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Meet Davin Gentry of Diet Starts Monday in The Arts District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Davin Gentry.

Davin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m from Madisonville, KY. I grew up playing basketball, skating, drawing, and trying to stay out of trouble. I’ve had multiple brands that have been stepping stones getting me to Diet Starts Monday. I started by hand-painting clothing in college. I studied Advertising and Graphic Design at Western KY University. I was a full-time painter and graphic designer for about six years. In 2011, I then launched a jewelry line (Premium Co.) with Tyler Hundley who at the time, we’d never met, only spoken a few times through social media. We were in business together for a year before we finally met in Vegas for a tradeshow.

Premium Co. started with gemstone bracelets and eventually worked our way up to custom molded pendants with 14kt gold and diamond options. After a few years of jewelry, I wanted to get somewhat back into fashion so we started incorporating essential clothing styles piece by piece to see how our audience would react. We focused heavily on fabric, fit and price-point and the support was overwhelming. It was really right before the peak of the basics movement and we sat in the middle of the market price-wise. We started exhibiting at tradeshows and selling to some of the top retailers worldwide and generated a lot of energy around the brand.

Fast forward to 2016, my friend John Geiger and I began discussing creating another line. We initially weren’t sure if I would play a silent creative role since I had Premium Co. or if I would also be a face of this brand. Although a lot of people knew me for Premium Co. there was still mystique behind me the designer because at that time, I didn’t have a personal Instagram. Premium Co’s IG was me, but I wasn’t branding Davin Gentry. We decided that I would join John as kind of co face of the new brand.

We instantly landed on the name Diet Starts Monday because it was just a phrase that John and I constantly shared back and forth while traveling and eating terribly. We put together the first collection and launched with a private showing at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas during Agenda/Liberty tradeshows. Simultaneously, Premium was exhibiting at Liberty down the street. I would meet with buyers at Liberty and then run back to the Cosmo to meet with buyers for Diet. It was hectic but a great turnout.

Flashing back to Fall 2016, Premium was going through a transition stage but in hindsight, I was going through a transition as a designer. I had been designing essential clothing items for five years and was starting to want more. Although basics will always be a huge market, we did feel like the wave was starting to slope and graphics were slowly trending up. So I started incorporating more graphics into the clothing. Once we launched Diet, a graphic-heavy brand, it became very difficult to separate designing for the two brands. I ended up putting Premium on the back burner and putting everything into Diet. We often get asked when we’ll bring Premium back. The way I always respond is, think about having two pitchers you need to fill with water and only one sink. You can put a little water in each pitcher until both are full or you can fill one fully at a faster pace. Right now, we’re filling Diet’s pitcher which leads us to today.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not at all. We’ve had tons of struggles. Early on, there were issues with figuring out how to offer quality jewelry at an affordable price. Trying different types of plating and coating was hit or miss. Eventually, we were able to offer a coating that satisfied a lower price point as well as offering 14kt, etc. With clothing there are constant struggles. In the very first run of production we received a price from the contractor and agreed. Once production was complete, we received an invoice at around $10k more than what we agreed on. The confusion was due to the fact that the quote we received was for sewing but that did not include fabric, trims, labels, finishing, etc. Lesson learned early. We still have struggles, though. There are always issues with production. Dye houses or contractors not completing on schedule or products not matching our references. You learn from one ordeal and prepare and hopefully avoid that situation in the future. Then another situation arises that you learn from and prepare to avoid that. It’s an ongoing cycle.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Diet Starts Monday story. Tell us more about the business.
Diet Starts Monday is a fashion brand based on putting ideas into motion today rather than putting them off until Monday. What if Monday never comes? I use that as inspiration. I also use experience as inspiration. I love pulling from my childhood. Designing a vintage sports capsule inspired by my AAU basketball sweatsuit. Or designing a bike rally t-shirt as a nod to my Harley riding uncle. There are actually a lot of nods to him in my designs. He was one of the only male figures in my life.

But I’d say that’s what we specialize in and are known for. Creating modern day garments that look and feel like they’re 20-30 years old down to the graphic and wash. I stress over every detail to make sure it feels as authentic as possible and we do it at a price point that isn’t common. That makes me proud.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I honestly don’t really believe in luck but I guess you could look at it as, “our bad luck on this run of production will lead to good luck in the future because we’ll learn from the mishap and figure out how to benefit from it.” I’m more of a destiny and fate type of guy, at least at this point. I feel like there’s a higher power steering the boat. I’ve let things naturally take shape in my life and business which have gotten us to this point.

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