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 and entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. This week, jeffstaple sits down with Scott Patt, Chief Creative Officer of Cole Haan, Mike Cherman, Designer and Founder of Chinatown Market, and Jeanne Grey, Influencer and Founder of GREYLAYERS at an intimate, live recording inside Cole Haan’s Soho location.
While each of these creatives took a different path to success, what brings them together is their hustle and ability to turn their passion into long-standing careers. Mike Cherman is the founder of Chinatown Market, a streetwear brand fusing pop-culture with quirky designs, puns and trendy collaborations. Loads of debt, a free booth at ComplexCon, five shirts fusing Frank Ocean with a swoosh design, and a trademark infringement case later, Chinatown Market was born. Having previously worked on a brand that relied heavily on investors and a traditional business model, Mike sought out a medium that juxtaposed freeform creativity and a business mindset.
“It’s the opposite of everything I’ve known in my life. We all love brands, but we never interact with them and we want to feel like your friend. The community that we try to build is the community that is supportive of creativity, and we want our consumers to feel like they can do it too.”
Jeanne Grey’s path had more traditional beginnings. Having gone to school for nursing, she had a knack for social media and created a blog that would result in her getting fired from two jobs due to the unfamiliarity of influencer marketing at the time. She tapped into the then unknown territory of that industry and today has her own successful lifestyle brand GREYLAYERS.
“I remember telling my husband I was so glad I got fired. This was a continuous 24/7 type hustle and it was hard, but I loved it. I wanted to do what I could so I never had to work for anyone else. The high you get from doing what you love is the best high you can possibly get.”
Then there’s Scott Patt, who studied exercise and sports science, wanting to become an orthopedic surgeon. Inspired by his architect brother, he decided to enter the creative world. From working at a medical editorial firm in Virginia to studying icon painting in Russia, he eventually moved to New York where he held titles at Armani and Converse. Today, he continues to push Cole Haan further into innovative design, fusing dress shoes with high performance sneakers that represent the “working person’s brand.”
Originally known as a dress shoe maker, the brand diversified its product offering by infusing purposeful innovation into both modern and classic design, with style and comfort at the forefront. Mike and Jeanne are two recent collaborators with Cole Haan’s Generation ZERØGRAND shoe — a line inspired by today’s progressive innovators and designed for a new generation shifting to less traditional work environments. Both have managed to create careers unique to their relatable and business-savvy personas. With a number of years under their belts, both Mike and Jeanne stress the importance of “making really cool shit,” but making it sellable all whilst balancing confidence and humility. Despite the uncertainty that can cripple young creatives today, Scott advises that imperfection and working hard are imperative.
“It’s okay if you don’t know what the exact thing is. Just do something, it’ll lead you to your next thing. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You figure it out. You zig and you zag. That’s part of the journey.”
As always, thank you for tuning into HYPEBEAST Radio and Business of HYPE. We’d also like to give a special thank you to Volcán Tequila for providing beverages for this event. You can subscribe to our channel on Apple, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Overcast, Anchor or wherever else you get your podcasts. Please don’t forget to leave a comment or review.
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