For this week’s edition of the “Big Facts” podcast, hosts Big Bank, DJ Scream, and Baby Jade sat down with brothers Dameon (Dollas) and Chris (Benji), the founders and owners of Southern streetwear brand Tulones Currency Collectors. The duo covered various topics, including their entrepreneurial journeys, amplifying their presence, and working with music artists.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 20 percent of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45 percent fail during the first five years, and a significant 65 percent fail during the first 10 years. The enterprising brothers explained how they were cautious not to become just another business statistic.
“Keeping a correct structure of a business” was key to their success, Dollas shared. “I mean, I feel like a lot of people get lax when they think something is working.” The entrepreneur warned, “Something could be working for you, but you could be doing it wrong. So, you have to just sit back and kind of structure yourself like, ‘Hey, How would Nike do it? How would Nike treat their employees? What is Nike going to do to get the next season out of me?’”
“Even if it’s Louis Vuitton,” he continued. “Louis Vuitton is coming out with fashion a whole year ahead of time. So, we might need to be at least six months [ahead] to be halfway where Louis Vuitton at or anything like that,” he added. “A lot of people just see s**t, and they don’t actually study or know what they need to do to make that correct structure. So, that’s what we did — made sure as a team, we had the correction structure to make sure our business grew and was fruitful.”
Dollas confirmed DJ Scream’s point that business owners are still actively competing with more experienced brands when venturing into any industry, adding, “You competing with the top players.” “When we get inboxes from smaller brands, I tell them all the time, ‘I’ll give you advice, but you have to understand you still have to look at me as competition,’” Dollas revealed. “This some s**t like Kobe [Bryant] and [Michael] Jordan. You got to understand that … I see what you’re doing … but you have to want to be better than me. If you don’t want to be better than me, then you just basically laying down.”
“You done [already] laid down to it. So, the advice we always give them is, ‘This is a business.’ So we laying that structure down pretty much every day and just building off of that,” Benji interjected. “Pretty much always based on business. We love what we do also, but when we put the business with it, it just [brought] us pretty much where we are today.”
As aforementioned, Dollas and Benji are blood brothers from Mobile, Alabama who are now based in Atlanta, Georgia. Together, they’ve established one of the most popular urban apparel brands in the South that has since expanded its reach globally following the brand’s creation in 2017. The siblings briefly shared plans to look at other business ventures, including vending machines and their Airbnb-styled properties, Tulones Maison. Both have been vocal about how the foundation they laid paved the way to a lucrative empire. During their interview, the expert entrepreneurs gave further insight into some principles that have allowed them to stay focused in an often uncertain industry.
“Handling business,” they said in unison. “We handling business. We men in all situations. So, it don’t matter what it applies to. You got to be a man, a gentleman, [and] all that applies to every standard in life,” Benji added. “So, it’s like, s**t, if he told me to be up at nine and you up at 10. You a f**k n**ga for disrespecting your brother — he ain’t your daddy,” Benji continued, pointing to his partner.
He drove his point home by stating they are not trying to be father figures, “We’re going to handle each other as men,” he explained. “The standard is set from the energy to the business, the work ethic and everything,” he added. “You can’t do one without the other,” Dollas went on to say. “We try to make sure, like, within us, we don’t contradict ourselves. If you can wake up and work out, you got to wake up and do your work. Even if you’re going to wake up and make yourself breakfast. You’re a grown a** man; handle your business.” He continued, “[Just] because we brothers and we friends, it’s not a lax environment. I’m on your a**.”
The duo also emphasized handling potential issues in the present rather than letting them fester, only to create a problem for the business later down the line. With their multiple avenues of income, Big Bank asked this week’s guests whether they had any thoughts about getting into the entertainment industry, citing that it’s usually a lane often taken after a certain level of success is achieved. Dollas revealed they’d been approached about managing and starting a record label. However, he explained, “The way that me and my team is set up and the understanding that we have, it’s just going to be hard for me to work with a younger artist with his team and his ego.” “It’s hard to see. Everybody was young and hardheaded, and we know how that go. You [artists] don’t be hearing that s**t … n**gas don’t be hearing that s**t,” he stated.
Dollas also expressed his frustrations with the youth’s perception of what a mogul looks and acts like. “They don’t understand what millionaires work like,” he continued. “They think them n**gas really be partying and s**t. They think we live a whole different lifestyle because they see you with a chain on and a nice car. They think that you just … like we going out, having drinks. Bro, I ain’t drinking. I go to the gym. I eat right Monday through Friday. Then on Friday night … I’m working to get to popping. Other than that, we locked in because we got s**t to do. I got bills to pay, people to pay. ”
Dollas may not want to manage younger artists, but it didn’t stop him from offering advice to aspiring acts looking to work with someone like him: “Stay away from that negative a** s**t. That s**t is social media, that s**t is blogs.” The businessman suggested that certain platforms online served only one purpose. “What it’s for is attention. I just wish that young n**gas wouldn’t take that s**t so personal,” he said. “It’s only the internet. I can’t be mad over a n**ga on the internet,” he added. “Get this money, man. Don’t let them people keep turning y’all against each other on the internet. It’s too easy. We all come from nothing.”
Like always, if you liked what you heard, be sure to stay tuned every week for new episodes of “Big Facts.” Also, don’t forget to watch the latest episode here.