you and there are people who will try to break you down. Some people do support us just because of our age but others try to take advantage of us being so young and not having experience.” Jefferies continued,“We’re going to show the world that just because we’re only 19 and 20, it doesn’t mean anything. We can do the same things as people double our age and do it better!”
Christopher Washington is the creator of Top Flight clothing, another local clothing brand, who views the Goldn Rd duo more as a partnership than competition. “I view them as inspirational people for and from our community. I've never saw them as competition, we share the same goals and are on the same path,” said Washington.
He continued, “We’re showing people that you can do anything that you put your mind to and that negativity isn't the only way to get recognition. I personally hope to see them go worldwide and hit major stores that fit their criteria.”
Josh Logan is a local upcoming musician who is both a consumer and supporter of Goldn Rd.“Goldn Rd is great for Rochester--especially the local skate community. The local skate community doesn’t really have anywhere to skate and hang out but Goldn Rd and Krudco help bring all of the urban youth together,” said Logan.
Last year’s mission was to keep Krudco alive. Krudco is a local skate shop, located at 83 Howell Street, which inspires and plays home to hundreds of local teens, and was in danger of closing. Jefferies and Montalvo held several events at Krudco over the past year where profits were donated to the skate shop. Fortunately, with the help of Goldn Rd and many other local businesses, Krudco was able to get back on their feet once again.
This year the duo is working on organizing a 5K marathon to fundraise for the ROC City Skate Park. The skate park whose construction was supposed to begin in 2010 still hasn’t happened due to funding. Goldn Rd hopes that by getting a significant amount of people to register for the race they can help get the operation back in order.
However, the biggest news of all is the clothing brand’s new storefront which will be opening later this month. On October 26, 2013, Goldn Rd will be holding a “store warming” event at 159 Caroline St., the new storefront location. The “store warming” will also be celebrating the release of the fall 2013 apparel and the second year anniversary of Goldn Rd being in action. Goldn Rd.’s apparel sizes range from an extra small to 2XL and can be purchased from the Krudco storefront or their new website.
Ajani Jefferies said while they focus a lot of marketing toward the youth, their target range is to all ages. “We want to show our local pride and try our best to make people laugh through our marketing. Whenever people think of laughter, they should think of Josiah and Ajani.”