Proud Locals & Visitors Will Fall Head Over Heels for this Brand New Clothing Line
October 20, 2020
Last summer, when Travis Nichols purchased his new boat, he told his friend Bryan Sears that it would be fun to try and create a logo that goes along with the name he came up with for the vessel: Del Made. As long-time locals of The First State, Nichols and Sears wanted to honor where they came from, and the brand “Del Made,” was born.
“It’s just an idea we came up with in his garage; we decided to create a logo put on a shirt,” said Sears. “And then before you know it, we had people that thought, ‘wow we want that, I want that’ and it just took off like a wildfire.” Travis designed the logo himself, and continues to change and evolve it to this day to offer customers a wide variety of styles for their apparel and keep up with new trends.
Travis Nichols & Bryan Sears, founders of Del Made. Photo provided with permission from Del Made.
After the two best friends realized the potential in creating a brand for those who not only enjoy the outdoors, but are also proud to be locals or visitors of Delaware, they decided to take the next steps to really get started. They created a Shopify store, and began sorting out the details such as what type of material to use and what type of market to target.
Del Made is proud to Team with C. Richards Leather for their leather patch hats. Patch is made of American Bison Leather and they look amazing. Photo provided with permission from Delmade.
Currently Nichols and Sears are taking the profits from their online store and pushing it all right back into the business for expansion. Since launching on February 1, 2020, the brand has expanded to include not only shirts, but also hats, beanies, koozies, sweatshirts, and more! They have even begun to sell their clothes in children and youth sizes, so the whole family can be dressed head-to-toe in Del Made.
They currently market an SPF 50 neck buff, but this mask was not made for protecting yourself against Covid-19. All of their products are made with quality material meant to last a long time. Luckily, the business was not stalled one bit when the pandemic hit, and Nichols and Sears have continued to push for their apparel to be sold in local shops and restaurants. You can check out their stuff at DelMade.com or M₂ in Downtown Rehoboth.
Del Made also provides drinking coasters for the bar at a local restaurant, Plate and Palette in Downtown Millsboro. Sears says in Delaware, “it’s a help-each-other type of atmosphere here, and that’s what we wanted to create with Del Made.” Sears and Nichols value the authenticity of being a truly local company, and want that to be the driving force behind their business.
Del Made Leather Patch Pom Beanies. Available in burgundy and camel for $28.00. Photo provided with permission by Del Made.
The two CEO’s chose to work with a manufacturer and printer right in Delaware, called Sussex Screen Printing. The bulk of their advertising is social media based, with the boys planning giveaways, announcing sales, and sharing photos of their customers having a great time wearing their gear. Due to Nichols passion for fishing, at first the brand was meant to target just the outdoor market, but quickly expanded as time went on.
“We thought well, maybe not everybody is into fishing but if there’s someone that is proud to be from Delaware or just enjoy memories of being at Delaware, they could enjoy our products,” said Sears. “Not everybody’s made here, and that’s with a misconception is. Sometimes people hear ‘Del Made’ and say ‘well I’m from Maryland I shouldn’t wear this.’ In my mind the person you were in Maryland before you moved here is probably different than how you act now. Delaware brings out the best in you and makes you more relaxed. It really does bring out a sense of hope and that’s what we want to do with Del Made.”
Del Made has an entire line of Fishing Gear available on delmade.com. Photo provided with permission by Del Made.
The Del Made brand isn’t just for those who are born and raised in Delaware. It is also for those who’s lifestyles and attitudes have been shaped by the Delaware community and atmosphere. Their apparel can be a great gift for a Delaware lover in your life, or just be a great looking, quality shirt that can remind you of the great times you’ve had every time you put it on.
Currently, Nichols and Sears run the entire Del Made operation themselves. They both have full time jobs outside of Del Made, but hope that they can continue to enjoy their side business for as long as possible. “We are just pretty much two best friends making memories, man. That’s what we told ourselves we were going to do and that’s what we’re continuing to do,” said Sears. “We don’t know where it’s going to take us but at the end of the day, we know we’re making it right and we know that we’re giving the best customer service and that’s all you can do in this market.”
Bryan & Travis, CEO's of Del Made, in front of their brand new Merch Wagon made by Hubbard Graphics. Photo provided with permission by Del Made.
The Delaware area is growing rapidly, and being a no tax state, many people flock to move here from neighboring states along the East Coast. Sears says he calls the Delaware area his “best kept secret,” but wants people who aren’t familiar with Delaware to learn more and visit as well. He says client feedback is key in this market, and they are always open to hearing from their customers.
“We want to be everyone’s local apparel company. We want to be your local apparel company. We want to keep coming out with good stuff. And you want people to want to wear your gear. You want people to always want more,” said Sears. “We love working with people, we love hearing feedback. We cannot get better without our regular customers and different feedback so we just really appreciate everything that everyone’s been doing for us. It’s been a great year so far.”
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