How Two Marist Students Started a Clothing Brand Out of Nothing
Just over a year ago, fifth year senior Mike Dedvukaj and Kyle Dizon ‘21 were just teammates on the lacrosse team. Today, they are partners in a streetwear clothing brand with aspirations to land on the shelves of retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Pacsun.
“We would always say Everland for like no reason, just messing around,” said Dedvukaj. It started one day in the library, when Dizon approached Dedvukaj and asked him if they wanted to work together on a brand called Everland. From there, they started “cheffing up some designs” and getting the ball rolling on making a logo.
Originally, they were only going to make some sweatshirts for the lacrosse team, but the word spread around campus and Dedvukaj’s phone blew up with requests for merch. The boys originally bought their clothes in small amounts, but quickly sold out and ever since it has been a large-scale operation.
The inspiration for the name came from a classic Disney cartoon. “We kinda just cut off the N in Neverland from Peter Pan,” said Dedvukaj. “We don’t discriminate, it’s all about positive vibes,” he added.
Today, Dedvukaj works on the marketing and funding while Dizon works on design. They are always looking to stay ahead of the curve and “find the next trend” in streetwear.
It hasn’t all been easy for them though. “I had no idea how to run a clothing company,” Dedvukaj said. “Originally, people were getting Gildan t-shirts with the Everland logo on it.” “We’re learning as we go along,” and now they are breaking into the mainstream.
In the future, Dedvukaj said “I would love to continue this and not have a real job after college.” In order to fulfill that dream, Everland is trying to build their brand as much as possible. They are doing this through Facebook ads and Instagram sponsorships. All of their branding is done online and through social media. They are working on hiring some additional designers to make everything run more smoothly.
The long-term plan is to have Everland clothing in retailers like Pacsun and Urban Outfitters, while also maintaining their own, more limited edition styles separately. In February, they will head out to Las Vegas for a trade show in order to make connections with the people that can make their hopes a reality.
With notable names such as United States Soccer starting goalkeeper Zac Steffen and NCAA Basketball Tournament winner Ty Jerome donning their clothing in only a little over a year of business, the future is bright for Everland.
Looking back, it has been a whirlwind for Dedvukaj, “I have no idea how this stuff started,” but here he is, at the forefront of a startup clothing company that is already making waves in the industry.
You can find Everland on Instagram @everlandbrand.