Photographed by Emeer Virdee
Let’s Talk Business: Student Starts Fashion Company
October 17, 2017
Some fashion apparel companies start in the midst of a bustling, economically stimulating environment. Aéropostale, 1973, New York City.
Others humbly originate from the rusted familiarity of a sedan’s trunk. Nike, 1964, Eugene, Ore.
Arman Virdee, senior, decided to take a slightly different path. He created his fashion apparel company Maestro in October 2016 in the comfort of his own home while sick with the flu.
The idea stemmed from his Instagram account, armandinho10_football, where more than 130,000 followers look forward to Virdee’s photographs of soccer boots and apparel reviews.
“My huge following on Instagram due to my soccer product photography and reviews led me to become even more engrossed in soccer culture,” Virdee said. “My love for streetwear fashion then prompted me to want to create my own designs, clothing and much more.”
Much of his inspiration for the company originated from a desire to create something new, a process that took some time. The first step: quality manufacturing.
“For me, perfection in my product is key, and if it is not perfect, I will push back launches until it is,” Virdee said. “Pride in work. I can proudly say that all of my products are made 100 percent here in the United States.”
The company’s name is an expression of self identity, one which Virdee cherishes through a demonstrated passion for soccer.
“Maestro comes from a soccer culture word, ‘Midfield Maestro,’ and when I played soccer, I always occupied that central midfield position,” Virdee said. “On the logo, the ‘A’ and ‘O’ are highlighted in gold and that is because the “A” represents Arman, me, and the ‘O’ is actually a sideways 10, my favorite number as a player.”
The company’s growth skyrocketed during the 2017 class elections, when Virdee successfully ran for Senior Class President. Classmates displayed support for his campaign through purchase of his Collection I shirts, he said.
“The biggest spike in growth has without a doubt been this year for the release of Collection II,” Virdee said. “Everyday, you will see at least one student or even teacher wearing a Maestro shirt, and that is because we sold out in less than a week.”
Blake Johnson, language arts teacher, owns a Maestro long-sleeve T-shirt. Johnson bought the shirt after having Virdee in class, he said.
“It’s very impressive to see what he’s done so far,” Johnson said. “He’s a great kid on the soccer field and in class.”
Pritpal Virdee, Arman’s father, has witnessed Maestro’s growth from its inception. Along with growth in the company itself, Pritpal sees growth in Arman’s entrepreneurial abilities, he said.
“Arman listens to the marketplace, he watches, he observes,” Virdee said. “I gave him the money to start the company, but he had to get a return on that investment, which he did. He did well with his first launch, but in the second launch, he completely sold out. Now the business is self-funded.”
Leeza Kabbendjian, senior, recently purchased Virdee’s white long-sleeve Collection II shirt. The style mimicked that of high quality brands, she said.
“In general, the products have a very urban and modern feel,” Kabbendjian said. “I think it’s admirable that he’s bringing that into a suburban setting.”
She sees Maestro expanding its services in the future.
“Arman takes the time to look into trends and people like his approach to the products,” Kabbendjian said. “I think he will be diversifying his business because he really does have an eye for people and what they want.”
Grihith Varaday, sophomore, is one of many students who approached Virdee after seeing friends and classmates sporting Maestro shirts around the halls. Though they share a Precalculus class, Varaday remained oblivious to Virdee’s success before purchasing a shirt himself, he said.
“A lot of upperclassmen, a lot of my friends, own the shirt,” Varaday said. “It looked nice, so I decided to get one as well. As soon as I got it, I knew it was very good quality, versatile and authentic.”
As parliamentarian of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club, Varaday sees Virdee as an inspiration to the masses.
“Arman’s company really gives voice to the young entrepreneur,” Varaday said. “His business is motivating me to start my own business in high school. It’s a great example not only for me, but for other high schoolers too.”