Bronx native Terrel Marcus, also known as “Styled by TMARK”, is a young entrepreneur with a passion for redesigning headwear, then reselling it through social media.
So, tell us a little bit about yourself…
My name is Terrel but everybody calls me Tmark. I’ve tried to transcend that into “Styled By Tmark” to make it more of a brand. And I'm born and raised in the Bronx.
What were some things that inspired you at a young age and framed up who you are today?
I got to give all the credit to my mom… having older brothers as well. And especially sneaker culture.
My middle brother was into the Nike basketball stuff and my oldest brother was into the Jordan stuff. I remember growing up, my mom would buy all of us the sneakers. But I was pretty much only into sneakers because my older brothers were back then.
Fashion and all that was instilled in me from my mom. She used to have us in Tommy Hilfiger when we were young. I also remember in junior high, she took us to Woodbury Commons (Shopping Center) and bought us brands like Iceberg and stuff like that. She gets all the credit. My mom definitely instilled a lot of that fashion stuff in me at a very young age.
Tell us about the journey of Styled by Tmark and how you thought of taking headwear and flipping it to make it your own? How’d that whole idea and thought process start?
Fitteds are just one of those things that everybody wears. In the 90s, I think back to my stepdad buying me and my brother Yankee fitteds every time he got paid. Fitteds were always one of those things that represented your city. The Yankee fitted, the LA Dodger fitted, the Chicago White Sox…all the major cities. After a while, I started collecting them. My goal was to collect all 27 of the Yankee World Series hats… but then I learned they had patches for the years they lost, too! It just kept going from there.
Later on, I was on vacation in Belize and I just randomly started to think about hip hop and that iconic era of the 90s and early 2000s… I'm a big music fan. So, I started to think about how I could combine fitteds and hip hop together. I wanted to make that connection because it's like, you can throw any logo on a hat, but how does it make sense?
I ended up doing a lot of research, checking if it had been done before. I started sourcing old photos and was like, yo, these guys always wore Yankee hats or they always wore Mets hats. This person always wore LA hats. White Sox hats or whatever. I just had to say to myself, “I'm going to try it."
So, I gave it a shot… and the first couple samples came out terrible. But I still have those hats today because it shows the growth I’ve made.
Once I had a sample that was presentable, I posted it on Instagram, just to see the reaction, and people loved it! Alright, I don't think this is good enough to put in production and sell, but I see the vision of it. If I can find a better embroiderer, a better digitizer and figure out the process of building it, this really could be a thing.
A lot of the products that I first dropped weren't my best because it was still trial-and-error, but I was able to do a pop-up. I want to say over 300 people showed up for my first pop-up. Shortly after, folks at New Era started having conversations about the hats I was doing because boutiques were calling up, like, "Yo, how do I get this hat in my store?”
From that point, I was able to sit down with a couple reps and connect the dots with a lot of artists as well. Nas wore my Illmatic hat, Lebron James wore some of my hats, guys like DJ Clark Kent and Mayor… all that opened doors and streamlined interest for my brand.
How did you link up with Stance? How does Stance fit with your everyday style?
I link up with Stance when I got invited to an event at Sweet Chick in Brooklyn. I was introduced to Albie Rosario (VP of business development) who became one of my mentors, and also look at him as a big brother. Stance fits my everyday style because I love to be comfortable, and I truly feel like they have the best underwear out there. My love for sneakers comes with my love for socks. I feel like Stance has the number 1 sock in the world. Durable, Comfortably and Creative…The best.
So what's next for Terrel “Tmark” Marcus?
We're starting to tap more into apparel stuff. I want to create something that people are going to be able to wear all the time, not just once or twice. I'm not a huge fan of “merch” because I feel like merch is for the moment. It’s for an event or something like that, where you buy a merch shirt so you can remember that moment. I want to design things that are more like everyday pieces. So now, I’m tapping into shorts, t-shirts and hoodies, because all of that stuff plays a part in the uniform.
That's going to be my next step, and then, just building a strong enough team. I think team is very important. I feel like a lot of people have this perception where everybody wants to be in the limelight. Everybody wants to be in front of the camera… and I don't mind sharing that. I always give the example where everybody wants to be Jay, but nobody wants to be Emory. Nobody wants to be Ty Ty. Nobody wants to be Lenny. But those people are bosses within their circle. There’s nothing wrong with being one of them.