Destin Rodgers '19 credits an exciting Upper School art class for inspiring him to start his own small business, a clothing line that's taking off with the help of a fellow Norfolk Academy graduate.
Destin took three years of studio art at Academy, where he thoroughly enjoyed learning from teachers Greg Barton and Knox Garvin. During Destin's senior year, Mr. Barton taught a lesson on screen printing, a method of printing graphics using thick ink that sits on top of an object rather than soaking in. For clothes, this allows the artist to create a pattern that can be reproduced many times.
The lesson so energized Destin that he decided to try his hand at screen printing on his own. At an event one day, he made about $1,200.
An idea was born. Destin paid to get a business license and founded Agos Artistry.
Even as Destin enrolled at Virginia Tech, the business developed. A year after its initial launch, Patrick McElroy '19 helped it take the next step by creating a website and bringing Agos onto social media.
The business, combined with college - Patrick attends the University of Michigan - keeps the friends busy. On the art side, all their clothing is hand-crafted, incorporating unique designs. On the financial side, they must track expenses, analyzing costs of everything from shipping to boxes to find the best deals.
They're also growing the brand, with more than 200 followers across their Instagram and Facebook pages, which started barely a month ago.
Both Destin and Patrick are keeping their options open for the future. They're taking computer science classes, and Destin plans that subject as a major, but they haven't decided on ultimate career paths yet.
No matter what, they're confident this endeavor will prove valuable.
“It has been a great experience for starting any business," Destin said. “Very applicable for things we want to do."
Both alumni have been buoyed by how things have gone so far. Mr. Barton, who now teaches at a university in Greece, reached out to offer congratulations. Other members of the Academy community have lent a hand, with anything from taking photos for social media to designing graphics.
“The mindset of NA helped cultivate this," Patrick said.
To learn more about Norfolk Academy alumni and programs the school provides its graduates, please visit the alumni webpage.