From the day-to-day challenges we face to the constant negative news we see on the TV, it can become a lot to handle. One person who is taking it upon himself to change this is California TV producer Brent Camalich.
He decided to launch his very own apparel brand that creates a platform to unite high school students to inspire them to do good. The goal of DUDE. be nice initiative is to build a community by recognizing a person or group in a creative way. One way the group has been giving back is through flash mob thank yous, where they randomly surprise an individual who has been actively involved in the community. Brent tells us more.
ACT: First off, where did the inspiration behind the apparel brand come from?
BRENT: After college, I got started in journalism, working as a producer at a local TV station, so it came as a surprise that it turned out that a summer job is what stuck with me as inspiration for DUDE. be nice. I had had the opportunity to manage a summer camp and I loved working with kids in such a positive environment. I also enjoyed the business and marketing side of helping grow the camp, and I moved on to various marketing roles working with professional sports teams, Fortune 500 companies, and creative marketing agencies. Like many people, I wanted my work to be more meaningful so I started looking for opportunities to build a fun brand with some purpose.
That’s the path that led to DUDE. be nice. This company is really a culmination of my passion for youth development and building a brand. We realized there are so many brands out there that people buy and wear that don’t stand for much and, frankly, often encourage kind of sketchy behavior. So why not create something with a bit more substance and also cool enough to wear?
We want to inspire people to treat others better. And we know a lot of the habits we form when it comes to how we treat people are developed in middle school and high school, so that’s who we’re focusing on.
ACT: Your latest flash mob benefited a woman who lost her costume shop in a fire. How long do these flash mobs take to plan out?
BRENT: We wanted to live and breathe our brand and get kids involved in positive projects on their campuses, so we started the “DUDE. be nice Project.” The DBN Project is a platform for young people to say thanks to an underappreciated person or group in their community in a super fun, creative and meaningful way. What’s so cool about these projects is that kids reach out to us to help make these surprises possible, but it’s up to them to determine who they want to recognize.
This time, the leadership class at Antelope Valley High School reached out to us to ask us to help them show a little love for a well-deserving woman in their community they know as “Daisy.” They reached out to us a month before they wanted to surprise her and I met with the class about one week before the event went down and talked about why it’s so important for us to recognize others and brainstormed how we could make the day awesome. Then, the kids spent the next week prepping for the event – making signs, telling other students how they could get involved, planning with the band, planning gifts and coordinating a dance for Daisy.
I can’t believe the feeling of even playing a small part in making something like this possible; but the kids are the ones who end up being the most stoked. Everyone’s working to do something special together, and each kid involved just shines. I hear back they’re keeping it going, looking at people around them differently, seeing what a difference it makes to appreciate someone, how good it feels and how it reflects on everyone around you.
ACT: I agree with your mission behind the brand, and the importance of random acts of kindness. What was your favorite flash mob yet?
BRENT: We’ve worked on four DUDE. be nice Projects to date with a whole lot more on the way. We started in California, and now we’re getting out to other states. Each one has been great because the kids have chosen the perfect person in their own community. But our favorite reaction so far came from Daisy at the costume shop. She was genuinely moved by what the kids put together. The pure joy on her face when she is outside taking in the moment is the best. And it didn’t hurt that she had a British accent; that made everything she said even sweeter. And behind the scenes, the week leading up to the surprise, these kids had a plan and they pushed past their comfort zones to do something that would be personally meaningful for Daisy. Putting on a show, dancing and rocking the street like something you’d see in an MTV video.
ACT: Let’s talk the name of your company for a quick second. Why did you decide to go with Dude. be nice (which I love)?
BRENT: We’re based in Southern California, so DUDE is part of the surf and skate culture that we grew up with. And it just so happens to be a word that is popular across the country, so adding that to “be nice” makes the message we’re trying to get across way more relevant and fun. I knew we were on to something the first time I wore a DUDE. be nice shirt and pretty much every person I encountered reacted in some sort of positive way to the brand.
ACT: In a world where we are surrounded by so much negative, campaigns like this are imperative. What do you want to see your apparel brand do next in order to keep pushing your message forward?
BRENT: We believe the key to our success is to keep doing nice things for people and give young people a new way to do that, while maintaining quality apparel standards. And we’re committed to sharing as many good news stories as possible to really show the heart of this up-and-coming generation that is often misunderstood.
ACT: Is there anything else you wanted to mention?
BRENT: We are taking DUDE. be nice to as many schools and student groups as we can, but we also want to see kids doing DBN Projects for themselves –and then we want to hear from them, and see their photos and videos. Yeah, it takes work and cooperation, but ask any kid who has been a part of a DBN Project if it’s worth it.
This is one of my favorite things a student said – at Loara High School in Anaheim, California: “I had the best day of my life. It was awesome. It was an amazing thing to be able to spend just 30 minutes of the day to go make someone’s day into that day they’re going to remember for the rest of their life.”
We want people to know that making someone else’s day – in a big way or a small way – is going to make your day, too. Every time.