Every brand has its own distinct story. And every story has its own set of challenges to overcome. Some brands make it to your closets, others go unnoticed. The latter was not the case for DBTK (Don’t Blame the Kids Apparel Co.).
Six years ago, Vince and Emil Javier, two brothers who spent their time playing online games, launched a passion project devoted to their love of streetwear.
The founders of DBTK sat down with To be You to discuss their latest collection and how they turned a little-known local label into a hot lifestyle and clothing brand—with 75,000 followers on Instagram.
How did you come up with the name? Emil: The name started when we saw an interview of (rapper) Lil Wayne on YouTube where he talked about his success. At one point, we were struck by what he said: “You shouldn’t blame the kids.”
It had a different meaning to us since we both experienced struggles in our past.
Since then, we have used the phrase “Don’t Blame The Kids” as our brand name. Eventually, our customers gave us the acronym DBTK.
Vince: When we started DBTK, we didn’t have any connections at all. We actually started as a shoe business and, when we wanted to move forward, the shoe business became our foundation. It was the source of investment that we used for DBTK.
What were the challenges you encountered? Vince: DBTK didn’t have any identity. Yes, we had already established a name, but we were also constantly asking ourselves, “Who are we?” If people saw our products, would they be able to identify them as DBTK?
Emil: Coming up with designs was another challenge. After your first collection, you immediately ask yourself, “What’s my next move?”
There’s a phrase Vince and I hold on to: “Waves don’t stop.” That has helped us progress slowly but surely.
Even if this is our sixth year, we still face a lot of challenges. The longer your business stays in the market, the more you encounter problems and responsibilities.
Through it all, we constantly strive to maintain our standards in every collection we release.
It also all goes back to asking yourself the question, “Are you really happy with what you are doing?”
Tell us about your latest collaboration. Vince: DBTK x LYNYRD started when I first saw (painter) Lynyrd Paras on Instagram.
His artworks were different. From the colors and the designs, they were nothing I’ve ever seen before. He has his own techniques that are distinct. And instantly, we became fans of his works. So, last February, we started to conceptualize together.
Emil: When we started, no one helped us. But after six years, we now have at least a small voice. With that, we are using whatever influence we have to help others who are probably in the same situation that we were in six years ago.
Your advice to people who have big dreams like you did?
Vince: You have to love what you do. And appreciate every moment. Even those as simple as selling your first shirt.
Emil: When we sold our first shirt, we took a picture with the customer. And what we understood from that moment, was that after six years, the level of happiness that we had then is the same today. You really have to humble yourself.
Vince: Be ready for the challenges that you will face. It’s common to have haters nowadays, but don’t let them affect you. At the same time, don’t hate as well. Just focus.
Emil: And again, it will start with you. The love that you give yourself with will be noticed by your followers. And it will all fall into place.
Visit dbtkco.com; follow @dontblamethekids on Instagram and @dbtkco on Twitter.