Marc Eckō Talks New Book, Creativity, Personal Branding, & More
Marc Eckō, founder of Marc Eckō Enterprises, a global fashion and lifestyle company, and digital powerhouse Complex Media, took the wealth of knowledge he's accrued throughout his career, and packaged it into new book, titled Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out.
Unlabel hit bookstores yesterday, October 1, but Hip-Hop Wired had an opportunity to pick the mogul's brain about the book, the importance of personal branding, why begrudging something in any way, shape, and form is counterproductive to your own success and more.
Weaving ways to properly brand yourself into an autobiographical tale was no mistake on Eckō's part. Doing so makes the lesson that much easier to relate to and adds context to the tale of a man most make assumptions about due to his ambiguity.
"As entrepreneurial stories go, I wanted to use it against the framework of the authenticity formula," Eckō said. " And the reason I go back kind of memoir style wasn't to be self-indulgent. What I wanted to do is show that there are patterns and habits that are built into you that you're gonna face at a very young age. The mistakes you make are typically the same mistakes you make over and over again, and they kind of repackage themselves.... That's why I go back and show that."
Eckō's confident tone managed to evade the borders of narcissism, as he described how he went from, "being a white kid from Lakewood, NJ into Hip-Hop, airbrushing shirts out his garage," to the owner of a multi-million dollar conglomerate.
Of course, it would take until he was 32-years-old to become a profitable businessman, but his mantra on creativity undoubtedly allowed him to get over the proverbial hump. "For me, I don't fancy myself an entrepreneur; people title me that. But it doesn't really express how I think about business," he said. "To me, I think more as a creator, and I talk about what I mean by that in the book. And I challenge the reader, like 'what happened to you that they beat the art out of you when you retired your crayons in the second grade?'"
So far, keeping an array of creative outlets and remaining in tune with cultural happenings have allowed Eckō to flourish over the years. He explained, "Our whole K-12 [school] system organizes itself, and says if you get an 'A,' that's good enough. That's a symbol of evidence of being educated; won't mean you'll be a successful motherf****ker."
Eckō himself dropped out of Rutgers University School of Pharmacy in 1993 to chase his dream, but not once did he demean school. Him saying, "I know a lot of smart people that were crushing me in school -- crush -- but they were good at school and at's the distinction," sounded like more of a proud recollection of preference than a scoff to higher education.
"I think ultimately, the that reason I succeeded, or have been successful, is that I understand that success is just the hangover of failure," the creative explained. "I've tolerated pretty gory, gruesome amounts of failure. And if we're being totally honest, [after] lots of little failures it's like don't do that again."
It's about adapting, people.
Clearly strong-willed, Eckō's Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out expounds on each of the aforementioned points. Do yourself a favor and purchase it via Barnes & Nobles.
Photo: VIBE/Ray Yau