Many of the high school seniors walking across the platform at graduation this week and next to get their diplomas still have plenty of questions.
Where will I go to college? Should I even go to college? What do I want to do for a career? What about getting a job and making some money right now?
Boca Ciega High School graduating senior Malachi McCloud has already addressed several of those big questions. He plans to attend the University of North Florida and major in business. But he already has more real-world business experience than many professors.
He had just finished 10th grade when he launched his own clothing line in the summer of 2021. He named his company Dolo Society, with this slogan: “Making noise without talking.”
McCloud tells people that the company name reflects his quiet but ambitious personality and sense of style, producing and distributing streetwear that promotes positive messages for others like him. Simply put, his clothes reflect the message that it is OK to be who you are.
He is quick to credit his older sister, Mysheia Hill, who encouraged him to start his own business and then gave him $400 to get it off the ground. After developing a business plan, he invested in a heat-press machine and started making T-shirts himself.
Sales took off a bit faster than he expected. McCloud estimated that he sold 60-75 units per week at first. Within a year he realized that he couldn’t keep up with the orders.
“I was printing most of them for about a year and a half,” he told one interviewer. “That really took a lot. It got to a point where it was really too much, so I started looking for manufacturers.”
Now he outsources that part of the business. His clothing comes from manufacturing plants in Dubai, Pakistan, and China.
Like many entrepreneurs of his generation, McCloud uses social media to get as much exposure as he can. He posts designs regularly to his Instagram account (@dolosoc) with more than 1,100 followers, and from there customers can order by sending an IG direct message or by clicking the link directly to his website.
Aside from selling to clothing aficionados around the country online, McCloud has managed to place some of his merchandise in a couple of local stores. That has given him the chance to see with his own eyes a reflection of his success.
“I’m speechless when I see people on the street wearing my clothes,” he said.
In less than two years he has sold more than 2,500 pieces, most of which he filled from his home office.
McCloud’s future plans include expanding his clothing line and branching out nationally. He has also mentioned a desire to give back by operating a store “for other entrepreneurs that are coming up just like me.”
McCloud has already made some headway in that regard. He participates in 5,000 Role Models, a mentoring program for young men. Through that initiative, he uses his leadership and entrepreneurial skills to have a positive impact on other young people.
With everything going on away from the Boca Ciega High campus, he has still managed to be a well-rounded student. He ran track and played golf for the Pirates. He and his classmates graduated May 16 at Tropicana Field.
For more information about Malachi McCloud’s business, visit dolosociety.com.