"One thing we've taken heed of is the benefits of being your own"
You may think the millennials are some new generation type of reckless hippies, but... we are actually that and so much more. We have learned from those before us, like how to navigate this thing called life and one thing we've taken heed of is the benefits of being your own. No one wants to sit behind a desk for 8 hours a day, in an uncomfortable work environment, with coworkers and a boss that make us puke at the thought of them. We've taped into our creative abilities and seize opportunities, we follow our dreams and don't let anyone stop us. This goes for owner and creative, Marcus King, who started the clothing brand in 2014.
The Phantòme clothing line (@thephantomebrand) is a local retail business that started on the campus of Bowie State University in Bowie, MD. At the beginning of Kings' business venture, he had an idea and made pieces just for fun, showing off his creative skills. It wasn't until January 1, 2017 that King decided he was going to be really dedicated and determined to bring his brand to an elite status. King wanted to prove to his self he could be a great business man and excellent marketer. Since then he's been challenging his self to push, not only his brand, but his self too.
"King wanted to prove to his self he could be a great business man and excellent marketer."
King, being a good friend of mine for some years now, allowed me to accompany him to a pop up shop at the University of Maryland CP. It was really inspiring to see how motivated and happy he was when he introduced his brand to potential consumers and how grateful he was to those who made a purchase. It does make your heart smile when people invest in your vision.
After the pop up shop, I got the opportunity to sit with King and really get into Phantòme:
- Tell me about the Phantome clothing brand, the overall concept & how it came about: PHANTôME is a clothing line, mainly urban street wear products for right now. I wanted my clothing line to convey a strong message, a powerful message, one that everyone can relate to. So I started to look up words that represented all theses in one word, which would also look good on a shirt, or other branding items. First the name of my company was Fantome ,but I didn't like the look of it, so I took the F off the word and add a PH. PHANTôME, which means one has to be a fan of their self before becoming a fan of anyone else. You have to believe in yourself, so much so that others think you're crazy. You can't let your biggest fan down, which is you. Be your own biggest fan is the message.
- What inspired you to start PHANTôME?: I wanted to explore business and also my creative side, just to see how well I could do at marketing my own products. Plus, some of my friends had some success in the industry and I didn't see why I couldn't either. One of my friends I went to college with made a shirt and Rihanna wore it. When he found out the news the look on his face was priceless and very motivating. I knew then it was time for me to put my creative side to work.
- Describe your creative process: The first thing I do when creating anything, I would say is figuring out my resources. What do I have around me, what don't I have? I do away with all negativity and focus. It may seem like a cliché answer, but negativity and being unfocused, it really hurts the creativity. I need to be either around positive vibes or in a quiet room. This is for anything I create, if it's me writing my stand up comedy, instagram skits, drawing a design, writing my goals or a business plan.
- What has been your most successful design?: My cropped hoodie designs are doing really well, it seems like I make those the most each week. My shirts do very well at pop up shops and I'm branching out into a lot of different products to sell.
- Where do you see your brand going?: I see my brand opening eyes to people that have a lot of self-confidence or people seeking to be more confident. I always say the sky is the limit with my business because I'm still learning everyday.
- What is your overall goal for this brand?: My overall goal is to inspire the next leader. People hearing messages that they need to be their own biggest fan maybe the words that will spark the next great thing. I ultimately am aiming to be bigger than fubu while staying humble and being true to my craft.
- How has social media and networking helped your brand?: Social media has been a game changer when marketing my products. Social media wasn't around 10 to 15 years ago, but now it's easier to get your stuff out there for people to see if they like it or not. My biggest marketing technique is talk to everyone you know. Your network is your net worth. People are going to buy what they want to buy and I do not like to be sold.
- What are the influences behind some of your pieces? My mother is my biggest influence hands-down. She is my glue , my X factor. The omega psi phi fraternity and my frat brothers influenced me to be great, seek knowledge at all times and always be uplifting. Plus my future family, as a young black man I want to be able to provide and guide my own family through anything. I want to be able to give my kids more than what my parents gave me, not saying that they did a bad job because they did a great job, but my grandparents and my parents all wanted me to be way better than they were, so I will uphold tradition.
- What is the best part of your job? Being free to create whatever I want . I don't have a boss. The best part about my job is the part that people do not get to see. The late nights, the hard work, the never ending grind. I don't have a boss but that does not mean I have to lack being a boss. Those all make my job fun. Some see those as the tough times but like I said before I do away with all the negativity and look at everything in a positive light. These are the things that build a strong character and your character speaks before anyone talks to you. I enjoy that!
- Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? In the next five years I see myself doing extraordinary things. I see me owning multiple homes and I see myself starting starting that stable family that I've been talking about. I see myself as a cool ass 29-year-old that is still carefree and loves life [hopefully my beard grows in by then] I see myself performing in front of thousands of people doing stand up Comedy, making people laugh, making money from my passions. I see PHANTôME being a franchise with 5 to 6 stores. Also being able to do some next level designing with the graphic design skills that I am acquiring right now.