Former student seeds his startup
Credit: Shawn Tron
Meghan Kraft and Daniel Phillips are the duo behind local business dpms, a lifestyle brand, which sells clothing and apothecary products.
Phillips' girlfriend, a Western University graduate, Meghan Kraft recounted the start of dpms — the twosome's startup business.
“He decided then he wanted [the background] on some tank tops and he couldn't find any in the city that he wanted,” said Kraft. “He went to the mall, printed a couple off and from that we sold 10, 20, 25 and then 50 at which point we thought maybe there's something more.”
Kraft and Phillips got a wholesale membership with American Apparel, entered festivals and became involved with student communities.
The response was astounding.
“We had a pop-up shop at the BizInc storefront around Christmas of 2012,” she said.
“We moved into some bigger festivals because we wanted to make [dpms] our summer job ... From there we got a lot of community support behind us.”
The couple has been together for three years and Kraft admitted there are some days they want to kill each other, they still complement each other very well.
Kraft's past experience with brands like Roots and Aritzia have come into play with the start of dpms.
“Dan is the graphic designer and is really good with social media and design as you can see in our products,” she said. “I take Dan's designs and turn them into fashion. We complement each other that way.”
dpms originally stood for Daniel Phillips Media Studios — Phillips' freelance gig — and it made a natural progression into the business they now operate.
Back in April, Kraft and Phillips entered BizInc's Seed Your Start- Up competition, where student entrepreneurs could pitch business proposals to a panel of judges — all local professionals — to make their business dreams a reality.
The prize was $7,000 in cash and services.
Kraft and Phillips took home the grand prize with their 12-minute presentation in the Dragons Den like setting. The prize will be put towards legal fees for the business.
“It was pretty cool because for us it's a pretty meaningful thing,” said Kraft. “It just shows that our customers really do care and are out supporting us in the community.”
Phillips couldn't believe it.
“We were against tech companies and this was our first rodeo,” he said. “We'd never done anything like that before, so going in and getting first place ... we were smiling so much our faces hurt.”
Currently, dpms holds a spot at the Western Fair Farmer's Market, which is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The lifestyle brand carries clothing and apothecary products by their friends at Hummingbird Homestead.
One big reason to support the duo is because of their business model.
“We're going to build our business by helping other small businesses grow their businesses,” explained Kraft.
“We introduced apothecary products, so we sell beer, soap, charcoal soap, soy-based candles all made here in London with as much local and organic ingredients as possible.”
Fans of dpms can keep up-to-date by liking the page at facebook.com/itsdpms, following the brand on Instagram at @dpms as well as checking the website at dpms.ca.