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Essence of an Entrepreneur — Dameion Royes

Dameion Royes transcends entrepreneurship.

Image by: Dameion Royes

“How do I change my destiny? How do I get my brain to convince my feet to move in another direction?”

These are the thoughts that would run through the mind of Dameion Royes as he sat in his car driving to the barbershop. He’d already grown tired of cutting hair by then, and knew instinctively that there was something else for him to do, something that would free all of the creative energy burning inside of him.

He was attending Humber College as he searched to quiet his mind, and would bounce ideas off the friends he knew who were already in business.

“Sometimes you don’t have the answer and have to search outside your community for it,” Royes admits. And this search lead him to discover an opportunity right within the boundaries of the institution he was attending.

But this curiosity wasn’t new. As a child growing up in Rexdale, Dameion’s mother always told him that he asked too many questions. On the flip side, the older heads from his community would encourage this curiosity. They recognized that by asking those questions, Royes was forming his own thoughts and opinions. And having the knowledge to formulate your own thoughts made it difficult to be curbed by the peer pressure that would sway so many of those around him.

This is what separated Dameion from his peers growing up. And when he petitioned Humber College to allow him and his business partner to sell products inside the campus bookstore, Dameion could feel that something special was happening.

“First the bookstore said no at least four or five times,” says Royes. “I was discouraged, but one of the professors helped us petition the college. He told them that school should do more than just provide us with an education to ensure our success.”

That was the push that got Dameion through the door and he’s never looked back since. It was “unprecedented” to have an individual still attending the school selling products in the bookstore, but that was just the beginning.

Big It Up was born on Humber’s Campus, and soon would spread to multiple locations inside the Eaton’s Centre, in Square One, and in the downtown core on Queen Street West. Dameion still remembers those early days, spraying cologne his team created on bookmarks to hand to customers as they left the store with bags filled with t-shirts, hats, and all the other products Big It Up sold out of that bookstore.

“Charisma,” he said to me. “You have to have charisma. Marketers say ‘on pain of death’ right? You create something, you have to sell it.”

Brimz

That confidence is what allowed Dameion to make his next bold move, which was split with the company he had helped build. For all of the success Big It Up was experiencing, the same curiosity that lead Dameion to find his destiny, the same drive that pushed him to make history at Humber College, was now steering him in another direction, separate from his partners.

Royes said the separation with his Big It Up partners was clean, and he was left with the Queen street location, which Dameion describes as a “dumping ground” where they sold everything at a discount.

“We did a lot, but then there are things that happen in life and you start wanting some more personal growth and that was at odds with my partners. So it was a hard break, but we did it. I got rid of the discount store and created a vibe. Created a spirit. [I wanted people] to be connected to that essence.”

That’s when Brimz was created; a deviation from his former brand. And this time around he’s made it appear seamless. There’s a finesse in which he moves around the store that transports you to the audience of a broadway play. Each of his interactions is an authentic performance, with every one of his customers a part of his grand production.

When I ask Dameion what is responsible for the success of his business, and how he’s managed to now lead two profitable companies, his answer is equally unexpected as it is intrinsically him.

“Creativity, imagination, and belief. These are the three things needed to run a business. I believe creativity is a currency. Even Bob Marley said ‘we are in the creative culture.’”

Royes then goes on to tell stories to back this claim, his first order at Brimz being with Athletes World. He smiles as he recounts working with a Greek tailor who couldn’t understand why they wanted to make their hats out of Terry cloth.

“He’s like what is this? Who’s going to buy anything that looks like this?”

In the end, production was so large that the taylor couldn’t keep up with the order, and Dameion is quick to give the credit to his team for allowing themselves to be pushed to try new things.

“If you believe in it, you find a way to get it done.”

As Dameion looks to the future, the opportunities are endless. A pop-up shop at Union Station from June 9th to August 31st, before a permanent location is established on those grounds in 2019. Brimz is also looking to expand to Miami by December, along with a plan to have Brimz caps in vending machines across the Emirates and in Canada.

Royes takes his understanding of people and of this world one step further.

“Why believe,” he says. “Just know. Belief is the onramp to knowing. Knowing is what transcends belief into reality.”

Indeed…

C.R.Y

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