This story was originally written for the Anchorage Press.
While most recent high school graduates are enjoying some time off before going to college, Deven Jackson has other plans.
The 17-year-old graduate of West High School may be the youngest mall tenant that the Dimond Center has ever had.
Jackson opened League, a “street-wear and urban” brand featuring high-end vintage clothing and designer shoes, on July 13.
Jackson tweeted about his success being the youngest mall tenant, garnering over 19,000 retweets on the original post.
“I stand not only for myself but for my friends I lost to gun violence and I pray that I shine a positive light in the community for youth after me!” reads the tweet.
Jackson has partnered up with John Daet from RAGE, a short-lived shoe store that was housed in The Mall at Sears.
“I’ve always wanted to be a business owner,” Jackson said. “League is something brand new for us.”
While it might seem like a lot for a 17-year-old, this isn’t Jackson’s first business.
His father, a pastor at the Missionary Baptist Church in Eagle River, got him a heat press one year for Christmas. Jackson started drawing logos and branding clothing items for the fun of it.
Rage City Company was the first brand that he and his friends came up with, which started in 2014. At first, it was just something he did for his friends, family and basketball community.
“I was posting [my designs] on Snapchat and stuff, and people were like, ‘Whoa, that’s so cool. Let me get one,’” Jackson said.
Jackson made a website for Rage City to highlight his designs; they sold out quick.
Rage City and League are two “very different things,” Jackson says. Rage City Company is more of an “Alaskan wildlife brand” while League is more versatile and appealing to a larger audience. He didn’t want to open Rage City as a storefront because it limited them.
“Being in a store is always better, especially when you’re trying to take care of home base, and that’s really my mission,” Jackson said.
Daet will be handing the day-to-day at the store while Jackson is at college.
Jackson heads out to college in a few weeks. He’ll be attending Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina on a basketball scholarship. He’s going to school to pursue a degree in business administration and a minor in economics.
“That’s what our goal is really for this business, self sufficiency, when it’s able to run itself and generate revenue for itself, that’s when I’ll feel satisfied,” Jackson said.
Jackson turns 18 in August.