The future is bright for student entrepreneur


by Melissa Artobello

You might see him on campus going to class or grabbing a bite to eat at San Diego State’s East Commons. However, business management freshman Matthew Weilbacher is no ordinary student. He is the owner and CEO of his own streetwear and accessory company, Cali Trend. Specializing in sunglasses, he has expanded his product line to include clothing and accessories. Cali Trend is going global and spreading fast.

Weilbacher’s interest in entrepreneurship began in his hometown of Westlake. As a high schooler, he would buy wholesale sunglasses and sell them to his peers. Last year in August, he made the decision to create his own company.

“The whole reason why I started my company was because I wanted to be my own boss and have my own rules. I also needed a job,” Weilbacher said.

Building a business from the ground up takes hard work, energy, heart and mind set, all of which Weilbacher has. He spent six months making his dream a reality and with no outside help. He taught himself everything from how to ship products, make deals with Chinese manufacturers and create his website

“It was just the thought of having my own website. Anyone in the world could purchase a pair if they’d like, which really intrigued me,” Weilbacher said.

Courtesy of Cali Trend

Cali Trend launched on Feb. 14, originally as a sunglass company. However, after receiving many requests for clothes, Weilbacher sought help from a graphic designer to come up with a summer clothing line. His style of shades and shirts focuses on California culture and lifestyle, but his products don’t only appeal to Californians. Cali Trend has shipped to more than 10 countries including England, Canada, Brazil, Israel and Germany.

Weilbacher ‘s company is also becoming popular in the skate scene. Cali Trend gained a lot of attention when they set up a booth for the three-day SoCal Summer Skate Expo this August. Tony Tave, who rides for Primitive and other large companies, asked for a sponsorship from Cali Trend. Skaters such as Nyjah Huston, gold medalist winner from the 2013 X Games; Manny Santiago from Street League Skateboarding; and Torrey Pudwill, owner of Grizzly Griptape, have worn Cali Trend shades.

After getting declined admission in March to his first choice, San Diego State, Weilbacher fully committed to California State University, Fullerton. However, in mid-May, he received a letter from SDSU accepting him based on his academic performance, which he accepted within 24 hours. Now, as a student, Weilbacher is majoring in business management and specializing in entrepreneurship. Only a month into the school year, Cali Trend is already making its mark on campus. Keep an eye out for Cali Trend shirts and sunglasses being worn on campus.

“I’m trying to get more people wearing them around campus,” Weilbacher said.

Courtesy of Cali TrendWeilbacher has big plans for Cali Trend. The company will soon be releasing a two-part fall line. Part one, which will be available this month, will contain four variations of shirts along with Rasta palm tree shirts and socks. Not only is Weilbacher planning seasonal lines, he also hopes that Cali Trend will be put in retail stores around California and the country. San Diego opens a new chapter for the new and thriving company.

“This is only the beginning,” Weilbacher said.