Phind out Phriday: Don Scott- The Man Behind The DNTN Brand
I used to say I was a nerd on the low. Then it was I was an undercover nerd. Well now it’s just a nerd, just a person always wanting to and super interested in learn something new. So my first question to Don Scott of DNTN was not the usual “Who are you in 5 words?” or “How did you start your business?”(Although it will read something like that in this interview). My first question was “What is street wear?” As to not sound totally lame, I told him I was “familiar” with the term, and I was. But that was about it. He laughed and effortlessly explained. He was clearly a street wear guru. Then he went on to further explain the evolution of his brand and how he’s maintained nothing but loyalty and love for his street wear brand, DNTN amidst being a husband, father, and friend for the past ten years here in Philadelphia.
Phreedum: Talk to me about Donation versus DNTN? DS: They are actually one in the same, with a few differences. Don-A-tion (pronounced Don-Nation) is the original name of my brand. I was always into art and when my grand mom looked at all of my work she called it Don-Nation. So I just made it one word, Don-A-tion and considered it a way of me putting my influence on the world. However, Donation was exclusive but a bit eclectic. There was never really a cohesive line. DNTN is me polishing Donation. DNTN is the evolutionary cohesive collection of street wear. Phreedum: Speaking of street wear, what exactly is street wear? DS: Street wear is exclusive customer based clothing that is driven by the culture of the designer, and created to tell the story of the culture from which it was born. Phreedum: Who is Don Scott in 5 words? DS: I’m ambitious, stubborn, arrogant, creative. But I think there is Don Scott the artist and then there is Don Scott the husband/dad/friend. So sometimes there are things I have to be when it comes to my business that I’m not when I’m with my wife and kids or my friends. Phreedum: What would you consider to be a highlight for you in your entrepreneurial journey? DS: DNTN has been around for 10 years now. While DNTN has evolved and has been worn by actors and musicians alike, I think the greatest success has been maintaining a loyal fan base. DNTN is still an exclusive brand with an exclusive following. We are loyal to this city and this city has been loyal to us. We are still 100% Philly. Phreedum: Ten years is definitely a good amount of time to be around. What has been one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in your ten years as an entrepreneur? DS: To be honest, I’m still learning daily. However, I would say what I have found to be extremely important is communicating with your target audience. I try to make my following more like a friendship. I want customers to know that the people behind the brand are like them. I would also say that I have learned there will be many distractions but you have to stay true to your vision for your brand. Own your ideas and energy and work to strengthen your abilities. Phreedum: How does DNTN change the lives of others? DS: I think my brand tells my story and I think I have a story a lot of people can relate to. I am the kid who grew up in West Philly, knows that life can be a bitch, but despite hardships there is something greater. You can create change for you and others that come after you. Whatever change you want to see, if you’re persistent something will come of it. Phreedum: You have two sons, what legacy would you like to leave for them? DS: I hope my sons learn that whatever they choose to do in life, just give it your all. I want them to know that they have a dad who gives it his all. They can find their way, learn their way, but I want them to go all the way. Phreedum: Okay, being the family man you are, how would your wife describe you in one word? DS: Passionate. Phreedum: How do you stay motivated? DS: I don’t settle. I am hard to please and I am a perfectionist. I want things my way so I keep trying. I’m also not as wealthy as I know I can be and even when I get there I am pretty sure I will keep going. I always want more. I guess I’m kinda greedy. Phreedum: Why Philadelphia? DS: It’s where I’m from and it’s what I know. Art and Philly are what I know. Plus, my wife and I started a family in Philly. I think if the opportunity comes, we would move, but DNTN is Philly born and bred. When you think Philly you should think DNTN. Phreedum: What do you think most people underestimate about being an entrepreneur? DS: The time and energy it takes to see the end result. Most people are impatient and want what they want now. You can’t really put a time limit on it. You have to be committed. I told myself “It’s all I am going to do and I will do it til’ it’s what I want.” People come in with a plan B, but there can’t be a plan B. That right there is doubt and there is no place for doubt as an entrepreneur. You have to stay focused and go for it. Phreedum: You mentioned before that the DNTN brand has been worn by both actors and musicians, if you had to choose a music artist to be the face of the DNTN brand who would it be and why? DS: I can’t say there is an existing artist I would want because I feel like they are already representing someone else and I want someone who would be exclusively DNTN. I can say I would want someone who is articulate, educated, stylish, comes from the street but knows how to mesh with the social elite. I would love for it to be a new artist.