By: Helana Mulder | May 7, 2021
I’ve been doing some spring cleaning lately- going through clothes and junk that has accumulated over the past year. Among those items I’ve clarified as “junk,” I found a dusty black shirt with some red stitching embroidered into the chest. I held it up to the light, trying to remember what caused me to purchase this absurd piece of clothing. Then it hit me.
While the memory is kind of blurry, I remembered the small business craze that hit Redeemer in the fall of 2019. I had a more positive and lively outlook on life at that point, seeing that COVID was an unknown phrase and online learning was meant for the weird girl I lived with who homeschooled online.
This positive outlook stretched to all areas, including Redeemer small businesses that were run by a group of guys I didn’t know very well. For those that don’t know, D3kko was this clothing business that offered t-shirts and sweaters with either a unique figure or the business name embroidered into it. I remember being hesitant to buy a shirt. Why support another student when I can’t even afford most things myself?
It wasn’t until a coupon code offered me $3.00 off my order that I finally gave in and bought a shirt. I wore it a few times, and was even featured on the business Instagram page – my recent claim to fame. Things were looking great. D3kko was thriving as a small business. They had become more popular than those maroon Redeemer quarter zips or even Royals gear.
Then, all at once, everything stopped. D3kko was never heard from again. It was as if the clothing brand never existed. It wasn’t until I pulled out the t-shirt from the back of my closet that this memory came rushing back to me.
I recently sat down with the creators of the D3kko brand and members of Dorm 3 – Josiah Siebenga, Sawyer Berkelaar, Will Winklehorst, and Trevor Koch. I wanted to get all the dirt and tea that I could so I could better understand what exactly made this random clothing brand such a success.
This, is D3kko!
Q: Why the name D3kko?
A: D3kko means a quick look or glance, and that’s always what you get when you wear your D3kko items 😉 and the D3 was because we were living in dorm 3 at the time.
Q: What was your inspiration?
A: We just had fun graphic designing rudimentary designs we thought looked cool and then decided to throw them on some Gildan apparel. The rest is history! Our weekly D3kko meetings were a brainstorm fest trying to figure out ways to sell our silly brand name on a T-shirt, and it ended up working with a lot of people riding the D3kko bandwagon.
Q: What was the team dynamic/Who was the leader?
A: We all had very set roles, but Trevor definitely did the most to bring the company forward so I’d give that one to him. Will and Joe made all the shirts and looked after the distribution (which meant a lot of hours spent in the basement of D3). Sawyer looked after connecting with our customers and writing our blog.
Q: What went wrong?
A: Haha – lots of things went wrong. Some of us realized that manufacturing clothes in our basement instead of studying for exams was not a good idea. When we were making our articles of clothing in our dorm basement, we would make mistakes and then have to order a whole new shipment of clothing to put our designs on them. When these mistakes happened, it made me go off the rails. Especially when the machine just made a mistake and the article of clothing was unsavable.
Q: What has D3kko been up to in the past year?
A: D3kko has been up to absolutely nothing in the last year, we have dissolved the company and split on good terms because we got too busy and all the fame from running a successful clothing brand made it hard to go the market to get food without the paparazzi swarming us.
Q: If there was a documentary about D3kko, what would it be called?
A: It would be a Christmas special called “D3kk the halls” and it would explain our creative process and product line.
Q: How does it feel to make products that were more popular than Redeemer gear?
Knowing that we created a brand from absolutely nothing that was purchased more often than Redeemer gear was a pretty cool thing. It feels amazing. I’d love to see the numbers on that, like if we actually sold a lot more. The funny thing is, Redeemer’s stuff is legit Nike stuff, so it costs a lot whereas ours was just basic Gildan. But I think we sold it for similar amounts. Crazy profit margins for us. I still see people rocking their D3kko gear around campus and this little fire of pride wells up in my soul.
Q: What was the greatest moment in the D3kko saga?
A: My favourite time being with D3kko was when we did our Crewneck giveaway and we had hundreds of people sharing our post on their story. It was really cool, people I had never heard of were sharing the post, from all over Canada. Pretty wild that random people gave a crap about getting our silly crewneck
Q: Straight up – how much money did you make?
A: I think it was about a grand or two in total? So maybe $200 each? Nothing too crazy.
Q: If you could have any faculty or staff be a brand ambassador, who would it be?
A: Professor Sikkema – he could both talk about our products and then model them stunningly. The second option has to be President Graham for similar reasons.
Well there ya go. Now you have all the information you could ever have from these on campus celebs. I personally felt pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to talk with them – me being just a lowly fourth year member of Senate. What’s Senate compared to D3kko? Absolutely nothing.
If you’re interested in some of the raving (and not so raving) reviews from some customers, check below!
Anonymous first year:
Anonymous varsity athlete:
“D3kko should have been left as exclusive volleyball merch. We need to be set apart. I wouldn’t wear anything that wasn’t D3kko just to show everyone that I was special. I wish the exclusivity was still around. It was a great brand, though.”
Anonymous 3rd year:
“D3kko changed my life. I only wear D3kko – night and day. I own 36 pieces of D3kko attire. I can wear a new D3kko shirt to bed every night of every month. I even want my wedding dress to be made by D3kko. I would MARRY d3kko – any of them. I have D3kko tattooed on my right butt cheek. Wanna see?”
Anonymous Education student:
“Well I was already skeptical about buying something not Gucci, so I wasn’t surprised when I saw threads coming out of the stitching. I paid $15 for this? I demand a refund. There’s no way I could ever be caught wearing someone’s late night craft idea that came out of a Redeemer first-year guy’s basement. Ew.”
Anonymous fourth year female psychology major whose initials are O.B:
I never bought D3kko clothing because I heard they used an embroidery machine to embroider their clothes. I’m not interested in manufactured labour. I prefer the blood, sweat and tears of a true artist, which is why I exclusively buy my embroidered shirts from Jocelyn Boville (@penofjocelynboville)