Cristian Navaro went to TIA for 4 years of high school, graduating in 2017. He is currently attending Pima Community College and will transfer to the U of A for a business degree. He talks about owning a business now, thanks to TIA and YEA.
Cristian says, “I’ve been into business ever since I was young. The thought of owning a business and being my own boss seems to be for me.”
Dr. Jennifer Hererra remembers when Cristian came to TIA in 9th grade. She says he’s always been a student that stood out because of his intense interest in owning a business. He always went after the unique contribution that he could make through a business.
Cristian says, “I wanted to get into business now so that I can make a little extra money to help out with college, food and gas and stuff like that. The business I started is called Project Kickz, which is a sneaker shop that buys, sells and trades shoes and also customizes and restores shoes. I have here a pair of soccer cleats I restored. The benefit of restoring shoes is because they are special editions like a Jordan 3 which came out in 2017 and won’t be re-released again until maybe 2020. They are collectors items and more valuable to restore. So if it’s a shoe that someone wears a lot, they bring it to me and I can make it look like it’s new again. I can tape up parts of the shoes to protect the black suede part of the shoe while I use acetone to clean and stripe the paint on the other parts and then repaint it. Some shoes, like the Yeezy by Kanye West made by Adidas, only have so many pairs that are made. I was lucky enough to get a pair but I re-sold them for $1500! The Business Program at TIA is actually how I got my idea for Project Kickz.”
Dr. Hererra remembers when Cristian began his business Project Kickz. He found out there was a Young Entrepreneur’s Academy offered by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and it was there that he wrote a business plan. That’s when his business really took off.
TIA High School Business Class & YEA
Cristian says he was when he was in the TIA Business class during his junior year in high school, and came up with his idea for the project that became his business. In his senior year of high school (2017), he heard about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) offered by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Tucson, Arizona. There they really taught him how to run a business and the steps he needed to accomplish the goal of owning his own business. He had to create a full business plan, so he has a really thick binder with all the details of that plan.
Another thing Cristian learned in YEA was to always be respectful of who you’re dealing with, even if the other person gets mad at you or even throws punches at you, to stay respectful because maybe you can help one another later on.
What is a Sneakerhead?
Cristian feels he can tell a lot about a person just by looking at their shoes; each person’s choice of shoes gives them their own personality. People love to express themselves through their shoes. That’s what Sneakerheads mostly do. Sneakerheads are people that love to collect shoes and everything about shoes. They are people who will go wait in line for a new shoe to drop or people that buy multiple pairs of shoes so that they wear one and stock one. To stock one means you would store a pair away to keep it in perfect condition. When Cristian customizes a shoe for someone, he is letting them express who they are and giving them a uniqueness because that’s really them. People will say, “Oh that’s a dope shoe! Where did you get that?” and they say, “Project Kickz!”