Fashionpreneur Series (5) Marc Ecko: “Determined, Restless, A Little Awkward, Yet Always Graceful.”

BY DOLA ADESANYA

Marc Ecko born Marc Louis Milecofsky began doing clothing design in the family garage, using it as both a studio and showroom.  What became his career began while Ecko was still at high school, he self advertised his own T-shirts, and became the guy known for making T-shirts. Armed only with an airbrush and his custom graphic designs, Ecko quickly built a loyal fan base and even while at high school,  Ecko cashed between $600-$700 weekly.

His high school guidance counsellor convinced him he needed a profession. Being the son of a pharmacist, Ecko decided he would attend the School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University. Unsurprisingly, Ecko admitted that a degree in pharmacology was not for him “I could do this and pursue a career having to do with pharmacy and be quite average and definitely not be happy” he said. The turning point for Ecko came in 1993, when he was in his third year at Rutgers, the school’s dean encouraged him to take a year off and pursue his dream. “You don’t want to be 40 with regrets,” the dean said.

In 1993 and at age 20, Ecko left Rutgers and founded his clothing brand eckō UNLTD.  He started the t-shirt company with investments from his sister Marci and a friend, Seth Gerszberg. To brush up on his skills, Ecko traveled to Hong Kong to learn about the clothing industry. Early signs of success appeared to be when the eckō UNLTD T-shirts were worn by filmmaker- Spike Lee and Chuck D.-founder of the of rap group Public Enemy. In that same year, his first line of T-shirts was featured on the popular morning show Good Morning America.  This helped bring attention to his fledgling business.

Ecko followed his passion and within a couple of years, sales for Ecko Unlimited were in the hundreds of millions of dollars. However, in 1998, Ecko Unlimited faced financial difficulties, sales that year totalled $36 million. Two years later and with a bit more persistence, sales more than doubled to $96 million and the company was able to pay off all its debts. In 2002, the men’s sportswear division of Ecko Unlimited had revenues of at least $300 million. Indeed, the rhino logo is synonymous with the company’s spirit- “determined, restless, a little awkward, yet always graceful”

As he aged, Ecko wanted his clothes to evolve with him, “I am growing up with our customer” he said. In 2004, he introduced the Marc Ecko “Cut & Sew” collection.  This line focused on tailored clothing for men. In that same year, Marc Ecko Enterprises reported international sales of approximately $1 billion. Sales grew over time as Ecko Unlimited continually added more products and brands to become a lifestyle company.

In year 2010, Marc Ecko became an emeritus board member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, remarkably, he is the youngest member ever to be inducted into the Board of Directors for the Council. Today, Marc Ecko Enterprises has grown to include eckō unltd.- the leading young men’s brand, Eckored- its female counterpart, the contemporary Marc Ecko “Cut Sew” collection, G-Unit Clothing Company, Avirex Sportswear, Complex magazine, and Marc Ecko Entertainment- a full service production company, with a focus on interactive entertainment.

Dola Adesanya || is an astute lawyer with a good business acumen. She loves everything motivational.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s