Note from the Editor: Phil
has been a World Family member from the
jump as he's known many of GeoClan's
founders since attending the high school
with them. Just like he's supported us,
we support him and wanted our readers
to learn about this young businessman
from Fern Rock! Made To Order was recently
named on MyFoxPhilly's Hotlist and with
continued hard work, more success is
sure to come. With that out of the way,
lets get to the interview.
(GC): What's your name, where you from
and where you trying to go?
Dupree (PD): My name is Phil Dupree,
I'm from Fern Rock, Philadelphia PA,
USA. I'm trying to get my name on some
product in your house.
Now I know you were big into the labels
when we were in high school but when
did you first get into fashion and thing
this is something you'd like to do full-time?
I definitely was all about labels in
high school, but back then, it was more
of a hobby. My formal training is in
finance, however, my business partner
and I would take shopping trips to New
York all the time, and we got tired of
all the egos and pretentious attitudes
that accompanied some of those expeditions.
We went from it being a hobby to concentrating
on opening our own boutique where people
could come in and just chill and shop.
It has become a full time love affair.
little of designer this and that is what
GC: Did you always (relative) know you
wanted to run your own thing? What were
some of the stepping stones to get where
you are at now?
I didn't want to own a boutique. It's
funny because people say, "You were
always into fashion, so it makes sense
that you own a store", but I never
wanted to do this.
consumers, we go into a store, check
the offering, and then make a purchase,
but not until I got behind the scenes
did I realize how much goes into that.
first, when we were in the planning stages,
we got a lot of assistance from local
store owners, such as sales reps contact
information, but the closer we got to
opening, the less that help was offered.
hardest thing was finding a location.
We actually had a spot, we had negotiated
numbers and we were going to meet the
owner for the first time, and she saw
us, and was like "The
place has been rented".
Mind you, 2 hours earlier on the phone,
we had pretty much wrapped up the deal.
Apparently, people still have a problem
with race. Go figure. For the record,
in the past year, she's had 3 different
business, so karma is real.
GC: Did your education have an impact
on your quest?
My education definitely has had an impact
on this journey, and I'm also able to
spot those who aren't so enlightened.
When you have formal business training,
you have a money first, everything else
second approach to things. If something
isn't logical, and it doesn't make money,
then, it probably doesn't make much sense.
However in this industry, people hit
you with all kind of ridiculous proposals
and ideas that are just plain simple.
GC: Tell us you motivation for starting
Made To Order how did it come to be and
what do you specialize in?
The motivation for Made To Order was
to create an entirely new shopping atmosphere
that isn't seen. When we would go shopping,
we noticed we were spending x amount
of dollars in some of these places and
they were just plain rude. Customer service
apparently went out the window at some
point in the last few years, and we didn't
dig it at all.
wanted the shop to be a hangout. A place
where you could come, talk sports, eat
your lunch, buy a t-shirt and play video
games. People don't have places to hang
anymore so they find themselves in places
they shouldn't be in, myself included.
So we wanted a "common mens" boutique.
specialize in limited edition clothing
and footwear from around the world.
People in Philadelphia don't just
wear white tees and Air Force Ones, so
we wanted to give people a one stop shop
for all their fashion needs. We have
you covered from socks to hats and
everything in between. EVERYTHING.
front door of the Northern Liberties
GC: What's the atmosphere when you walk
in the door?
When you walk through the doors of Made
To Order, you're always greeted with
the three s's(smile,scent,smell), and
more often than not, an invitation for "winners" on
whatever video game staff happens to
be engaged in. This week, it has been
Wii baseball. But more often than not,
it's a very welcoming atmosphere.
GC: What's been the response from the
men, ladies, people of color and the
The response has been nothing short of
amazing. We constantly hear people tell
us how easy it is to shop in Made. We
frequently hear horror stories of shopping
experiences at other local boutiques
and how we're so much different.
Men tend to love it. Women used to
complain that we didn't have more of
a selection, so we brought in more women's
and they loved us for it. Women's
stuff sells a bit faster so the "late" shoppers
still come in like, "I thought you
said you brought in more womens".
of color started out as our main clientele,
and they were very loyal, however, we
are proud to say that our customer base
knows no race boundaries. But no matter
what color they are, I think they are
GC: What kind of work does running your
own clothing store entail?
Running your own clothing store is a
full time job. Literally. See, most people
think you call up the brand, and say
hey, let me buy your product. But these
brands are so selective of where they
place their product. They want pics,
brand lists, location, and they basically
want to know how cool you and your staff
get past that hurdle and then you have
to deal with the shippers, customs, depending
on where your order is coming from, and
sales reps. On top of that, a lot of
brands we carry our international, so
it's nothing to get an email at 3:37am
from a brand asking how the product
is doing, or telling you an order just
shipped. And that's just to get product.
you get the product, you have to figure
out a way to sell it. You can't just
put it on a rack and expect people to
come. You have to promote everything.
The side people don't see is inventory
management, sales/profit reports, hiring
reliable interns/staff, insurance, rent,
keeping the store clean, and still trying
to stay ahead of the curve.
find myself just people watching in my
free time to see what ordinary people
are wearing. You never know where inspiration
will come from.
it to the rack
GC: What lines are getting the most buzz
The lines getting the most buzz as of
late are Crooks and Castles, In4mation,
Clae and Public School.
started out as a small brand only sold
in Japan, and made the jump to the American
market a few years back, and now, it's
on the likes of everyone from Jay-Z to
Carmelo Anthony. I was watching I Wanna Work
For Diddy, and they needed to
buy Puff a present, and where did one
of the assistants run to? The Crooks
and Castle flagship store.
is a hawaiian brand that has been
getting a lot of respect lately for their
colorful Casio G-shock collaborations,
which we do very well with.
is a footwear company that is slowly
developing a heavy following, and Public
School is the modern day luxury streetwear
for the elite. I'm talking $1000
leather jackets, hooded cardigans and
the softest tees I ever felt in my
life. It's dope. I think when people
check it out, they may be pleasantly
GC: Does the mantra location, location,
location ring true when your talking
about the location of your shop?
The location, location, location rule
actually has been proven a bit wrong.
When we came to the neighborhood, people
were like, "Northern what?",
or "Why there", and the infamous, "Where
is that???". But, if you work hard,
and provide people a reason to go to
a neighborhood that they don't usually
visit, they'll come, and we have been
very blessed and fortunate. However,
Northern Liberties now is going through
a transformation, so now it's like, "you
guys made a good choice", and "In
a couple years, you guys will be glad
you chose this spot". We were glad
the day we signed our lease.
photo from the clothes perspective
GC: Plans to do your own line(s)? Any
other plans you'd like to mention?
There are plans to do our own line. We
have actually designed some store tees
which have done really well, but we're
in the process of sourcing right now,
so that we can put out a full collection
for next spring. Right now, we do a tee
for holidays and for special events,
but I want us to be able to do some cut
and sew items.
and I also comprise two thirds of the
owners of Sneaker Auction which is a
live event we do where we, well, auction
off sneaks. We also provide a celebrity
dj and sell sneaks at prices well below
market value. We've had Prince Paul as
a dj, Bobbito Garcia aka Kool Bob Love,
and others to name a few. It's a dope
event and the next one is actually coming
up in September.
also working on a jewelry line, a scarf
line, and our own Made To Order candles
for the store, as my business partner
Justin just returned from Russia sewing
up some contacts there.
Why does it seem that George Washington
Carver High School of Engineering & Science
puts out that talent in artistic endeavors
and more than just Engineering & Science?
Carver just seemed to be the school version
of the Dream Team. When we all were there,
it just seemed like we were surrounded
by so many talented people that you HAD
to be good at something, just to fit
in. And it was a different time back
then. Education was stressed more back
then than it is now. We were very fortunate
to grow up in the times we did. My business
partner and I are both products of Carver.
We have an intern, Daniel Clymer, who
is currently a senior there, and he's
a creative kid. Something about that
school is magical.
Why do you think this 2008 presidential
election was so captivating?
This election was so captivating because
we are seeing what our parents and teachers
have been promising us for the last 20
years or so. They have always told us
that we can be whatever we wanted to
be, and to some extent, we believed them.
Despite what they said though, there
were many that never thought we'd see
a Black President. But as Don King would
think that Barack Obama is so eloquent
and refined, you HAVE to take notice
of him. Obama is the why Martin
and Malcolm gave their lives. He is why
the Panthers fed poor children in the
ghettos. He is why Harriet Tubman traveled
the Underground Railroad and why Ali
refused to enter the draft. He is the
reason why websites like GeoClan spread
their message. He is the hope we have
all carried. And if that isn't enough,
he's the man that will restore America
to its former glory. He is OUR president.
look inside the store from front to back
Why do we need positive change now (besides
to spend at your shop)?
We need change right now because this
country is at the brink of collapse.
We are fighting a war that is costing
us more than we have ever spent in history
on education in this country. People
are losing their homes, their pensions,
and even more, their lives. Families
are being destroyed by the state that
this country is in.
Express laid off 7000 people today. That's
7000 people who woke up employed, and
will go to sleep not knowing where their
next car note or mortgage payment will
come from. And some of those 7000 surely
have dependents. It's safe to say 10,000
people are lost right now.
reached $4.00. It costs more to fill
up your tank per month than your car
note. This can't be life. This is why
we need a change. Americans are hated
across the globe. We are seen as warmongers
and anti-Islamic. This is why we need
have held America hostage for the past
8 years. We have the biggest budget deficit
EVER, and we have a president in power
who cares more about oil and defense
contracts than a human life. A president
who proposed a bailout plan that provided
bonuses to Fortune 500 CEO's, while middle
class America received foreclosure notices,
and overdue credit card bills. This is
why we need a change.
to Order is on 817A North 2nd St. in
the Northern Liberties (North) section
of Philadelphia, PA. For
more info check out their website
by clicking here
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