Small business that went from a living room to a storefront

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- In 2014, Engineer Derrick Ramey Jr. started the “Dapperdude,” when he couldn’t find a bowtie in his price range. So, he did what he always did, engineered one himself. Now, the designer has his own storefront in the heart of Downtown Huntsville.

Since 2014, Ramey has expanded his business to much more than just his signature bowtie, “I’ve been doing lapel pins, pocket squares, and I also do styling for different events, weddings. If you need personal styling, I do that as well.”

Ramey has a passion for fashion and it shows. Stylists from Hollywood have come to him for styling pieces for their celebrity clients, from the red carpets of Hollywood to the streets of Huntsville. People can come into the store and pick up these one-of-a-kind signature pieces and learn how to style them.

“It’s been actually pretty awesome, people come in off the street, I can actually talk to people, do consultations right here in my actual office, so it’s been awesome,” Ramey said.

As a minority-owned business, Ramey knows the impact he could have on the community and when it comes to inspiring others. He is a husband and father of two so he starts with inspiring his kids.

“I always start there, am I being a good role model for them. Can I inspire them and teach them how to grow, how to navigate this world, I think that’s the first start in me being a role model for my actual community,” Ramey said.

He focuses his talents and knowledge on the young men in the community, “The young guys, how to dress, how to feel confident in what they’re wearing, so that’s usually what I focus on when I think about the community, just kind of giving the kids confidence.”

The pandemic made 2020 a difficult year and Ramey says with the support of small businesses in Downtown Huntsville he was able to remain open and grow.

But, the pandemic helped him think beyond the bowtie.

“Providing bags, providing sweatshirts, providing actual clothes that people can wear every day,” Ramey told News 19, “We’re not out doing as many events so I want to provide things that people can wear every day or on their zoom calls.”

If you can’t make it to the store, you can shop online here. The storefront at 101 Clinton Ave East, is open from 12 pm-4 pm Wednesday through Friday. Dapperdude is open for consultation appointments on Saturday and Sunday.

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