Branding Lessons from Drake’s OVO Label

January 7, 2019

The luxurious brand OVO is expected to reach $50 million in revenue by the beginning of this year.



Drake is the voice of a Canadian generation. Last July, the rap star beat a longstanding Billboard record when his album Scorpion posted seven singles simultaneously on the Billboards Top 10, smashing the record the Beatles had held since 1964 for five singles simultaneously in the top five.

The Toronto native is a beloved music star, but he’s also a brand master who has marketed his swag successfully from billboards to the courtside to the catwalk. Drake’s streetwear line, October’s Very Own (commonly referred to as OVO) is now one of the hottest athleisure lines. The line has collaborated with other iconic brands from the Raptors to Roots and Canada Goose to Air Jordan.

Drake, in partnership with his friends Oliver El-Khatib, founded OVO as a MySpace page and later a blog where they posted music, art, photography and fashion inspirations as well as their own work; since then, they’ve been creating practical and versatile garments that look stylish and comfortable.

drake3For fall 2017,  the beloved Canadian brand Roots, and OVO created a collection of Roots varsity jackets, crewneck sweaters, and T-shirts.  Consumers embraced these Canadian collaborations warmly, and items sold out quickly.

In 2018, the “Hotline Bling” rapper wanted to revamp its style yet again and launched a new line of stylish sweatpants, and accessories. This new collection has captured the hearts of consumers, not just in Canada but across the globe.

The Drake Effect: Why Drake’s branding is just as hot as his rhymes

  • Drake’s work is consistent. You can instantly recognize Drake’s smooth, melodic rap voice. Similarly, the black and gold OVO owl is an emblem reflective of Drake himself – sleek, bold and on trend.
  • Drake is strategic and detailed-oriented. Drake’s raps often feature clever wordplay filled with double entendres that are memorable and infectious. Drake is highly detail-oriented. That’s why October’s Very Own partnered strategically with the Unique Group to craft a complete branding experience
  • Drake is a man of craftsmanship: His beats, hooks, and lyrics exude finesse. Similarly, the craftsmanship of these OVO garments are impeccable. In collaboration with the Unique Group, OVO created luxe details for this season’s line, such as golden owl pins and expertly stitched labels.

OVO is now ready to expand its retail network. In recent years, the brand has tested pop-up collaborations with Colette, Nordstrom and Browns in the UK. Its first permanent brick-and-mortar shop in Toronto followed in 2014. Two more Toronto outposts were opened, as well as stores in Los Angeles, New York and London.