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April 2020 / Interviewed by Bianca

Entrepreneur and first-generation American Michael Cardenas manifested his childhood dreams of putting his artwork out into the world through adaptability and dedication. Stemming from a childhood passion of art and pride for his family's heritage, Michael created Lifestyle MX for Mexican Americans to represent their family's home state in Mexico. Michael’s happy but never satisfied attitude pushed him to rebrand his original business in an effort to grow larger than before.     

“So… it's the logo that I first created in 2016, I created our brand in 2016, it was Lifestyle MX. Lifestyle MX representing a lifestyle. MX being Mexico so we created this shirt, each shirt representing each state in Mexico. If you are from a certain part of Mexico, we had a shirt that represented that state. Our thing was to get everybody to wear and represent the state that their family comes from because most of all Mexican American’s parents came from Mexico. Whether it was years ago or decades ago, we all come from a background and all our shirts were to represent where our families come from and they can wear it to be proud. I'm first-generation here, my parents are from Mexico and we're very proud of our roots, obviously we're proud Americans but we're proud of where we come from, so we wanted to have something small that represents that state. 

“As a kid I was always kind of like an artist, I liked to draw and had ideas. I would always sketch. Always had a sketchbook, I would just sketch and my thing was what I draw, how can I make it come to reality and make it where people can see what my vision is. What's the best way to do it? I figured clothing, we all wear clothing and they can buy my merchandise and have my ideas on their shirts. 

“It's been four years that we switched to our brand, it’s now Team Mikey Garcia Shop. Mikey Garcia being a professional boxer, I met him through a mutual friend, he was a big fan of Lifestyle MX, he's also very proud of where his parents came from. We gave him a shirt and a hat and he liked the shirt so he asked if I can make a shirt for him. He already had merchandise but boxing merchandise is very flooded with the same styles, he saw something different in my style so he figured, hey I'll give you a chance, can you create something. He was already an established boxer, he already had fame and the fans so all I had to do was put my vision into a shirt and sell it online. 

“It became a hit, people started buying it and we kept making new designs. We have our website, we have all our social media, we created this together. He liked my design and he gave me the rights to use his name. Lifestyle MX, we had to let the name go. I'm a person that likes to go 120% into something, I don't want to dedicate into something and not give it all, so I said you know what, we're going to go with Team Mikey Garcia. Changed the name and the brand… 

“I'm just a very ambitious person, I can't come home and sit down and just watch TV. My thing is to provide for my family and make them proud, my kids and my wife, make them proud of me of everything that I've done and have achieved in these years. I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, I think my confidence I have is enough to do what I want to do and create something successful but the only thing that keeps me back is work, you're guaranteed Monday through Friday and rainy days you know stuff like that.

“…My goal is to be to be financially free and be able to provide, live a life that I didn't have when I was young. We had everything when we were young, but it was just the necessary stuff. I want to be able to live and enjoy life, be able to travel, explore new things and have things that I've always wanted. Buy things that I've always dreamed of when I was a kid.”

Narrator's oral history has been shared with their permission. Oral history has been lightly edited for length and clarity and to protect narrator's privacy. 

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