Meet Deron: Founder of Odd Kickz
Posted in News
Deron Doby is the founder of Odd Kickz, an online clothing restoration, resale, and customization business.
Ever since he was young, Doby has been passionate about fashion and design.
“I always had a fascination for clothes,” Doby said. “I always made sure I stood out. I can remember going to school with yellow and purple pants with a skateboard.”
Doby was in the inaugural class of the Georgetown Pivot Program and developed the idea for his business venture while studying entrepreneurship in the program. He pitched his idea for a sneaker customization business at the Pivot Pitch Competition in June 2019, where the panel of judges awarded him a third place prize of $1,000.
After graduating from the Pivot Program in 2019, Doby officially launched his business, expanding his product offerings from custom sneakers to custom shoes, jeans, and jean jackets.
“I wanted to provide something that’s never been seen before,” Doby said. “A lot of times, you walk outside and you see everybody with the same shoe. That’s why my business is called Odd Kickz, because odd means different.”
Doby is a self-taught artist. He hand paints and sews each one of his products himself.
“All my knowledge of the fashion realm, I taught myself,” Doby said. “I was on Google and YouTube just looking at videos of people sewing, finding what techniques worked for me. I was also reaching out to different artists who I found influential.”
People typically have a negative perception of formerly incarcerated individuals, Doby said. However, the Pivot Program gave him the opportunity to change his own narrative.
“People do make mistakes, but if you give people the tools to succeed, they can,” Doby said.
Doby credits Pivot for teaching him financial literacy and technical skills. Pivot also taught him the importance of setting realistic goals as a business owner.
“When you first start a business, you don’t really set realistic expectations,” Doby said. “You just know you want success. One of the things that always stays with me now, when I think about my business, is that it’s not a race, it’s a marathon. I think the overall thing a person needs to have when being an entrepreneur is patience.”
In the coming years, Doby hopes to expand his business and begin hiring employees.
“One year from now, I want to have a team and be like a restaurant, where I have somebody just tell me the orders, and I just get it done in the kitchen,” Doby said. “My overall goal in five years will be to open my first store.”
After opening his first store, Doby hopes to collaborate with up-and-coming artists from his community.
“I think the biggest, biggest, biggest, biggest lesson that Georgetown has taught me is be the student until you become a teacher,” Doby said.
“I just want to be able to give kids in my community a different type of hope and a different type of outlook,” Doby said. “What you wake up to every day is not your reality. You can change that reality.”
Doby hopes to use his experience from the Pivot Program to inspire people from similar backgrounds to not be afraid to pursue their true passions.
“I come from an urban environment where we’re only taught how to be drug dealers, how to be robbers, how to survive,” Doby said. “I was fortunate enough to be in a household where my mother prepared me for the world. I just want to be able to bridge the gap and tell the kids that you can be an artist. You can design shoes, design clothes. You can design whatever you put your mind to.”