Jason Markk Believes Your Energy Invites Opportunity

He details the “aha” moments, the creation process, growing pains and much more for his sneaker cleaning solution.

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Jason Markk Believes Your Energy Invites Opportunity
Business of HYPE
8,238 Hypes 5 Comments

Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders, entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. This week, jeff sits down with entrepreneur Jason Markk.

Following a career in advertising and DJing, Jason Markk and his namesake cleaning solution changed the sneaker industry by becoming the go-to product for sneakerheads everywhere. After reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, the California native was inspired to view his life through a lens of opportunity and has since applied this perspective throughout his business.

One day after cleaning his sneakers with dishwashing soap, Jason realized the industry lack this niche product. This aha moment sparked him to begin his research, putting together decks, gathering market research and fundraising money. With about $20K USD, he contracted a chemist to create an original solution, and in 2007 he launched Jason Markk. He handled sales, marketing, production and distribution; he even sent out care packages to streetwear influencers to help build the brand.

“We’ve been fortunate to have a very organic gradual growth. As long as we deliver a solid product that delivers this experience and I focus on the brand, everything else will come. The money will come, whatever. Opportunities will come. That’s all I knew. The brand, so that’s all I did.”

Soon after his launch, Jason was introduced to Rick Salazar, who helped bring in a larger network of buyers by attending various parties and tradeshows, which led to run-ins with figures like Jupiter Desphy and Stash, both of whom collaborated with the brand. While the 2008 recession took a hit on Jason’s finances, he stayed afloat through part-time gigs. The business eventually stabilized and he then continued networking, setting up international distributors, and hiring a larger team. 

Reflecting on his career, Jason admits that while there were many growing pains, especially with the onset of competing brands, he remains grateful. He never once doubted that his company would fail and advises us that “the energy you put out there allows opportunities to present itself, and then it’s up to you to sort of decipher ‘is this a good opportunity?’”

As always, thank you for tuning into HYPEBEAST Radio and Business of HYPE. You can subscribe to our channel on AppleSpotifySoundcloudStitcherOvercastAnchor or wherever else you get your podcasts. Please don’t forget to leave a comment or review.

Additionally, feel free to hit Jeff on Twitter, @jeffstaple, or via email at questions@businessofhype.com, and he may answer your question on a future episode.

This episode features references to the following:

4:40 – Jason Markk‘s two locations
6:49 – Early beginnings
8:30 – DJing
12:21 – Rich Dad Poor Dad
13:19 – Inspiration for the brand
14:48 – Proper
14:40 – Blends
24:00 – Creating the solution
35:15 – Marketing the brand
37:57 – Rick Salazar
39:00 – Jupiter Desphy
41:18 – UNDEFEATED
42:04 – Stash
43:38 – 2008 Recession
48:06 – Trader Joe’s
51:56 – Agenda
53:40 – First distributor
56:23 – Slam Jam, Gimme5
57:19 – Law of Attraction
1:02:13 – Building his team
1:05:11 – Collaborators
1:05:11 – Foot Locker
1:07:40 – Growing pains
1:11:29 – Advice

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Host
jeffstaple
In collaboration with
byt.nyc
Director
Daniel Navetta
Photographer
Ali Imam
Producer
Christina Hong/HYPEBEAST

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