I met Seun Olubodun almost a year ago. At the time, his business was dependent on ‘trunk shows.’ Since he started Duke & Winston in 2009, Seun has spent countless hours at booths and tables all over the region selling his graphic t-shirts, sweatshirts, and accessories. I experienced it all for myself last summer as I tagged along with him on many occasions. It’s more grueling than glamorous, but it has allowed Seun to create a strong bond with his customers. It’s not just vending; it’s constant networking, an open suggestion box, a think tank, and more.

Images of the Duke & Winston Showroom that opened at 2nd and Fairmount in December

Consistently fighting a lack of resources, the company has managed to now expand into its own Showroom in Northern Liberties. The former living room is decked out with antique prints, furniture, and nic-nacs, all relating to the brand’s English roots. Through relationships with retailers, online shops, and now social commerce sites like Fab.com, there are many different outlets for the growing product line. Even with these opportunities, trunk shows remain an integral part of the brand’s operations.

Over the past months, I’ve been helping to prepare Duke & Winston for a whole slew of events this summer; street fairs, art festivals, concerts, sidewalk sales, celebrations. On these days, we’ll meet thousands of new fans, and reconnect with our loyal ones.

These trunk shows have been the focus of a majority of my work at Duke & Winston recently. There’s always phone calls to be made, messages to be sent, payments due, inventory and supplies needed, but Seun has shown how it pays off. I’ve seen him tackle obstacles and manage to find opportunities at crucial times. Now, these trunk shows are my opportunity to contribute to the rising company.