31 Days of SMA: Being an Entrepreneur Makes Me Feel Seen
Day 1 of 31
This is Alvaro Cheherlian’s (@_hotwheelz) story:
Being an entrepreneur is hard. Being an entrepreneur with SMA adds challenges that make it even harder, but I didn’t let that stop me. My name is Alvaro Cheherlian, I have type 2 SMA, and I’m the CEO and founder of the clothing brand WREKT SVPPLY.
I started as a graphic designer. I was always into T-shirts, and wanted to create my own designs and put them on T-shirts. I had all the designing and social media stuff down, but needed someone to do all the physical and heavy lifting stuff for me.
Starting a clothing brand is so much more than just sitting in front of a computer and posting stuff on social media. I would have to go to stores and check out what blank tees I wanted to use, then drop off all those boxes full of tees to a screen printing shop.
When everything’s ready, you have to pick them up from the shop. Once at home, you have to fold all the shirts and organize everything properly by size and design. Knowing I had to do all that was very discouraging, but it was a dream of mine, and I wasn’t going to let my disability stop me.
I couldn’t have started or run my business without my parents. They do the physical and heavy lifting stuff for me. When you’re surrounded by so much love and people who believe in you, you’re going to get all the help you need without even asking for it.
I always was into skateboarding and other adrenaline-fueled activities — activities I wanted to do growing up, but couldn’t. Seeing people wear my brand while doing what they did best felt like I was doing it with them. I felt involved; I felt seen.
Building a brand from the ground up wasn’t easy. There were times I wanted to give up, and times I ran out of money. But I never gave up.
As individuals with SMA, we might not be physically strong, but we’re definitely mentally strong. And we can be seen.
SMA News Today’s 31 Days of SMA campaign will publish one story per day for SMA Awareness Month in August. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofSMA, or read the full series.