Two Cousins Trying to make a Difference

R&D Apparel provides customers with more than just clothing


Reggie Surpris, co-owner of R&D Apparel, sports his Life Design hoodie.

Lily Gongaware, Graphic Designer / Contributor

Reggie Surpris and his cousin, Duke, know how beneficial motivation can be when accomplishing their goals. Their company, R&D Apparel, aims to promote that same motivation and confidence to its customers. Up until now, creativity and originality in their field has made them successful designers with an apparel company with impressive expansion projections and goals.

 What is the name of your business and what is your mission statement?

The name of my business is R&D apparel, the ‘R’ stands for Reggie and the ‘D’ stands for Duke. I’m Reggie, and Duke is my cousin, we started this business together. Our mission statement is, we want every person to feel the same motivation we did when we started this journey.

What service or products does your business provide to the students?

As of right now, we are only providing shirts (short and long sleeves), and hoodies. We will be dropping stickers, posters and socks soon.

What made you want to start your business?

My cousin and I wanted to create a product for people that shows people they are worthy and can do anything they put their minds too. We wanted to create something original for those who love and support us. It started out just for fun but then it gained traction, and became a passion.

How successful has your business been so far? Have there been any roadblocks?

So far it has been very successful. I have people come up to me left and right on campus asking for the link to my website. Same goes for my cousin. We have had many roadblocks when it came to shipping or the logo on the shirts/hoodies didn’t print exactly right but we usually are able to get it fixed by getting them a new version of the product for free.

How can customers purchase your products/ services currently?

Customers can purchase the products online, currently at: apparel.

Who makes up most of your consumer base?

Most of our consumer base would be college students, around the age of 18 – 25 years old.

What is your favorite product or service you offer?

Right now, it would be the ‘LIFE” campaign that we started with. It means so much to me and my cousin with all the roadblocks that we have been through as black men trying to be successful in the current world. We want everyone to know that they can be successful in any venture they choice.

Is this business something you want to carry into your future?

For sure! This is something that I want to mold into something bigger and better as the years go on.

Where do you see your business/yourself in 5 years? 10?

I would hope to see the business at about 20 campaigns within the next 5 years. Within the
next 10 years, I hope we can have at least one store opened and don’t have to rely on a third party to sell our products.

What advice would you give another student that wanted to start their own business?

Go for it. I know there might be doubters but there are also supporters, and the supporters mean so much more. You will succeed in anything you put your mind to as long as it is for the right reasons. Don’t worry about the numbers, they come in due time.


If you are interested in having your own student-owned business featured in the Cal Times, please email Lily Gongaware at [email protected] edu to set up an interview!