What started as an idea during his junior year of high school has eventually turned into a successful athletic apparel company for founder Darren Dort, a sophomore business management major.
Choppa Athletics was created during the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Business Camp at Rutgers University in Newark as Dort was tasked to create a business plan for a company he would like to create.
Despite his business focusing on medical athletic wear, this summer his business changed to a sports apparel company. Dort said he hopes to expand and become one of the biggest athletic brands in the world.
“When you observe the owners and executives of the major sportswear companies, they are very few, if any, people of color,” Dort said. “My inspiration for this company came from wanting to create something that could chop the competition in the sportswear industry.”
The company sells a variety of hoodies, T-shirts, sweatpants and hats. Dort plans to create sweaters, backpacks and all other forms of athletic apparel in the future. He said that he plans to still pursue medical athletic wear.
“In the future, the goal is for Choppa Athletics to produce to the innovative athletic braces that started the idea of this company and have those braces along with the apparel sold worldwide,” Dort said.
To promote his business, Dort has found success showcasing his company on Instagram.
“Currently, I have been promoting my business through Instagram and have accumulated 17,895 views from all of the content that I have promoted,” Dort said.
Alvin Oliver, a freshman business major, explained his experience with the company. After hearing about the business from word of mouth, Oliver purchased a red hoodie for $50. He was later featured on the Instagram page.
“I was able to reach out to the owner of Choppa athletics and sent him a picture in the apparel because I figured someone showing off the product could help with the business,” Oliver said.
According to Dort, he found his best-selling product is the Choppa Athletics hoodies. He said that the hoodies have “served as the leading instrument in bringing awareness to my business and brand.”
Devon Henry, a freshman business major, explained the two Choppa Athletics sweatshirts he bought.
“I really like the product,” Henry said. “I rock them heavy. They are so comfortable and feel well made. The quality is a major factor and one of the reasons why I bought a second one.”
Dort is the sole creator of all the products sold as he creates the products using tools like the Paint 3D app, and a printing and fulfillment service provider Printful. While taking on a big course load, Dort said it was not an easy task to balance his company and college.
“It was a legitimate struggle finding the right balance between college and my business; however, I feel as if I am at a point where I can genuinely say I am comfortable pursuing both at the highest level possible,” Dort said.
Dort said he has learned many valuable skills and lessons. He added that his company allowed him to enhance his computer skills and learned how to successfully promote a product.
“The greatest lesson I have learned thus far is the value of time,” Dort said. “This journey has given me living proof that time is a horrible thing to waste, and that I need to do everything in my power to ensure that I am using it well to the best of my ability.”
Nicholas Hernandez can be reached at Nicholas.firstname.lastname@example.org.