Ricky Patrick, Delaware Originals founder.//PHOTO BY LUIGI CIUFFETELLI
Delaware is a small state, but there’s a lot to be proud of. When Ricky Patrick noticed a lack of Delaware-themed apparel, he started Delaware Originals to fill the gap. Its founder talks inspiration and his love for the First State.
How did you get started in this industry?
I created the DelaDude character and the DEL. hat back in 2007 when I was living in Austin. DelaDude was a concept that I came up with because I wanted to create a humorous logo that represented the state of Delaware that played off of the whole “Dela-Where?” idea without actually having to say it. This is actually my second clothing company. My first company was a basketball-themed company called Leader Wear.
What were you doing before this? Is this your full-time gig?
I created my first company when I was fresh out of high school. I made Leader Wear when I was 19. A lot of the knowledge and everything I’ve learned has been self-taught. I’ve pretty much just learned on my own as I went along. I have a full-time job in corporate America, but Delaware Originals takes up a lot of time.
What was the first item you sold?
When I moved back to Delaware from Austin in 2011, I was wearing the DelaDude character and the DEL. hat and people were asking where they could get it, and I basically told them that I made it for myself, my friends and family and it wasn’t for sale. That’s when people really encouraged me to get it out there and put it up for sale.
What’s your best selling item now?
Right now, it’s the DEL. hat. It’s pretty much what we’re known for and what really put us on the map.
How many people are a part of the operation?
I’m pretty much a one-man army and always have been with my business ventures.
Why is Delaware pride important to you?
I think it’s not only important to me, I think it’s important to everybody. Delaware is such a small state and we have so many cool and unique things that are representative of our state, which is something we really try to focus on.
What has support from the community been like?
The support has been amazing since day one. We started out on Instagram and built up a pretty strong following. Then Young Guru, who is Jay Z’s right-hand man/DJ/producer originally from Wilmington, he reached out and said he needed a hat in every color. That really catapulted us to great brand awareness.
What are your future goals for Delaware Originals?
I definitely want to create a larger following and get a few more designs out there, but I feel like Delaware Originals is a brand that’s like a marathon; we’re really in it for the long run.