Student Spotlight: Owen Morales, Entrepreneurship In Action


Destiny Matson, Social Media Editor


South El Monte High is full of creativity and innovative, motivated students. Our spotlight focuses on a senior full of dedication and integrity. Presenting us with the latest kicks and his own business endeavors, Owen Morales.


Why Sneakers?

 Out of everything students could be selling on campus, we find ourselves wondering, why sneakers? In order to maintain himself, he dove into the sneaker business. “I actually started selling chips, drinks, and candy at school, I also ran a taco stand with my mom.” It took a lot of trial and error, Owen began selling Funko Pops on the app OfferUp, and realized that sneakers sell for a higher price, and much faster. 


When trying to launch your own business, doubt is inevitable. Owen speaks on those who doubted his ability to succeed, “Once I explained my plan to my peers and family, I was met with a lot of doubt.” Those close to him thought this business endeavor surely wouldn’t go far, but he proves himself as a steady force in the sneaker industry. Goals are something Owen Morales dedicates himself to, “I’m trying to save for college, reinvest into the business, help my mother out financially, and buy a car this year.” He stays inspired by following up on stories about those who have found success. 


Setbacks, Stress, and School


Staying well rounded, Owen Morales runs his own sneaker business, balances school, and social life, family life, and even operates as an assistant manager at Sidewalk shoe store. Operating a busy life like this definitely comes with sacrifices, “I give up a lot of family time, hobbies, social time, after school activities, and even sleep. I’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish my dreams.” 


“I’m definitely stressed a lot. Im taking difficult classes, sometimes the workload is overwhelming. Considering the fact that I get out of work late, I have to sacrifice hours of my sleep so I can finish my homework.” The benefit of these sacrifices? Connections and business opportunities to say the least. When you’re in the business of selling merchandise, you can run into a variety of individuals who have a lot to offer, you can help each other. “Working at a sneaker store, you meet individuals who run charities, own successful business empires, those with wisdom, new customers, and people with special qualities or skills.” 


Setbacks are obstacles that every entrepreneur will face at some point in their career. In the sneaker world, the biggest challenge is dealing with fake sneakers. Receiving fake sneakers is basically useless, they can’t be sold. Owen Morales, having received fake sneakers in the past, refers to bogus kicks as “basically getting your money stolen.” You buy these sneakers for a couple hundred, expecting authenticity, only to find you are now out a couple hundred dollars and left with fake shoes. “Since it has happened to me in the past, I’ve gotten really good at authenticating the shoes I’ve received. I’ll go ahead and help out others if they need a second opinion on if their shoes are fake.” 


Just the act of selling sneakers in the hundreds is difficult. In high school, a lot of students still rely on their parents income or their fixed income from a minimum wage job. Owen discovered an innovative way to overcome this block in the road, “I ended up launching a sneaker raffle, customers would enter the raffle by buying a ticket from me worth about $20-40 each. This raffle would not only gain publicity, but also gave customers a chance to purchase sneakers at a fraction of the cost.” This allowed Owen to sell sneakers quicker and gain better profit margins after the raffle.


The Covid-19 Pandemic affected a lot of local and small businesses, Owen was not one of the lucky ones that would avoid the inevitable crash of our economy. “During sophomore year, I kept selling until the lockdown was mandated. After the mandated lockdown, I lost working at the taco stand, and my regular job with my uncle. I definitely felt the impact of losing two sources of income.”

Looking Forward


After high school, Owen has serious goals. “I plan on going to college, and of course, continuing my business. Within the few years after graduation, I want to open up my own sneaker shop. I plan to expand into other businesses and ultimately give back to my community. It’s a dream to help others and inspire individuals to chase the goals that seem so far-fetched.” 


Thus far, Owen Morales has sold hundreds of sneakers, with his customers ranging from all types of people. Returning customers have nothing but good things to say about him. “Business with me is easy, hassle free.” His customers include high school students, social media influencers, small business owners, among others. “I think a lot of my customers return back to buy more because I work hard to maintain credibility, I’m trustworthy, and I give back to those who support me.”


Entrepreneurship is full of risks, in this industry, you can’t be afraid. “Chase your dreams, take that risk you’ve been contemplating. You can’t be afraid to fail, failing is the only way you’ll be able to succeed. If you give up now, you’ll never know how great you could’ve been.” 


Owen leaves us with a powerful quote by Fredrick Douglas, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”