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The Fashion Geek Podcast

43 | You’re Supporting Something Bigger Than Yourself

Reg (Tiff is online shopping) talks with Marquis Ellison of Marquis Rashiod about Crohn’s disease, his accessory line, Walmart, New York Fashion Week and his unique contribution on doing masks. Attention podcast shoppers, it’s a good one.



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Timestamps

00:00 Introduction and Sponsor Message
00:22 Meet the Hosts: Reg and Tiff
00:36 Special Guest: Marquise Ellison
02:58 Marquise Rashad: The Brand and Its Mission
07:34 Community Engagement and Social Media
16:09 Marquise's Journey: From Florida to New York
20:12 Early Career and Challenges in New York
27:39 Discussing Regional Bias in Career Opportunities
28:41 Perceptions of Walmart and Retail Bias
32:06 Experiences with High-End Retail Interviews
36:21 Breaking into New York Fashion Week
40:57 Impact of the Pandemic on Fashion Week
43:06 Launching the Buy a Mask, Give a Mask Campaign
51:33 Concluding Thoughts and Future Plans

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Transcript

Reginald Ferguson [00:00:01]: The Fashion Geeks are hosted and powered by Blueberry. Tiff [00:00:04]: That's Blueberry, b l u b r r y. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:07]: Thinking of launching a podcast? Want your episodes to be deployed smoothly? Go to blueberry.com, type in the word fashion, and get a deal on us. Tiff [00:00:15]: Just put in the word fashion. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:17]: Blueberry, always host fly. Hello. I'm Red. Tiff [00:00:23]: And I'm Tiff. And we're the fashion geeks. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:25]: Trying to make New York. Tiff [00:00:26]: And the world Well, New York is the world. A little flyer, one outfit And Reginald Ferguson [00:00:30]: podcast. Tiff [00:00:31]: At a time. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:34]: Yes. Back again. Tiff is not on my side for this one. She's online shopping. But I do have a guest. He and I, we've been trying to get him on the show actually for quite a while. He's been very evasive. Then, he just came out of nowhere with a request. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:55]: Then I worked out a deal. So, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce He's so quiet, I thought I'd make him laugh by now, because not Like, it's only Monday, you know, maybe I'm a little rusty. But, oh, I can hear him now. Ladies and gentlemen, we have Marquise Ellison of Marquise Rashad. Hey. Marquise [00:01:17]: Hey. Hey. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:19]: Hey, Marquise. How are you, man? Marquise [00:01:21]: Hey, man. I'm doing alright, brother. Can't complain. Can't complain. Given circumstances, Feeling pretty blessed right now. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:30]: Yeah. I mean, that's literally, you know, my my first question for everybody. Like, I haven't seen you, you know, way before the pandemic, candidly. But, you know, how is everything going? You're in New York, I'm in New York. I can't remember what borough you're in. So, Marquise [00:01:48]: Yeah. Everything is going good, man. I'm here. And we're both in New York. Like you said, when we first met the first time, we were in living in the city in Manhattan and Midtown right now. We're currently in the bx in the Bronx. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:03]: Oh, we're in the Bronx? Marquise [00:02:04]: Yeah. So we're actually in the Bronx, Riverdale section. Oh, Reginald Ferguson [00:02:11]: I went to school in Riverdale. I went to I went to Riverdale Country Day. Oh, okay. Yeah. Marquise [00:02:16]: Okay. Yeah. We're actually right we're right here right here in Riverdale, man. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:21]: Nice. Marquise [00:02:22]: Yeah. Small small part. It's funny. We live in it's called Spy and Die. Are you familiar? Reginald Ferguson [00:02:27]: Yep. Sure. Absolutely. Historic. Marquise [00:02:31]: Yeah. Most New Yorkers it's funny. Most New Yorkers that's been here all their lives have never heard of this area. Even people that's from the Bronx, they'd be like, what? But, yeah, it's it's it's a very nice, family area. And, yeah, that's where we are right now. Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:52]: So like I said, you know, we've been trying to do this for a while. Marquise [00:02:55]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:55]: And let's let's get really right into it. The reason that we reconnected Mhmm. Well, first of all, you know what? Let's let's tell the listeners, what is Marquise Rashad? Marquise [00:03:09]: Right. So Marquise Rashad is my company. We are a men's neckwear, and accessory company specializing in bow ties, pocket squares, a few neckties. And our motto is high fashion and higher purpose. Reason being is a portion of our proceeds, we donate to Crohn's and colitis research and advocacy and breast cancer in the month of October. Reason for those two causes is because I personally was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2009, and I lost my under breast cancer in 2013 when I moved to New York. So once I got here to New York, I wanted to start this company to help raise awareness for Crohn's and colitis. And what better way to do that than a bow tie because the bow tie is an attention grabber. Marquise [00:04:02]: You always remember the guy wearing the bow tie. And when you see our bow tie, someone wearing our bow ties, it's an opportunity for us to collectively and when I say us, I mean clients to raise awareness for Crohn's and colitis, while wearing a product. And so that's how we came up with the bow tie, and the bow tie was gonna be our signature, item and helping raise awareness for these causes. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:35]: So you bring up a great point. I I love the phrase higher purpose. Marquise [00:04:40]: Mhmm. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:40]: You know, one could argue that's very self explanatory. But since it's part of your tagline, if you don't mind, I'd love for you to elaborate about why you utilize that. Marquise [00:04:53]: Right. So when we say high fashion, higher purpose, we tied it to fashion because, like, fashion is trend setting. Right? Fashion sets the mark. And so when we say high fashion, higher purpose, it's more than the fashion. It's more than a bow tie. And the bow tie is just, a, opener to what our mission is. And so that's why we chose, Higher Purpose because it's so much more, you know, than that. In fashion, like I said, is, fashion is an avenue that is a trendsetter. Marquise [00:05:37]: You know, it it drives the it drives the, mostly drives the world per se, but, you know, from the way we dress, it has a heavy influence on culture. And since it has a heavy influence on culture, we wanna elevate it to, you know, serve a higher purpose beyond clothes. And let's use our wardrobe to bring awareness to causes that's that bigger than ourselves and what we have on. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:06]: Right. So Marquise [00:06:08]: It makes sense. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:10]: Yeah. No. It it makes perfect sense. So, I mean, there's there's so many questions there. Marquise [00:06:16]: How does Reginald Ferguson [00:06:17]: How does I'm bringing it, brother. I can only do it one at a time, but I have, like, 5 in my head. Marquise [00:06:23]: I was sure. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:24]: How does your clientele feel about that? Marquise [00:06:28]: Right. So so we've gotten a great, you know, a great response from the clientele. Like, everybody loves it because, again, you're you're supporting something bigger than yourself. It's not just the bow tie, but with the bow tie, you know, and our pocket squares represent. And that's what people really appreciate, you know, and, helping to to raise awareness, especially those with IBD. You know, within the IBD community, again, that stands for that makes up Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Both of those diseases together makes up IBD. And IBT IBD stands for inflammatory bowel disease. Marquise [00:07:08]: Right. So, yeah, I have so many people in the IBD community that have been great supporters of Marquise Rashad, brand. And, I mean, I I owe a great debt of gratitude to them, man, because they, you know, they not only have they purchased, meaning that they haven't purchased, you know, they they share our post and all. And, that's another thing too, you know, with the company. So through our social media platforms, we raise awareness through every Wednesday, we have a segment called Crohn's and Colitis Warrior Wednesday, where we highlight the story of a Crohn's disease, an ulcerative colitis patient, sharing their story and their personal journey with living with this disease and their warrior attitude about how they don't let it define them and continue to push forward despite having it. So every Wednesday on our social media platform, we share a story. And then on Friday, we share, facts, you know, that we bring to you about Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. And we get a lot of engagement, you know, with that as well. Marquise [00:08:18]: So it's a community platform that we've created for people with IBD and those not with IBD can come and get educated and learn about this disease. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:31]: So I noticed I follow you on Instagram and and for the ladies and gentlemen listening to the pod, let's specify. You can follow Marquise at Marquise Rashod. I'm gonna give the spelling. Rash0id on the insta. So your your Wednesday your Wednesday vibe, it gets down to the specificity of Warrior of the Week. Yep. That's correct. Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:58]: What led you to do that? I mean, I admit I'm very much on the outside of this. Meaning, in terms of IBD, inflammatory bowel disease. I do actually have a friend and maybe in some weird way I'll connect the 2 of you. I have a friend who has Crohn's. Okay. Marquise [00:09:18]: I remember when I met it's a friend of mine, Owen Band. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:21]: Mhmm. And years ago, when I met him, he, like actually, you guys have something in common. You both moved to New York from Florida, I believe. Marquise [00:09:32]: Yep. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:33]: And when I met him, it immediately came up in conversation. And candidly, I didn't know what it was Marquise [00:09:41]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:42]: At all. And, really, to be honest, if I look between he and you as epics of time, I didn't know anything else until I met you. And really, when I met you, I met you because you had you had, for a few years already, had launched your accessory brand. I was just getting ready to launch my brand. Right. We collabed because you were part of my Maiden Voyage fashion show. Exactly. And you really, at the time, you were really inspiring me, and I'm still, you know, scrambling on Instagram every day, every week. Marquise [00:10:30]: Hey. You're doing it, man. You're you're doing it. You're doing it. Like like you said, I remember us sitting there, you know, talking about when you were coming up with a concept with New York Fashion Geek and, you know, how you wanted the platform to be. And I remember, you know, giving you some pointers just Yes. That's so cool. Experience up to my point. Marquise [00:10:51]: You know what I mean? And, yeah, I I completely remember it. So and just to see your growth, I mean, hey, you you've accelerated, man. You've accelerated, you know, quicker than I have with growing my platform, but that's that's awesome. They I applaud you, man. And I, yeah, I'm just glad I was able to give you, you know, some pointers and that's what it is. See, That's that's that's what it's about. You know, we have each other out. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:17]: Yes. I totally I totally agree. I don't mean I don't mean to hijack your your your point. Marquise [00:11:25]: No. No. Go ahead. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:27]: Listen, man. I I gotta tell you, Marquise, I'm gonna vent. So I really feel that way. I feel strongly about that. I had an individual on a few weeks ago, causticman, also on the Insta. And we were talking about how this menswear game is a community. And I really like that, and I enjoy that. But I'll keep it real. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:51]: I feel that a lot of individuals, when I holler at them on the Insta, particularly through a DM or something like that, I get a little wah wah or a lot of wah wah. I'm like, come on, man. Like, really? Right. I'm I'm either giving you props or I'm tapping you on the shoulder because I do wanna pick your brain. But the point is, there's no way that my audience and clientele is your audience and clientele. Marquise [00:12:18]: Right. Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:12:19]: In the least. Right. So it's like it can go from recently I'm not gonna not gonna shout them out, but recently I gave somebody props. I was like, Oh, wow. You did this tailoring thing. That's really cool. Because though I'm a fashion consultant, I admit that. Listen, you put me behind, you know, thread and a needle or a singer, even some shears, there's gonna be a problem. Marquise [00:12:45]: Yeah. So because, hey. Look at it, man. There look. There's no like I said, we all give you a prime a perfect example about, you know, what we're talking about. Not men's wear, but if you take a Jay z and a Puffy, Sean Combs. Right? Reginald Ferguson [00:13:01]: Sure. Marquise [00:13:01]: These guys support each other. Both of them have their own brand of liquor, you know, Puff with Ciroc, You know, Jay z has his. They both have media platforms. You know what I mean? Revault with Diddy and then Jay z with title and that kind of stuff. And you see these guys, you know, drinking each other's stuff. You know what I mean? Supporting each other, supporting each other's businesses, each other's brands. You know what I'm saying? And that's what it's that's what it's about. We have to support each other. Marquise [00:13:32]: So I know exactly what you mean. You know, when you reach out to people. Like, you have you have some people like that. And look, yes, it's men's fashion. I mean, you know, nobody has really created anything original. Right? Like, we all I mean, everything that we're doing somebody has already created it before we stepped on the scene. You know what I mean? Reginald Ferguson [00:13:56]: Sure. Marquise [00:13:57]: We all just had different ways of of doing it. So it's not like any one of us have created something that's uniquely out of the, you know, world has never been done before. We've all we're all in the same game. We're just putting our own Finesse on to it. You know what I mean? And so that's what it's all about, man. We have to we have to have to build each other up and continue to, you know, to support and and motivate. And that's why when you were, launching New York Fashion Geek, you know, and what I was able to give you was, you know, what I've learned up to the point where I was at when we met. Right. Marquise [00:14:36]: You know what I mean? So everything that I've learned up until that point, things that I did wrong, you know, that I wish I would have did better. Those are kind of things, you know, that I that I that I let you know. And my whole thing is, like, look, if I tell you this and you take it and you implement it and you run soaring with it, you, you know, you pass me in the dust, Godspeed. I'm happy for you because that's what it's about. You know what I mean? You took it. You you learned how to finesse it, and you're now you're off and running. And that's what it's about, man. Reginald Ferguson [00:15:11]: I'm often stumbling. I don't know about the running. Maybe it's a maybe it's a brisk walk. So, believe me, I'm still head scratching. You know, I don't have to tell you. These are all cliches nowadays. But there's just so much information, there's so many platforms, there's so many approaches. It's mind boggling, really, to be honest. Reginald Ferguson [00:15:33]: And I really appreciate your observation and your compliment. But I feel and I also just simply know I have I have a lot more to go. But I'm up for the challenge. I'm interested. I'm intrigued. Even in light of the pandemic. Right. Which, you know, we'll get into that deeper in terms of your business. Marquise [00:15:54]: A matter of fact, that, you know, that's Reginald Ferguson [00:15:55]: a wonderful segue. What led you Because, again, your your line is so interesting because of the cause. Right. Right? So but I want to kind of peel some layers back. So what led you to launch an accessory line? Marquise [00:16:18]: Sure. So great question. I've always been into fashion. I majored in fashion merchandising, at Florida State University where I went to college. And Seminole? Correct. Florida State Seminoles. Go nose. So, yeah, I majored in fashion merchandising, and, you know, I love the I love the program. Marquise [00:16:41]: Funny thing is actually when I went to Florida State, I actually want to go into marketing. And so I was just like, let me pick something to get into the university when I was researching when I wanna major in. And, when I got into it, I was like, oh, like, I actually really love this. So I stayed with it. And, you know, once I, like I said, when I took the classes and Yeah. I fell in love with it. Funny thing is I actually did not know how to sew. So fast forward to 2013, we moved to New York. Marquise [00:17:31]: I had, you know, the fashion sense and the education, you know, behind understanding textiles and fibers and fabrics and all that kind of stuff from classes that I took. But I didn't have the sewing skills to, you know, make my pieces. Wow. So I took sewing classes, here in New York at a studio in Brooklyn. I can't recall the name, but I took a couple classes, 1 on 1 with with the instructor to learn how to make these, ties and stuff. I took a lot of notes. It was like a 4 hour long class each session. Only took 2 sessions. Marquise [00:18:09]: I took a lot of notes, pictures and everything to learn how to make the products. And then I just spent late nights, man, early mornings, working on the craft. They were ugly, you know, in the beginning. They were ugly. The structure was off. One side was lopsided. The other side was nothing like it is today. You know, but that's how you start. Marquise [00:18:42]: Perfecting the craft. And, yeah, eventually, you know, it started to come to fruition, and the product, you know, looked good. And I remember my wife coming home one day once I was at that point where I was ready to to launch, to go live. Want to compare my bow ties to one of my, you know, store bought ones that I had. Reginald Ferguson [00:19:15]: And Marquise [00:19:15]: then she's seen the late nights and early mornings I spent man, like stay up to like 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock in the morning, back up at 5 o'clock because I had thought of another way, a better way to maybe do this. So, yeah, man, it was it was quite the process, a learning journey. Reginald Ferguson [00:19:43]: So there's a gap that I want you to fill in for me. The gap between you leaving Florida, Tallahassee, coming to New York, and launching the brand. In between there, correct me if I'm wrong, there's at least 2 other things I need you to fill in. 1, I believe you were doing a lot of stuff at fashion week that helped you. But then, also, if I recall, weren't you working for Nick Graham? Marquise [00:20:12]: So all of this came the fashion week and Nick Graham came after I started the business. Reginald Ferguson [00:20:22]: Oh, okay. Yeah. I misunderstood. I thought I I thought I had your chronology down. I'm Marquise [00:20:29]: sorry. No. No worries, man. Reginald Ferguson [00:20:31]: That's not how it happened, Marquise. Marquise [00:20:35]: Yeah. No. No worries, man. But Nick Gram in New York Fashion Week came after, after I launched the the business. Alright. And actually, we're going chronological order. It was Yeah. Please. Marquise [00:20:47]: Please. Business. Well, let me back up. When we moved here, I I got when we first moved here, man, before I even got to New York, I was a manager. I was assistant manager slash co manager for Walmart back in Florida for 7 and a half years. So I was in management. That's what I did, out out of college. But I was, like, the fashion guy for our market when I was working at Walmart. Marquise [00:21:16]: So, like, anytime there was a new store going up, a new Walmart going up, My fashion district fashion merchandiser would send me with my department managers and my team, and, you know, we would help them set up their apparel, the apparel department from the ground up. You know what I mean? So it would be me, my team of department managers, and all the department managers from, like, the 8 stores. So it was, like, 8 stores in a district. Right? So we'll get all the department managers, like, the best department manager in the district to go to this new store, and I'm in charge. You know? And we're, again, building their apparel department from the ground up, getting everything in place, fixtures, getting it set up to the planogram, the floor grounds Wow. That's, you know, sitting down from home office, getting the merchandise, merchandise on the racks, sides, you know, color schemes, get all of that going. So that's what I did. And then just before we moved to New York, I got promoted to a co manager. Marquise [00:22:22]: And, co manager is the next line under the under the store manager. So excuse me. See, had I still been with Walmart and not moved to New York, I would probably be a store manager by now having my own store. So that's that's what I did. So that's a little background. Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:22:41]: So you've been working for the Bonobos brand? Marquise [00:22:44]: Yes. This exactly. So I had the managerial background. So when I moved to New York City, what brought us up here was my wife's job. She got promoted to their corporate office here in New York City. Oh, wow. Reginald Ferguson [00:22:58]: And, Marquise [00:22:59]: And, when she got the job, it was perfect for me. It was a no negotiation. I was like, yes. Let's go. There was an opportunity opportunity for me to utilize my fashion degree. While I love Walmart and I'm so grateful for the experience that I had, I did not love it like that. So it was an easy call for me to say, yeah. Let's go. Marquise [00:23:21]: So yeah. But I'm grateful for the experience that I had at Walmart because it helped shape, you know, my management style. It helped shape my business, savvy, you know, the knowledge with everything that I had to do to run a Walmart Supercenter, which people don't understand the complexity it is in running, 205,000 Square Foot Supercenter. You know, like, there's so many compliance issues and everything that people don't think about. Reginald Ferguson [00:23:50]: Yeah. Right. I'm one of those people. Yeah. I can I can respect the game? Marquise [00:23:55]: Oh, yeah. It's a lot that you have to deal with, man. You think about you deal with the Department of Agriculture, you deal with the health department, you deal with the FDA, you deal with all of these compliance, you know, because you have firearms that you sell at Walmart. You have the pharmacy department, so you have, you know, pharmacy, HIPAA laws, all this kind of stuff. But yeah. So when I got to New York, man, I thought I was gonna get to New York. I like, yo, I'm gonna have me a job. I always wanted to have my own business, because of class that I took at Florida State. Marquise [00:24:28]: And, I always had that in the back of my head, but I never really jumped on it. You know? And so even when we moved to New York, I wasn't thinking that. I was thinking about to go find me a job. And I thought that because of my experience, I would have a job within a week or so after we got here, a interview. No. No. No. That Reginald Ferguson [00:24:50]: is that is it. Marquise [00:24:52]: Mister Marquise underestimated New York City. Reginald Ferguson [00:24:55]: And listen What a mess around, Marquise. Marquise [00:24:58]: Oh, man. Let me tell you. And and realizing, like, look, when you come to New York City, man, you're with the best of the best in everything. Reginald Ferguson [00:25:06]: Yes. You know Marquise [00:25:07]: what I mean? Like, I put out, like, tons of applications when we moved here. They get no call. Long story short, I had to take a seasonal job at Macy's Herald Square making, you know, what, $8 an hour, 8.50 bare minimum wage, which was a huge, huge, humbling experience for me Mhmm. Coming from what I was telling you with managerial salary, very nice salary position to make an $8 an hour that I haven't made in like, I don't know. Reginald Ferguson [00:25:38]: Sheesh. You were a kid. Right? Marquise [00:25:41]: You know what I mean? But my end goal was to be a buyer. Right? So I always wanted to be a buyer. That's kind of where I wanted to go in fashion. So I said, okay. Let me go in here and and meet with who I need to meet with. I was gonna use it as an avenue to get to where I wanna go to. It was never my end goal. You know what I mean? Just to be an associate. Reginald Ferguson [00:25:57]: So I Marquise [00:25:58]: was like, let me see who I need to connect with to get to the buying office. So, yeah, man. I had all these interviews and stuff for management positions. I got to the final decision maker, and everybody was like, yeah. You're great, but you don't have New York experience. What? Reginald Ferguson [00:26:16]: Sheesh. Right. Yeah. I I do also understand it as a native. So Like, what? What's up? Marquise [00:26:22]: What what what are you talking about? Like, are you kidding me? I was like, the things that I was applying for were entry level. I was like, I really should be applying for, like, store manager at this place. You know what I mean? Like, because what I did in one department in the Walmart Supercenter surpasses what you probably do in the the year. Reginald Ferguson [00:26:45]: Right. Marquise [00:26:45]: You know what I'm saying? So I'm like, what I'm what what I'm applying for is very, very way beneath what I really should be applying for. But so I got there, like, Macy's Herald Square, Queen City Mall, Downtown Fulton, Brooklyn. I've been to all these stores. So when January came, my season was over. I was like, alright, Marquise, what are you gonna do? So I had, you know, hard one on one talks with God by East River, my meditation, I'm talking. That's why I said, I was like, alright, you gotta start this business, man. So started looking for sewing classes and that kind of stuff. And I always said, you know, I was gonna start my business before somebody hired me. Marquise [00:27:24]: And that's what happened. And, that's where we are today. Reginald Ferguson [00:27:29]: Wow. Yeah. Marquise, I gotta keep it real with you. I mean, it I really, it's truly a rhetorical question, and and I feel bad asking you it. Marquise [00:27:38]: No. No worries. Reginald Ferguson [00:27:39]: Do you do you feel that the reason that you couldn't make it happen beyond being a seasonal at Macy's was really because of regional bias? That you came from the South, you know, you came from Tallahassee area, you weren't in a New Yorker, you weren't Urbane. And though you had a degree Mhmm. In fashion. Mhmm. And I know that I know that must've stung. I know that must have really upset you and offended you. And, of course, I can't, you know, I can't speak for you. I'm just going brother brother to brother. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:17]: Sure. Marquise [00:28:17]: Sure. Absolutely. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:19]: And particularly, Macy's with their hallowed executive training program, which I'm assuming you also tried to get into. I mean, how I mean, do do you think that's really why it didn't happen for you? Marquise [00:28:34]: I think it's a combination of things, man. I think that might, that might be a factor. I'm pretty sure that's a factor because one, they see Walmart. Right? And most most people when people think Walmart, they think, in no disrespect to anybody, they think hillbilly. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:51]: I'm shaking my head because, listen, there's a reason why we don't have Walmart, and I I'm gonna keep it real with you. I'm anti Walmart. Marquise [00:28:59]: Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:59]: Because of because of the union issue. And that's the reason why they've never entered New York City. And in light of the pandemic with commercial real estate, you know, maybe they could now, but I still don't think they will. And I've been to a Walmart in my travels. It was weird and interesting. Not my Steez. Marquise [00:29:19]: You Reginald Ferguson [00:29:19]: don't live that lifestyle. I recently had a failed transaction. Take that, take that, Euclid, Ohio. And they said to me, Woah. If you could, wire through the Walmart and the transaction wasn't going well. And I just cackled. And the guy was like, oh, what's going on? I was like, I don't live near Walmart. -Right. Marquise [00:29:43]: -Said, what? I mean, he was he was Reginald Ferguson [00:29:47]: I said, are you sitting? I said, I don't live near 1. What do you mean? Marquise [00:29:52]: I'm in New York City, man. Reginald Ferguson [00:29:54]: Right. I'm in the center Marquise [00:29:55]: of the center of my universe. Yeah. But, yeah. No. No. I I I get what you saying, man. So I I think it's a combination. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's a combination. Marquise [00:30:04]: That's that's a factor. Like, so if people see Walmart, that's what you think. And like I was like I was telling you see people don't understand the intricacy that goes Reginald Ferguson [00:30:14]: to you. No. I ain't one of those people. I mean when you say it you stated it's likely it makes sense. Marquise [00:30:19]: Right. It's it's a do you think about it? They're the number one retailer. There's number 1 retail, and that was my other thing in my head. I'm like, you guys realize that they are the number one retailer in the world. They're bigger than any one of you guys, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, anybody. You look at Forbes 500, the Forbes list, Walmart is in the top 3 in oil companies, not Macy's, not any other retailer brand. Now it's Walmart and Amazon that's going neck and neck. You know what I'm saying? So in the back of my head, like, this company I work for is bigger than all of you guys. Marquise [00:30:55]: So when you think that somebody that that has a manager experience, that's practically running a supercenter could come in here and run circles around you or, you know what I'm saying, or really take this department? Like, you're not thinking logically. You're just seeing this. And once I sit and explain to people all the intricacy and things that go to run the stores, like, dang. Like, I could talk to people, Reg, in any sector of business and talk identify with what they do because of my experience at Walmart. You know what I'm saying? I deal with you deal with everybody. Reginald Ferguson [00:31:33]: Yeah. No. You you it's a spectrum. It's it's amazing you saying that. Things that I've never thought of. Marquise [00:31:39]: Everything, bro. And in order to get promoted, you have to you have to you have to run the whole store. So they rotate us every year to every part of the store. And in order to get promoted, you have to run every part of the store. Because once you get the co manager, you're a total store. So you have to have a total store knowledge of Reginald Ferguson [00:32:00]: everything you can Marquise [00:32:00]: have in store. Reginald Ferguson [00:32:01]: Sure. Sure. Sure. Sure. You gotta know the place. Marquise [00:32:04]: Right. And I knew it was funny, like, when I was even when when I was doing interviews back then before I took the seasonal job, right, I interviewed at Saks Fifth Avenue. And every Tuesday on Fifth Avenue, yeah, Saks Fifth Avenue, right here on Fifth Avenue, every Tuesday, they had, like, open interviews. Right? And it was a panel. And Wow. At least 15 guys, that they did. He was open, I think, like, on Tuesdays or Thursdays from, like, around 3 o'clock or whatever. Right? Reginald Ferguson [00:32:32]: Alright. Marquise [00:32:33]: So the guy that I sat in front of, his question is, who are your favorite designers? Me, I'm like, you know, Calvin Klein. I like express stuff. I know it's not designer, but I like Calvin Klein. Reginald Ferguson [00:32:50]: Kinda do you like to know? Marquise [00:32:52]: That's what I like. That interview, it last more than 5 minutes. He was like, basically, bye. And when I realized I was like, I realized that, you know what? Them designers that I named is not Saks Fifth Avenue. I should have been saying stuff like people that showcasing that fashion week, you know, the Oscar De La Renta's and Reginald Ferguson [00:33:15]: You should have. Marquise [00:33:16]: You know, these kind of fashion design. That's when I realized. I was like, you know what? These people are snooty. Reginald Ferguson [00:33:25]: Yes. We are. Marquise [00:33:26]: He he heard me say Calvin Klein. He was like, this guy is out. So, yeah, I told my wife about the experience. I was like, babe, that is that is crazy. And you know what? I had a good friend. Our good friend, Terry, he's our broker. He's the one that found our place when we moved here, and he found a place that we're currently living in now. He had a good friend that worked for Bloomingdale's, for a long time, long, long time. Marquise [00:33:52]: He's re he had he's he's been retired now, but well known. And when we first moved to New York City, he put me in contact with him, and he lives in Brooklyn. And he flat out told me, like, yeah. Basically, that's how that's how it is. It's all about, you know, looks and the that's just how it is. I was telling you, it was like Walmart. He was like, yeah. No. Marquise [00:34:17]: You know, this is what his friend is telling me. He's like, that's that snootiness that you know? Reginald Ferguson [00:34:23]: It's it's elitism. And I have to acknowledge to you as I'm having this conversation with you, Marquise, candidly, I'm cringing because I I am of this. I'm a native New Yorker. And I'm wondering if I would have had the same types of bias if I had met you in those scenarios. Now obviously, we met and we kicked it, we clicked, blah blah blah blah blah. I knew you were from a different place. I didn't care. But in that specific example, I feel bad because I think I could have been that person. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:02]: And that's why I had to ask you that question because I know in my heart, partially, if not the whole, it had to do with bias. It was regionalism. You're a southern brother. I'm a northern negro. Couldn't be any more different. And this is, you know, this is my home. I've been here all my life. Marquise [00:35:23]: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You made it. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:25]: So I also because I know you're a God fearing man, I also know that I believe obviously, in retrospect, I can say this. Because I can't speak for you. That this was the sign and this was the the beautiful cliche of one door closing and the other door opening. Marquise [00:35:44]: Absolutely. Absolutely. It was divine intervention, as, you know, I like to call it. And, Like, what's what's, you know, like, what's going on? And and this is what it led me to. And so like I said, Reyes, so here we go now. Right? You take my resume. I only have I don't have no New York experience. Okay? So now fast forward, I have that little Macy's Herald Square on there. Marquise [00:36:16]: I have that on there. That counts as for something. Now I have my I have my business. And so and then once I applied, it worked fashion week after I started the business. I actually missed the deadline. They had sent me the link to apply, and that's when it was Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Reginald Ferguson [00:36:33]: Yes. Sure. Marquise [00:36:34]: It was their last season. Oh, wow. 2nd of last season at Lincoln Center. Reginald Ferguson [00:36:39]: Oh, wow. Yeah. Marquise [00:36:41]: And I had missed that deadline. And so when it came back around for fall for, fall winter 15, they sent me the link again, and I applied and I got in. Now at that time, it was unpaid, but I didn't see. And and that was that's the thing. Like, I didn't care that was unpaid, and it was paid. That's what I always tell like, to tell people. You know, it's very so so for the listeners that's listening, like, you have to train change your perception of payment. Payment isn't necessary, always a monetary, value form. Marquise [00:37:13]: You know, you get payment in the experience that you get. And that's what I needed, you know, moving to New York City. So I didn't care that it wasn't paid monetarily because the experience I was gonna be getting working in New York Fashion Week, it doesn't get any bigger than New York Fashion Week. It don't get busier than New York Fashion Week. You know what I'm saying? Like, that's exactly what I needed. Fast forward, what, 13 seasons later, I'm still here. I'm still going. Because I've been doing New York Fashion Week since 2015, fall winter of 15. Marquise [00:37:48]: Every season, consecutive, back to back. I have not missed one season. And now I'm a lead venue assistant for New York Fashion Week. So now I have a a team, that I work with for the official shows, that take place at Spring Studios. And, you know, my fashion week experience is what led me to Nick Graham. Reginald Ferguson [00:38:11]: Well, can you before you make that transition, if you don't mind, can you explain to me and the listeners that title you just gave, that vendor, blah blah blah blah? Can you can you break that down on what it does you know, what it means, what it entails? Marquise [00:38:24]: Yeah. Absolutely. So I'm a lead a lead a lead venue assistant, for New York Fashion Week, the shows. And, basically, I have a team, and we work with the, venue manager and the backstage managers. And we work with the designers and their PR team. So we're assigned to a certain venue. If you've been to the shows, the New York Fashion Week Show that take place at Spring Studios in Tribeca, Most shows take place in 2 venues. You have, you have gallery 1 and gallery 2. Marquise [00:39:01]: Those are the 2 galleries that it shows take place. One venue is smaller than the other. Normally, the big designers get the bigger venue, and, you know, the newer designers get the the smaller venues. That's normally how it works. And so, normally, we're assigned to one venue. Although these last couple of season, they kind of had me in both venues. And, basically, we me and my team, we work with each designer's PR team and stuff. So as the designer come in with their team, you know, we work with their PR team, help them put down and run a show, help them get down to seating cards, help them do gift bags if they have gift bags for their guests. Marquise [00:39:41]: And then once that's all done, my team, you know, we set up all the seating charts, the signs, and all that kind of stuff. So if you ever go into a fashion show, you know, you your seating assignment is by letter, You know? So we, set that up. And then when the show starts and stuff, we're the ones that you see pulling the signs out and then, you know, exiting out of venue. But then we come back in, and we watch the shows and that kind of stuff. Then right after the show is over, we get set up for the next show, head backstage. Once we have once we have front of the house cleaned up, we get head backstage. You know, we get hair and makeup flipped over for the next designer team. We get backstage set up for the next show. Marquise [00:40:25]: And that's what we do for Wow. How many shows we schedule for. Sometimes I might work have 5 shows scheduled in a day, may have 4 shows scheduled in a day, and it goes back to back back to back. And so, basically, what I do is as a lead venue assist lead venue assistant, I check-in with a venue manager, find out, you know, what shows we have for the day, get a floor plan, all that kind of stuff, and I go back and get that to my team And, we make it happen. Reginald Ferguson [00:40:55]: Yeah. Understatement. How do you feel in light of the pandemic, and I don't know if you've been listening to some of our episodes, because we've been talking about the shows, whether it's in New York with NYFW or Paris, Milan, London. How do you envision things happening? Do you think your streak is about to be broken? Marquise [00:41:21]: I think so. I believe it is. I actually just reached out to my my boss to see if she heard anything from IMG. You know, IMG is the ones that I am, put on the shows. And, you know, with COVID and everything, everything is just kind of wonky right now, man. Because normally we we we would have been and heard something. I mean, it's August 24th. Yeah. Marquise [00:41:48]: Fashion week is like normally like the 1st week of September around, like, 7th. It normally takes place. Haven't heard anything yet. So I'm assuming I mean, given this late in the game, having knowing how it normally is, yeah, it's probably not. I know I heard that. I believe they're still having it, but they're cutting it to, like, 3 days a week. It's gonna be 3 days, and, I'm not really sure how they doing it. I already know, like, some big designers aren't gonna be involved. Marquise [00:42:19]: I believe. So and it might be, like, a virtual Reginald Ferguson [00:42:22]: I was about to say, do you do you think it sounds like a lot. There's gonna be a transition through video. So how do does obviously, it affects you. It impacts you. But do you still think you'll have a role, is my point. Marquise [00:42:41]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:42:44]: Do you think that you will or, you know, or you think it's like you said, is it I mean, it sounds like you've already answered it really that you Yeah. Marquise [00:42:52]: Yeah. Yeah. I'm I don't I don't I don't I don't this this season, I think, is gonna be a a no go, unfortunately. But, you know, it's it's weird for all of us right now. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:04]: Sure. Sure. Let's stay on the pandemic because I wanna tell the listeners why we reconnected. Because, you know, I reached out to you a few times, Marquise, and you kinda -Right. -Yeah. Kinda disappeared on me. But you're doing something right now that I saw in your Instagram. And because you're an aggressive salesperson, though you had ghosted me, you had the temerity to reach out to me to see if my heart wasn't so cold. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:37]: So but in the same breath, I had said to you, Hey, man. You should do something like this. So I wanna take partial credit. But you, of course, you took it and you made it much bigger. So you, like a lot of designers, you're involved with masks. Mhmm. You reached out to me Marquise [00:43:55]: to sell me a mask. Yes, sir. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:58]: And the reason why you did that is because a lot of people are doing this. Hey, if you buy 1, we give 1. But you're doing something very different. And I want the audience to know and understand and hopefully get involved. When I purchased the mask from you, Marquise, what did you do? Marquise [00:44:21]: Right. So what we have right now is we're doing a bio mask and give a mask, but our mask is going to the homeless occupying New York City streets. And, you know, when COVID ripped through here, New York City, man, really hit the shelters and stuff really hard. And, you know, when you walk the streets in New York City, you see the homeless people, man, just sitting and, you know, don't have any mask or anything. And as governments and all started to do all these mask mandates and things, they were like, you know what? The homeless have no way of, you know, protecting themselves or anything as, you know, you would pass them on the street. So and so, you know, why not speaking to our higher purpose, use this as a time to, help out the homeless here in New York City. And so we came up with a buy a mask, give a mask campaign, where for every mask purchased, we donate in one handmade blue one to the homeless on New York City streets. And on September 5th, our goal is to hand out a 100 masks, to the the homeless. Marquise [00:45:35]: And I have a partner that's gonna be doing it with me, and, I'm so grateful for him. He actually works for FEMA, and, he has a whole lot of, like, you know, travel size shampoos and soaps and all this kind of thing. So we're gonna put together a little, bag as well that's gonna have the mask in it. It's gonna have soap. It's gonna have shampoos, all this kind of stuff, you know, self care, to help them out. And, you know, and and that's what it's that's that's what it's about. So that's what we're doing, with our mask. You buy a mask, and you give 1 blue one to the homeless. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:16]: Marquise, I gotta tell you. I think that's that's really incredible. I was really happy to make a purchase of a mask. I've been getting a lot of masks on the hookup. But when you sent me that email, I said, yeah. Let's let's do this. So September 5th essentially is 2 weeks away, brother. Marquise [00:46:41]: Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:42]: So where are you at your goal? Have you how close are you to a 100? Marquise [00:46:50]: We are currently at we are currently at, 34. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:59]: Okay. Marquise [00:47:00]: Yeah. We currently have 34. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:03]: So you have a lot of work to do. Marquise [00:47:05]: Yeah. We probably Reginald Ferguson [00:47:06]: have 30 Marquise [00:47:07]: 4. Weeks. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:07]: Okay. You have a lot of work to do in the next 2 weeks, bro. Marquise [00:47:10]: Yeah. I know. Right? Reginald Ferguson [00:47:11]: That's that's Marquise [00:47:12]: the goal, man. So for everybody that's on here listening, could head over to the website, man. It help us accomplish our our goal, man. I would really love to hit that goal, man. Alright. Listen, if we if we can help Reginald Ferguson [00:47:27]: if we can help on the pod, what why don't you spell out your URL for the audience right now? We know the Insta. The Insta, ladies and gentlemen, is Marquis, marquis, rashod, r a s h o I d. So you can find out on the Insta. And you have a link, actually. Right? So we don't even have to tell them the URL because there's a link in the bio. And if you do that, they're good quality masks. I've taken some photos, but I had to wait till we did this, brother. Because Oh. Marquise [00:47:59]: Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:59]: Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Is doing the best they can, like you said, here in New York City and designers are, you know, giving free masks to great, you know, targets. But you were the first one for the homeless, and it it blew me away. Marquise [00:48:21]: Yeah, man. Because it's it's it's like you just see them all over the street, man. Like, you know, they they they don't have they don't have anything. And, you know, that's something that that that that that I wanted to, that I wanted to to do as well. And Reginald Ferguson [00:48:43]: you do it? Yeah. You are you are little. You're literally doing it, man. Marquise [00:48:48]: And it's all handmade, man. It's me. It's me. My 2 little my 2 hands, man. So, like, I'm I'm making it all. There's no there's no there's no third party. There's nobody. It's just it's me and my sewing machine, and this is what we're doing. Reginald Ferguson [00:49:03]: Right. Marquise [00:49:05]: Yeah. So Reginald Ferguson [00:49:06]: It's a nice it's a nice mask, bro. It's good quality. Marquise [00:49:11]: Oh, absolutely, man. Absolutely. Reginald Ferguson [00:49:13]: Well, how about we Marquise [00:49:14]: talk about real quick what got me on to that? Yeah. Please. Please. Please. So yeah. So when COVID first started here, I actually, there was this this, sewing company out of Westchester that was making masks for the first responders, when they had that big shortage of mask. Reginald Ferguson [00:49:32]: Yes. Marquise [00:49:33]: And, they were calling on all seam seamstress and sewers, even if you weren't a sewer, you know, to get involved with the Sew Happy Movement. That's what they called it, To, donate masks to, like, Mount Sinai and these hospitals and first responders. And I actually found out about them on Instagram from one of our followers who live in Westchester. She promoted it, and I was like, you know what? I can sew. I can learn how to make these masks. You know? She put up a YouTube video, you know, about how to do. And I was like, you know what? I can do this. They're calling on us right now that so to help out because there's a shortage of masks. Marquise [00:50:19]: And, and that's what I did. So I partnered, I helped them out and made some masks and that's how we got started. So I started off making masks for the first responders, with this company only. It wasn't open to the public. I was just, you know, I was just doing it for that. Then I had people asking me. Reginald Ferguson [00:50:41]: I really yeah. I mean, like I said, I mean, it's great to hear the origin story. And now I, yeah. I wanna see I wanna see what we can do. Try to get you try to get you closer to your number. There's no there's no question about that. Like I said, no one no one had that angle. So, really, if if that's even the appropriate work, but, you know, the right bottom line, you're doing god's work. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:09]: I think it's really I think it's really cool. Marquise [00:51:11]: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's gonna be an awesome awesome day, man. I'm looking looking forward to it, man. My wife wants to come and take our son, who just turned 2, you know, started getting him exposed to doing things like this, you know, little selfless acts of service. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:28]: Yeah. Yeah. It's never it's never too young. You're never too young to understand that. So, Marquise, man, it's been a real pleasure. We barely scratched the surface. Because I really wanted to get I really wanted to get into Brothers and Bowties and Bean Pies, but that didn't happen. I'm disappointed in myself. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:50]: But That's Marquise [00:51:50]: a wrap. But that we got some good content, though, man. We got a good good discussion. And, hopefully, we we, you know, we encourage someone and also educated someone at the same time through this interview. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:05]: Sure. No. Absolutely. We'll have we'll have to have you on again because like I said, we really scratched the surface. There's so many different ways, we could have gone. I guess I chose the most obvious, but I don't know, I don't know when I'll see you. We're in phase 4. Marquise [00:52:22]: Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:23]: But, please be safe to you and yours. Please let me know what happens September 5th. I have it marked in my brain. And more power to you, man. I think it's you're doing really cool work. Marquise [00:52:38]: I appreciate it, man. It's all I got, man. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:41]: Absolutely. Marquise [00:52:42]: All I got. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:44]: That's Marquise Ellison and Marquise Rashad. I'm Reg. Always be fly.
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