Rachel Greenberg has known Dominic Doyle since elementary school. That’s almost as long as he’s been an entrepreneur, going into business with his cousin while still in the 5th grade.
“I told myself at a young age, ‘I’m not going to work for anybody, I’m only going to work for myself.’ And that was the inspiration, that pushed me. That gave me the motivation to start something early so that when I’m out of college there’s no fumbling around looking for a job, looking for a beginning,” said Doyle.
Greenberg recently interviewed her classmate for her podcast, Volta Insider. Doyle is known at school for his moves on the basketball court but few classmates know he designs t-shirts, shorts, sweatshirts and other apparel, during his free time.
“Their first reaction is ‘What? What are you talking about?’” said Doyle. “They’re surprised because they didn’t expect that…I’m just another high school student just trying to get to college and get a good education.”
Doyle and his cousin Luke Kennedy have loved skating and surfing since they were kids. They fed their habit by throwing yard sales to sell used basketball jerseys and old bicycles. Soon they decided to build a business using their growing interest in skate and surf style as inspiration.
In 2010, they created DK Skate which meshed the laid-back “California” lifestyle with edgy urban fashion. A couple years later they changed the name to DKS Apparel when they decided to expand the line of “threads” they offered and make them more than skate/surf centric. Doyle is the chief designer.
“I’ll be at my house just designing different clothes every single night, thinking of new designs, thinking of new fabrics that we could do, ways that we could manipulate the shirt in a way that it hasn’t been done before. And still stay fashion forward,” said Doyle.
Though Kennedy is now in college, the two are determined to keep the business growing. Doyle credits his parents with inspiring him to want to be his own boss.
“They’ve been supportive. The first time I brought the idea up, they loved it,” said Doyle. “They liked seeing me find something that I love and want to make that what I worked for.”
Doyle also wants to be successful so that he can continue to give back to the community, having already given away thousands of dollars to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Wounded Warrior Project, Children’s National Medical Center and others.
“I feel great givers are great getters. What I like to do is give back,” said Doyle. “Wounded Warriors, it inspires me because anybody who puts their life on the line, put their limbs on the line to protect us and keep this country strong, I want to do all I can because they risked their life for people that they don’t even know.”
DKS Apparel items are all made in the USA and can be found at www.dksapparel.com and skate shows around the D.C. – Virginia – Maryland area. Doyle believes his designs are made for everyone and currently there are no different sizes for men and women. He wants DKS Apparel to be fashionable and affordable.
“I don’t believe in making a $200 t-shirt because I want to make fashion. You know, we are high quality apparel, but I also want it to be affordable for people…I want it to be affordable while also maintaining the style and still setting those trends,” said Doyle.
The next step for this budding entrepreneur? One more year of high school – and to become a number one trendsetting fashion company.
“We want to be that company that is, ‘oh they just dropped a t-shirt – we have to get it, we have to get it,’” said Doyle. “The ultimate goal is to get to the top and be the ones who everyone follows off of. You know, we set the trend and then everyone starts saying ‘oh, we should do that, too.’ We just want to reach the highest point we can get, and keep growing off of that.”