Taking on a new task can be as terrifying as fighting a dastardly beast with four arms and four legs; however, the outcome outweighs the fear. No one knows this better than Anthony Toppino, a junior at Key West High School (KWHS). At first glance, Toppino may seem like an average teenager, but with a little bit of digging more is to be discovered.
Last year, Toppino decided to embark upon an adventure, not to the Amazon Rainforest, but into the world of business. Inspired by a TikTok, he came to the conclusion he would start his own business.
Toppino shared, “I had heard of kids being 16-17 starting their own business but it was usually a drop shipping thing or something weird. I thought I could make a business around Key West culture and one of my passions is spearfishing, a very niche community. I spent a few weeks building a game plan, making logos, trademarking designs, and LLCing my company to make it official.” Currently, he is the owner and founder of Rocked Up Reef LLC, a quite popular spearfishing-based apparel brand.
Toppino loves to see how much his business can grow. “… being well known in the community is being a decently large business to where I see my hats around town, like random people wearing them. Your social media followers will be getting into the tens of thousands, people will be tagging you in posts with your apparel on. You’ll see people genuinely enjoying your product, you’ll have multiple stores carrying your product on shelves. You’ll feel like you have a real, actual business instead of a hobby. That is the thing I most enjoy, just seeing my company grow.”
In just one year, Rocked Up Reef managed to grow all over Florida and even across the nation into California. Toppino explained, “My hats and shirts can be found in Neptonics Spearfishing Solutions Tampa, California, and neptonics.com; The Angling Company; Xhale Spearfishing; Sea Key West; Lost Reef Adventures, Finz Dive Center, Hurricane Hole, Cudjoe Sales, Cudjoe Gardens Marina, Spearfishing World; The Fly Shop of Miami; Scuba Quest Sarasota, Key Largo, Bradenton, and Orlando; Esky Rods; The Market Place; Shadow & Fish; and my website www.rockedupreefco.com.”
To all of the fellow young men and women, who dream of starting their own journeys in the world of business or whatever they chose to do, Toppino advised, “People should start on their dreams today because you’ll regret not starting earlier once you do start, you’ll always wish you started a week ago or a month ago. You’ll always wish you went through with an idea a year later because you’ll imagine how far you would have got, when I first started on my business I had always wished I started even earlier than I did.”
Tomorrow may be too late and the great ideas in the mind may fade away. So, begin today. Starting early won’t be regretted.