n today’s retail landscape, online storefronts and strong brand social followings reign supreme. One of the most exciting aspects about the rise of the online retail experience is that success is available to anyone with a real vision, knack for identifying trends, and strong ambition.
Never has there been a better time for mom-and-pop shops and small team brands to make it big. For some true underdog inspiration, look no further than Dime MTL, a Montreal based skate-streetwear giant. The story of how a group of teens came together to create a streetwear staple shows the power of community and niche markets.
The Dime legacy
The origin of Dime began in 2005, when teenagers Antoine Asselin, Phil Lavoie, Bob Lasalle, Hugo Balek, Charles Rivard, Eric Riedl and Alexis Lacroix began posting collections of silly (but impressive) skate videos to the backdrop of nostalgic 90s hip-hop beats. Within a few years, they had gained a small cult following in Canada and decided to make their first batch of 100 t-shirts at a local print shop under the original moniker, “Dimestore Crew.”
They put out their second batch of t-shirts soon after, this time with the shortened name “Dime.“ After gaining some traction with their online t-shirt sales, the crew reached out to friends in the skate community and tried to get their products onto the shelves of local skate shops. Once in brick-and-mortar stores, the “Dime” name solidified its place in the local Canadian skate scene.
The defining moment for Dime came in 2011, when they brought on Canadian blogger, retail guru, and photographer Vince Tsang. Originally sought out to help with some web design, Tsang quickly became a part of the team as the brand’s art director.
Dime had always been a collaborative effort between the crew’s many members, but Tsang helped the group fine-tune a unified style that gave the brand a distinct voice. By 2013, Dime had become a lifestyle. They evolved beyond a clothing brand, becoming true content creators and early online influencers. As their online buzz grew, they garnered recognition from streetwear tastemakers like Complex—experiencing a new level of success that they still maintain today.
From Skate Crew to Entrepreneurs
The brand boasts an impressive 213K followers on Instagram. They still post skate videos, but now they feature shots of athletes, musicians, and celebrities rocking their product. The brand has expanded from their original offerings, now producing hats, socks, pants, outerwear and even lavender-scented body soap.
In another effort to elevate the brand, Dime collaborates with established brands like DC Shoes and Vans. You can find the Canadian streetwear in skate shops and clothing retailers worldwide.
While Dime continues to crank out unique collabs and grow as legitimate designers, you can’t help but notice that their underlying success is beyond the clothing itself. Their customers don’t just want cool t-shirts, they want to be a part of the Dime experience. The simple print work and oversized shirts aren’t just cool by design; they are cool because of the crew who wears them. In wearing Dime, fans get to be a part of that crew and its community. In the end, that’s what Dime has always been about—making friends and having fun.
The Lesson in Dime
So, what can aspiring brands learn from Dime’s success? Staying authentic to your roots can truly turn your business into a lucrative brand.
While they’ve grown Dime into a full-time business, they still follow their original model of posting fun skating content and designing simple, yet hip skatewear. They aren’t 15 anymore, but they’re still just a group of skaters, having a blast with their friends.
That effortless vibe is one many brands try to emulate, but rarely land as authentically as Dime does. Their secret? Well, we think it’s that the creators of Dime don’t take themselves too seriously.
As the brand continues to gain traction outside of the skate world and build its fashion clout, there’s no doubt that Dime’s ride isn’t ending anytime soon. We look forward to seeing what they conquer next!