How Star Athlete Deshonne Redeaux and His Father Russell Are Growing an Apparel Brand

How Russell and Deshonne Redeaux are growing OTSS

Deshonne Redeaux is a highly rated and heavily recruited high school running back with scholarship offers from many of the top college football programs in the nation. Aside from playing football and excelling in the classroom, he’s also building a brand with his father, Russell Redeaux, who is an experienced entrepreneur.

OTSS (Only The Strong Survive) is an apparel brand that’s quickly branching out. With recent changes related to name, image, and likeness (NIL) regulations, OTSS operates in an industry that’s changing and evolving very quickly. Read the interview with Russell and Deshonne to learn more about their inspiring story.

👇 Key Takeaways

  • Deshonne excels in the classroom and on the field, and he works with his father to grow OTSS
  • OTSS began as an apparel brand and is now expanding into collaborations with athletes
  • Russell and Deshonne see OTSS evolving into youth camps, conferences, and cultural events
  • Deshonne mentioned self-doubt as the biggest obstacle he’s had to overcome with the business


Business Name: OTSS (Only The Strong Survive)
Website URL:
Founders: Russell Redeaux and Deshonne Redeaux
Business Location: Online (USA)
Year Started: 2019
Number of Employees/Contractors/Freelancers: 3 + Open SuperApp’s Team

Tell us about yourself and your business.

Russell Redeaux: I am an Entertainment and Marketing Executive. My career spans over 2 decades. My foundation comes from multicultural marketing and talent management. I was a Managing Partner/Head of Talent at an award-winning marketing firm, Cashmere Agency, and Co-Founder of Talent Management company, Stampede Management, which has worked with some of the most incredible artists in the world, such as Snoop Dogg, Tyrese Gibson, Busta Rhymes, Ty Dolla $ign, YG, Far East Movement, Macy Gray, Lalah Hathway, Murs, amongst others.

I was fortunate to cut my teeth in the business and build these companies alongside some brilliant-minded partners whom I now consider family Ted Chung, Seung Chung, Ryan Ford, Rona Mercado, Nick Adler & Brianne Pins, amongst other very talented executives who poured into a singular vision to build one of the most dynamic multicultural agencies and talent management companies around. I think we succeeded in that! 

I am now building a new agency, Stamp X Group, which is dedicated to telling diverse stories and building disruptive brands while innovating in the changing world of NIL. OTSS is one of the companies in my Agency’s portfolio.

Deshonne: I’m a student-athlete at Oaks Christian High School, class of 2026. I am a Four-Star Football Recruit with 30+ offers from top programs like USC, Oregon, Ohio State, Michigan, Georgia, and Alabama. I currently hold the California Freshman 100M Record with a 10.42. I have a 3.33 GPA and dream of playing in the NFL. I love building my brand, OTSS, with my dad.

How does your business make money?

Deshonne: We began as an apparel brand, focusing on our OTSS clothing line, and are now expanding into product collaborations with NIL Athletes through our partnership with an innovative technology company called OPEN SuperApp.

OTSS website

What was your inspiration for starting the business?

Russell: Only The Strong Survive is a moniker I learned from playing Football at Verbum Dei High School in South Central, Los Angeles. This statement is part of a long-standing tradition that would be sort of a battle chant when we would train and take the field for a game. Our coach would shout, “Why do we work!?” and our team would respond, “Only The Strong Survive!” The ideology of living in your purpose and working hard to achieve your dreams was something that stuck with me from the brotherhood and tradition I carried with me from Verbum Dei and has shaped how I parent my children.

I shared this story with my son, and we decided to continue the tradition by starting a lifestyle and apparel company called OTSS – Only The Strong Survive 

Deshonne: I’m working hard to achieve success on and off the field, and Only The Strong Survive really made sense to me and my friends. This is something I really wanted to get behind and build with my dad. 

How and when did you launch the business?

Deshonne: I printed my first t-shirts and sweatsuits in 2019, but it wasn’t until 2021, with the legalization of NIL, that I became serious about building this brand.

Tell us about your team.

Russell: We are a family operation, and my son and I have been shipping orders from our garage. Our partnership with OPEN has allowed us to scale quickly, and now they handle all of our manufacturing and fulfillment 

How are you funded? 

Deshonne: My Dad…lol. His resume as a media/marketing executive gives us an advantage. OTSS was just an idea but quickly became a business with his expertise and funding.

OTSS t-shirt on the website

How did you acquire your first customers?

Russell: We’ve acquired our customers through creative marketing strategies. We brought together an eclectic group of influencers who have social and cultural reach to participate in a content shoot. Some of the influencers include pro skater Theotis Beasley, model/actress Bria Myles, DJ Kiss, DJ RTistic, Weirdowithsoul, rapper King Hoodie and actor Reed Shannon. 

We partnered with Style Me Ariel and The Women of the NFL to have our product featured in Nordstrom’s during an exclusive Super Bowl Weekend event in Las Vegas.  This event gave our brand visibility and credibility to have the support of a major retailer like Nordstrom’s. We have also gifted products to various influencers and have seen our gear worn by Superstar Actor/ R&B Singer Tyrese Gibson and Grammy Award Winning Legendary Music Producer Brian Michael Cox, amongst other notable names.

Our most recent success story came via our partnership with OPEN, where we collaborated with 5 Star Recruit/Gatorade Player of The Year and the current University of Flordia QB DJ Lagway. We partnered with DJ and his Lagway Apparel brand. We produced a co-branded content shoot to present his exclusive Lagway Apparel for our OTSS store within the Open SuperApp. 

What marketing strategies have been most effective for you so far?

Russell: Some of our goals in creating this brand with my son are to incubate IP and tell rich stories. We’re focused on amplifying the voices of student-athletes who have a shared philosophy and are pushing boundaries toward overcoming obstacles as they are building toward their dreams.

The content we’ve created so far for the OTSS Brand with DJ Lagway has really hit the mark, as we are seeing a groundswell around OTSS. The community is building, and we’re attracting like-minded athletes who seem to identify with our brand message. We’re seeing content being shared, and our product is now being worn by various influencers. 

Can you tell us about any upcoming developments we can look forward to?

Deshonne: More content and more product drops with OTSS and NIL athletes that I’m personally a fan of and align with our message. We have some big ones on the way, so stay tuned! 

How do you see your business evolving in the next 5 years?

Deshonne: We see OTSS evolving into youth camps, conferences, and cultural events. We want to give back to the community that supports us. Only The Strong Survive is a mentality and mindset we want to bring the community that we are building together eventually to share ideas and connect 

Russell: Only The Strong Survive will continue to expand our product offering. We will eventually move from short-form content to long-form storytelling. Our mission to amplify voices will expand into multiple media and technology. We are already forming some of those partnerships that will take us into the future.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken as a founder/entrepreneur?

Russell: Capital investment, being an entrepreneur is like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute! Lol. I am most interested at this point in my life and career in sharing new ideas with the world and building a meaningful legacy for my family. OTSS accomplishes both. I’m able to build this company along side my son, and it has been the most fulfilling journey I have ever taken in my 20+ years as an entrepreneur. 

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

Deshonne: Honestly, just getting started. Overcoming self doubt. When presenting new ideas you never know how people will react and I have learned that what matters is indentifying your own greater purpose, being diligent and people will eventually get on board.

What is your favorite quote?

Russell: More of a statement than a quote, ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE!

Deshonne: “10,000 hours is just to beginning.“

What are some of your favorite books, blogs, podcasts, or YouTube channels?

Russell: Cam’ron and Ma$e’s “It Is What It Is” podcast is my favorite podcast currently. What they did in sports was truly disruptive. Their podcast is honest and very entertaining and born from a childhood friendship, which I can really identify with. I grew up in an era where they dominated music and to learn more about how their friendship formed their identity in media is inspiring to watch and is an amazing case of how culture drives all conversations.

How do you handle work-life balance?

Russell: After 20+ years in the business, I have finally achieved work-life balance because the world that I am currently endeavoring into is wholesome and family-oriented, which allows me to integrate my family more into my day-to-day and business adventures

How do you stay motivated during tough times?

Russell: having a strong faith and unwavering belief in the plan that has been created.

Deshonne: My dad has taught me to create a plan and short and long-term goals. We consistently do whiteboard sessions to evaluate how we are hitting those goals incrementally. This level of planning keeps me focused when things are up and down because there is a plan I can refer back to to see how far I’ve come and how far there is still left to go.

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