«When was the last time you traveled?» is the theme of the promotional video of DCK, the Portuguese brand of swimming shorts that leaves an invitation to the discovery of «places, people and cultures».
With two shops in Lisbon, a showroom in Oporto and an online website faithful to all the imagery of the brand, DCK has been growing since it was founded, and it was included in the list of “29 start-ups to know in Portugal” by the magazine Baron Mag.
The brand was launched in 2009 after a trip to Bali, where Duarte Costa, the founder, saw the opportunity to «create a business that did not exist in Portugal: male bathing suits», reveals Fernando Costa, DCK’s marketing director, to Portugal Têxtil.
Currently, DCK is owned by two brothers and two cousins: Duarte Costa, 31, founder and responsible for production, Fernando Costa, 29, responsible for marketing and communication, Francisco Guedes, 29, responsible for the financial area and Martin Tresca, 31, responsible for the operation.
The quartet, passionate about the product, something that «makes you know exactly what to do because we know what we want as users and potential customers», has already announced this year two novelties: a second store in Portugal’s capital (which joins the shop opened in 2015 near Largo do Rato) and sales at Latitid’s showroom, in Oporto, in Foz’s area.
In Lisbon, the new space opened doors in Chiado, in May, in the same place that was the address of the historic lamps shop Casa Maciel. In a beach environment – including aquariums with exotic fish, sand in baseboards, ceiling and walls in pine, like a “beach bar”, rope banisters and a lounge, where customers are invited to relax or drink cider – the space receives new articles every two weeks.
For this space with «a décor custom made», DCK has highlighted «its greater range», being that, in total, the brand offers 350 options in six collections, «all limited editions».
Sport offers «bathing suits made with elastane, lighter, with more extroverted patterns and ideal for sports» and Casual proposes «the most common styles, with stripes or plain colours, made of polyamide» and is available in shorter or longer versions. Classic, with shorts «similar to Casual but shorter and with elastic waist and an interior mesh» is the ideal model «for those who like the more traditional style», while Cotton has a «more hipster style, with worn appearance and ethnic patterns».
Aware of trends, both from fashion and market, DCK also offers the Venice collection, «the mould of what is fashionable in California, with elastic waist and half leg height, with simple or bolder patterns» and, soon enough, will provide a line for children «with standards equal to those of adult (Sport), but in child sizes from 12 months on», unveils Fernando Costa.
In the Chiado store, DCK sells «about 50% to foreigners, with the largest audience coming from France» but Portugal «remains, for the moment, the largest market», analyses the marketing responsible. The brick-and-mortar stores have the company of the online websites that, with sales to the four corners of the world, has «many orders from England, Spain and Germany, as well as some from the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium», he lists.
Looking to get rid of the seasonality of this product segment, DCK’s onslaught involves «substantially increase the online market, including outside Europe», says Fernando Costa, adding that «the goal, already for this winter, is to raise sales in countries where it is summer in our winter, such as Brazil, Australia, the US West Coast and South Africa, among others».
To put a “check” in those ambitions, marketing has been the most exploited tool by DCK. «We are always innovating in our marketing strategies», he stresses. In the physical marketing, the responsible considers that it is easy to see that DCK is growing. «We had Mupis in Lisbon, we sponsored a football team of the 1st League (Tondela) and we have many ambassadors to help us communicate», he points out.
In the digital realm, this is a time for learning and invest «in order to make known the brand to the world», something that «is now having the first effects», says Fernando Costa, who points out that DCK’s sales «started in April this year and since then have been steadily growing. We are roughly 100% above 2015».
With «85% of the production» made in Portugal, «only the Sport and Cotton collections, because they include Lycra, a material too expensive in Portugal, have to come from abroad», the price of most DCK products, «except for the Classic Collection», is 39 euros.