The “Detroit Vs Everybody” Brand – What’s Next?

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One of the hottest brands was launched right here in Detroit five years ago.  It succinctly captured Detroit’s attitude and seemed you couldn’t go anywhere around town and beyond without seeing the “Detroit Vs Everybody” brand. Well, it’s still around.  It continues to grow, expand and is going stronger than ever.
“Detroit Vs Everybody” was initially launched online in 2012 by Detroit native, founder and creator, Tommey Walker, Jr. (former Crain’s under 40 recipient) out of a small loft rented in the heart of downtown Detroit.  When he launched  “Detroit Vs Everybody”, it was never intended be just a Detroit brand, but a brand born out of Detroit.  The city was selected as the brand’s launch pad because Walker and his co-founder were natives and wanted a brand which represented the spirit and energy of the Motor City.  After opening its first retail outlet in Greektown in 2013, the brand is now sold in Eastern Market, Southfield, and Dearborn (at the Fairlane Town Center).  The success of the brand continues to lend itself to further retail expansion in 2017, with Walker anticipating opening new outlets in Madison Heights (Partridge Creek) and Sterling Heights (Lakeside Mall).

With the initial success of the “Detroit Vs Everybody” brand, I asked Walker to reflect on its first five years and share his vision for the future–in Detroit and beyond.

Lee:  How did you come up with the idea?

Walker:  I came up with the idea one summer day driving down Jefferson to my apartment. I had just gotten back home from a trip to California. It was around the time of the ending of the Kwame Kilpatrick scandal. Before I left for the trip, I was packing and watching the news and the story was the Kwame scandal. This was normal for Detroit at the time because that is literally ALL they ever discussed on the news. When I got to California safely and made it to my room, I turned on the TV and realized that this was headline news all over the country.

My mind then began to wonder and I started to think about how influential Detroit is as a city and how Detroit’s culture has contributed to society. A chip on my shoulder was created and I chose to use the medium that I was most comfortable with to be a change agent in the city. When I got home and experienced my hometown with my new perspective, “Detroit Vs Everybody” just popped in my head. I took the temperature of the city and that is what was missing. A battle call for all Detroiters, but also a feeling that all human beings must face, and that is being “vs everybody”.

Lee:  You’ve just celebrated 5 years.  What did you expect when you launched the brand and why has it been successful?  

Walker:  We just celebrated 5 years in business and yes, I thought that we had something special when we launched in 2012. Up to this point, I would have to say that the keys that has gotten us there are God and prayer, teamwork and trust.  I try to keep people around me that know more than me and we research together.  Just staying true to our vision and being able to adapt to any situation has contributed to our success.

Lee:  How has Detroit influenced your business?

Walker:  Detroit has influenced by business by giving me the inspiration and foundation to successfully build a brand. We are standing on the shoulders of all of Detroit. We are Detroit.
Lee:  You’re rebranding the “Detroit Vs Everybody” line.  How will it change?

Walker:  We are re-branding the DVE line by adding more premium, high quality goods. We are also experimenting with many graphic tees, hoodies and women cut garments.

Lee:  And now you’re announcing new news.  It’s no longer just “Detroit Vs Everybody”, but you now own the rights to “Vs Everybody” as part of an expansion strategy.  Can you talk about it and how will this affect the Detroit vs Everybody brand?

Walker:  Our next phase is “From Detroit to Everybody to “you Vs Everybody” and “Vs Everybody” is here to stay. All cities, countries, schools and professional sports teams will be included into the family in the next few months.

And this will not affect Detroit Vs Everybody at all. This brand was born out of Detroit and no city can ever take that away from us.

Lee:  Recently NFL running back, Marshawn Lynch wore a takeoff of Detroit Vs. Everybody with a political statement emblazoned across the front. What are your thoughts and did you have anything to do with it?

Walker:  Marshawn Lynch recently wore a “Everybody Vs Trump” shirt that was not sanctioned by us. An unaffiliated Oakland-based brand infringed on our intellectual property and Marshawn Lynch just wore the shirt. We are currently taking legal action against the brand and will keep you updated.

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