Tyser Hicks, a seventeen-year-old Running Start student from River Ridge High School, has taken on a lot more than just school (and adapting to the pandemic) in the past year. He’s also an entrepreneur, and his company Vylo (pronounced vee-low) is a fashion sunglass brand focused on elevating style through minimalism and environmental sustainability.
Tyser launched Vylo in October 2020 with the money he saved from doing summer yardwork projects in his community.
“I did a lot of research before starting, and it was a continuous process of failing, learning, and growing,” he said.
Working with a manufacturer in California, Tyser brought to life his vision for a limited sunglass collection “without the traditional boundaries of gendered accessories,” that you might expect. And it’s clear that Vylo’s minimalistic yet dramatic styles will appeal to just about everyone.
Vylo’s website and social media feature styles currently available and—of course—quotes and photos from a diverse group of happy customers. They also represent Tyser’s personal values of environmental sustainability, inclusion, anti-racism, and making space for emerging small businesses in the fashion industry.
His values and ambition are not only woven into his brand; those elements have played a part in the relationships he’s formed during his entrepreneurial journey.
“I have known Tyser since before he started Vylo,” said Kris Dunham, one of Tyser’s first yardwork customers. “He works tirelessly, and his focus and drive are impressive. I know he will be very successful,” she said.
Now beginning his senior year of high school and second year of Running Start, Tyser is working toward his high school diploma and Associate in Arts, and mapping out the next steps for his business.
One possible path forward would be to transfer to University of Washington in Seattle to study business marketing. Another path, if Vylo continues to expand, is to focus on growing the business and build more experience as an entrepreneur. Eventually, Tyser wants to start a second online fashion business that focuses on lessening the impacts of environmental pollution and land waste caused by the fashion industry.
No matter what the future holds, Tyser is ready to meet it with excitement, optimism, and a strong work ethic.
“I can’t wait for what’s to come in my senior year of high school and my final year of Running Start and I’m eager to keep moving forward with my business.”