Welcome to Part 1 of our three-part Q&A series with Oy Brand creator Mark Royal. We sat down with Mark for a sneak peek at the story behind the brand, his future plans, and his tips for being a boss and staying inspired.
What inspired you to make Oy Brand a reality, and how did the creation story unfold?
It’s hard to pinpoint because my whole life has inspired Oy Brand. Things I’ve seen, things I’ve been through, things I’ve watched other people in my life go through.
OY is important for me to introduce to the world because I feel my calling is to lead by example. I was raised to be humble, but it’s just as important to not be afraid to show and share your blessings. I’ve been blessed in many ways in life, and I feel I have the responsibility to embrace that and let others know that they can also have the things they want out of life.
So many brands are just cash brands, not people brands. OY is not here to take advantage of people; it’s here to embrace them and to create an opportunity for them to empower themselves through self-expression.
The concept behind Oy Brand has always stayed with me. In 2004, the general idea began to marinate, and I was inspired to execute the plan once I gained the confidence to take the leap. I did some homework, and then when it was prime time (financially, personally, etc.) the vision unfolded.
Most of the stuff I was seeing in stores wasn’t the quality or design I was searching for, so I wanted to create a quality product that also meant something to me and share that with others. I met with the right people, Oy Brand eventually became an LLC, and it happened with hard work and confidence. Everything happens for a reason. I was looking for something I could be proud of for myself, for my family, and for the universe, and this is it.
What life experiences and lessons have influenced your creative and personal journey?
Though who I am and what I do today is really inspired by the sum of all my experiences so far, one specific lesson comes to mind.
When I was around 8 years old, my dad took me to the mall to pick up a pair of the newest Nike Jordans that I had wanted for a long time. When I went back to my mom with the shoes, she saw the price and took me back to the mall to look at other options. I was able to exchange the one pair of Jordans for two pairs of shoes I loved, plus another pair of shoes for my little brother. After this experience, I learned how to budget and how to manage. I started with one thing and was able to turn it into three of something else equally great. It’s all about getting the most out of any situation.
What was your career like before Oy Brand, and what made you want in on the design and fashion wear world?
I was brought up under fly guys, so I’ve always been into dressing sharp. I also like being creative.
I was part of my family’s auto business before starting Oy Brand. I got tired of it and found myself searching for something different at the end of the day. I thought back to what I really liked to do as a kid: designing things, being creative, working with colors. I ended up in design school, and when it came time to think about what to do afterward, I knew I wanted to work for myself rather than under someone else. It was the perfect time to execute Oy Brand, which had always been a pipe dream.Check back next week for Part 2 of Meet the Creator: The OY Look and Attitude.
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