Toronto

Youngest vendor at One Of A Kind show turns her doodles into fashion

When it comes to both her age and her merchandise, Leeloo Monleon isn't your average vendor at the winter 2019 One Of A Kind trade show.

Scribbled designs of Raptors, Maple Leafs have been shipped on t-shirts worldwide

Leeloo Monleon, 11, is the founder of Leeloodles, a Toronto-based company that takes her drawings and puts them onto shirts. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)

When it comes to both her age and her merchandise, Leeloo Monleon isn't your average entrepreneur. 

Leeloodles, established almost four years ago, sells clothing featuring the artist's Toronto-inspired designs. 

At 11, she is the youngest vendor at the winter 2019 One Of A Kind trade show. 

 

"People want to support me and I'm really happy about that," Leeloo told CBC Toronto Thursday. 

Her shirts feature her own doodles, some of which include the Toronto Raptors, Maple Leafs and Blue Jays. They go for $35 each.

Those designs have garnered interest worldwide, specifically in Asia. 

"Our t-shirts have travelled everywhere," she said. 

Around 20,000 shirts sold 

The business is a family affair; her sister, mom and dad are all involved, helping support Leeloo and her blossoming career. 

"She picked up a pencil at a very young age," said Diana Tran, Leeloo's mother — or "momager." 

Diana Tran is Leeloo's mother and the 'momager' of Leeloodles. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)
 

Since then, Tran said, she has hoarded everything her daughter has drawn "since she learned how to scribble." 

What started almost four years ago as a one-off t-shirt design for a family member turned into a full-fledged business. 

Ryne Monleon, Leeloo's father, has several jobs, he says. One of them is helping run Leeloodles. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

"Her reach has spoken in art form and it's not just me being an honest mom," Tran said.  

Now, Leeloo divides her time between school and her business, which she says she hopes to run for a long time. 

Many of Leeloo's shirts feature Toronto sports teams, including the Raptors, Blue Jays and Maple Leafs. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)

Although she has been asked to participate in the One Of A Kind trade show for several years, this is Leeloo's first appearance, which she says has been "very fun, but very tiring" so far. 

They are selling over 30 designs, some of which were created by Leeloo's younger sister Daenerys Monleon. 

Daenerys Monleon is one of Leeloo's younger sisters. She helps create some of the designs. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)
 

If she had to guess, Tran says Leeloodles has sold around 20,000 shirts to date. 

"It's a little overwhelming, but people keep asking for them so I guess we'll keep producing if the demand keeps up," Tran said. 

Pictured here is one of Leeloo's Toronto Raptors T-shirts. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 

While most of the money goes toward Leeloo and her two sisters' futures, a portion goes to local causes such as LGBT Youthline, VIBE Arts and the Toronto Zoo.

"It's important to me to give to charity," Leeloo said. "I want to help causes and I think I can make a change." 

Leeloominai Tronleon's clothing store, Leeloodles at the 2019 One of a Kind trade show at the Enercare Centre. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 

Leeloodles is among dozens of Canadian vendors at the winter trade show, which started Nov. 21 and runs until Dec. 1. 

Check out some of the other artists and their designs at this year's show. 

Robert Henderson, left, and staff member of Henderson Farms. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 
A customer shops at one of the trade show's jewelry venues. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 
Artwork featured at MTL Decor. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 
Pictured here is Jerry Jaber, artisan of MTL Decor. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 
Pictured here is a staff member of Mackenzie Jones Designs Inc. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 
Jewelry at Mackenzie Jones Designs Inc. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 
An aisle of vendors at the trade show. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 
The Christmas tree at the 2019 winter trade show. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 
Pursuits, a vendor at the 2019 One Of A Kind festival. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 
A customer at The Scented Market. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 
A customer trying on hats and scarves at Sanibel Hats & Accessories. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 
Tropical Ice Berg Glass at the trade show's Christmas tree. (Michael Wilson/CBC)
 

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