BILLINGS — In Billings, there's a 17-year-old entrepreneur who has a goal to one day make a seven-figure income off of an idea that was sparked at the Billings Career Center.
"I just know you've got to work hard. You've got to work hard to succeed and be better than average. That's ultimately what I want to do. No matter the pressure or the hard work, I'm going to do it," said Caiden Dekievit, a senior student at Billings Career Center.
The website went live on Friday for Dekievit's new clothing brand: Don't Shy Away. The youngest of eight children, Dekievit is no stranger to hard work, and he hopes the clothes he designed will allow teens and 20-somethings to feel comfortable in their own skin.
"That's all I want to do is impact someone's life in a positive way. If they could just get that extra push. It's like, Don't Shy Away, that's a cool meaning. Or like Nike, just do it. That can motivate people at the basketball court or look at a thing like, 'I'm going to do this.' I think that little bit of motivation could go a long ways," Dekievit said.
Dekievit said his main motivation to start the brand came from his parents, who worked hard to raise Dekievit and his seven other siblings while saddled with medical bills from cancer treatment for one of his older brothers.
"I know my motivation comes from my parents. I know my parents aren't the most successful. They did so many great things for me. I love my parents and they are a big inspiration for me, but I know that I want to give my kids a way better life. I want to create that generational wealth and be an entrepreneur and that's what I'm trying to achieve here," Dekievit said.
The idea to start the brand came from a business class Dekievit took at the Billings Career Center called Jobs for Montana Graduates. Students in the Billings public schools can choose to go to the Career Center for a half or full day, building skills for future employment in fields like auto repair, welding, construction, media and business.
"It was to help launch a business for a prospects competition to help win $5,000. And I was like, oh this is perfect, and put two and two together. Mr. (Scott) Hanson is the teacher and he really helped and pushed me to create it, and I did good. He taught me how to do drop shipping," Dekievit said.
The nerve center of the operation is in Dekievit's bedroom - where he creates designs, puts them on clothing and uploads the designs to his website. Then when an order comes in, his drop-shipping company makes the product and ships it out to customers. Every month, he's donating five percent of his sales to rotating charities. The first one is St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
"Every other month after that, it's going to be a different charity reflecting on kids' battles. Next month, I'll put on my Don't Shy Away Instagram, a poll on which charities. Then they'll vote for that and there will be a final four and whoever wins, that will be the charity that gets donated to," Dekievit said.
When Dekievit graduates high school this year, he said hopes to work in construction while still building his brand on the side, with the brand hopefully becoming his main source of income. Dekievit said his first goal is to earn enough to buy equipment to start making the clothing in Billings himself.