Throughout the majority of his life, 27-year-old Drew Burdick was living comfortably overseas with his family in The Philippines. However, when he turned 18 he decided to travel back to the States to attend college at The University of North Carolina – Charlotte. Talk about a culture shock. Everything was new to him – pop culture references, language barriers, and not to mention college is a unique experience in itself. Even though he was born here in the US, he left when he was just four years old so he was unable to experience much of the American culture. Luckily, one of Drew’s best friends from The Philippines embarked on this journey with him to North Carolina and made the assimilation process much easier.
While in college, Drew formed a group of friends that had very similar tastes in music. They started hosting small parties together in dorm rooms and apartments around campus, under the name Billionaires. These parties were just for their own fun and enjoyment, but after experiencing success, they wanted to branch out and do more. One day, they were all sitting around discussing business ideas and wanted to capitalize on the fact that a lot of people in college are getting drunk and having fun. So, they decided it was time to launch a beer delivery service – Billionaires Beer. Jokingly, they decided a national beer delivery service on college campuses would turn them into billionaires so the name stuck. They enjoyed the irony behind the name, as their goal was not to make money, but to simply share their love for dance music with fellow college students.
When the four of them graduated from college in 2009, they all went their separate ways and the Billionaires brand evaporated. Temporarily. If you can recall, in the year 2009 the United States was still going through an economic debacle: a recession. After months of looking for a job and failing (like many other graduates during this time), Drew decided it was time to try making money by doing something he loves. Therefore, he started working as a freelance graphic designer. He would design business cards and flyers for several different types of entities, such as street wear brands. In fact, he began following these street wear brands so closely that one day he realized he too could make t-shirts. Drew wanted to find a symbol that represented his two passions (EDM and graphic design). He noted that a robot would indeed be a fusion of his two passions. As a result, Mr. Mayor (the Billionaires robot) was born. Additionally, since the Billionaires brand already acquired a fan base from when Drew was in college, the name carried over for his apparel company.
Billionaires Apparel officially launched in 2010. When this business venture began, Drew barely had any money (and says that he still does not have much). He was valeting cars, washing windows, and scrubbing floors at restaurants…doing anything he could to earn some cash during the recession. You have to have money in order to make money. From day one, all of the money that has been invested into the brand comes straight from Drew’s own pocket. If Billionaires had an outside investor or contributions from Drew’s family, the brand would have grown much faster. However, the financial obstacle has never stopped him. Billionaires’ growth thus far has been an organic, natural progression.
In the beginning, Drew wasn’t expecting anything to happen with his new apparel company, especially with such little money. Over the course of several years though, he began to find his way. After building an even stronger base in the Southeast region (North Carolina specifically), the brand kept growing and expanding. Drew now has a team who helps him promote the brand and establish new ideas for the future. Recently, they have begun to make a profit rather than lose money or just break even on their sales. Billionaires has been a part of the festival scene the last few years – setting up merchandise tents at Spring Awakening in Chicago and Mysteryland in New York for instance. They participate at festivals primarily for the exposure. As long as travel expenses are covered, they have a good time, and meet new people, the Billionaires team believes that their time and money spent is worthwhile. It’s important for Drew and his team to connect with everyone on a deeper level and to create meaningful conversation. EDM fans and even outsiders across the globe are starting to understand what Billionaires is and what it is about.
Everyday, Drew ponders how he can continue to expand his brand, while giving an opportunity for others to pursue their passions or live out their dreams. If you follow Billionaires, you will notice they recently added two new branches – a record label (mostly EDM) and a mobile gaming service (created mini game series). Drew knows people who are passionate about both so he wanted to give them an opportunity to do what they love and make money from it.
In addition to running Billionaires, Drew is also a family man. He is married and has a daughter who is just under the age of one. One of the biggest challenges for Drew has been missing important milestones throughout his daughter’s infancy. For example, while he was away at Mysteryland, his daughter learned how to stand (without falling of course). Drew was upset that he missed this beautiful moment and therefore, his goal within the next year is to transition out of the day-to-day work and oversee operations instead. His family has been very supportive of this dream, but he wants to be there for them as much as possible and he also wants to see his daughter grow up.
Drew has realized one thing: he does not want to live an average life. He does not want to be another face or name in whichever industry he pursues. He wants to do something beyond himself. He wants to continue contributing to society while doing what he loves. His parents have always instructed him to do his very best in whatever he does in life. He has listened. As a result of his work ethic, he has been able to achieve his dreams and help others live out their dreams as well.