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Marc Ecko - Founder of Ecko Unlimited

Marc Ecko, Founder of Ecko Unlimited, discusses his origins as an entrepreneur and the entrepreneurial culture of Hip Hop. Describing graffiti as the extreme sport of art, Marc talks about how this form of artistic expression was his gateway to entrepreneurship and offers advice to young people.  Created by Kauffman Foundation.

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  • leaf grey style avatar for user syanicke
    Is the video ended supposed to end abruptly (mid sentence) at ish?
    (11 votes)
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  • mr pants teal style avatar for user Christina Scarborough
    Umm... i'm the type of person that listens to hip hop but , who is Mark Ecko ?
    (0 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Mark  Saint
    I've had the Pleasure of Meeting Marc Personally, and Thank You for the Book! From Guts to Skin is the Consistant Theme in Your Speaches and Book. What Outlets would You Connect Entrepreneurs to, like which ONE would You HOPE a Golden Idea to Fall and Where! Which Fly in Which Web?
    (3 votes)
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  • orange juice squid orange style avatar for user Blaze Runner™
    Is this made by khan?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user AJ.Money0123
    how did he get the money to start ecko
    (2 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user Mark  Saint
      He Did NOT Inherit the $$$ - He Scraped by, he says so in His Book - Unlabled - Tells of getting the $$$ from his folks for his first air brush gun, busted shirts through HS and went to College, but it wasn't for him, he paired with a homie with a small amount, then found Investors for like $60K to REALLY get into Retail Shops and the Rest is Talent and History!
      (1 vote)
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  • starky tree style avatar for user ☬
    ☬'s and ⛧'s chat thread only.
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  • blobby green style avatar for user richie davila
    Explain how Marc Ecko created his empire and how it influenced him and society?
    (0 votes)
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  • piceratops seed style avatar for user Kristin Johnson
    What does "emotional transaction" at mean? I have an idea--psychic reward, perhaps?
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  • ohnoes default style avatar for user Riptides19
    Did Ecko Unlimited file for bankruptcy?
    (0 votes)
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    • leafers ultimate style avatar for user Justin
      Ecko Unltd. Has reportedly filed for bankruptcy protection. According to reports, the clothing company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it suffered due to the recession and changes in fashion trends. It is reported that the business has about $30 million in assets while it has about $62 million in debts.
      (1 vote)

Video transcript

- My name is Marc Ecko. I am by nature an artist. I came up at a time when it was a very unique window in popular culture. Hip hop was emerging. There was an entrepreneurial virus that is hip hop that rock and roll didn't quite have in the same way. There was a little bit more self loathing amongst the rock set in terms of the commercialization of their work. Where in hip hop, it's been embraced to go create industry around your ideas. It's become a part of the ecosystem because it's coming from nothing, right? And there's kind of this implied element of social justice as well in the business born out of what is hip hop and street culture. So that's kind of baked into the DNA of what we do. I love this fact that folks were making something from nothing. And my peer set were founding value basically in the ether amongst themselves. Four rappers would get together, rhyme in a circle, and all of a sudden, it was like, Oh, let's make a mix tape, like from nothing. I wanted to fit into that ecosystem. I couldn't rap, I couldn't break dance, right? But I did connect to art, so I kind of started to parrot the art of graffiti and started painting t-shirts. I love the emotive, the feedback. Both the financial feedback, that someone would pay me, as a 15 year old kid, to make them this t-shirt. And then they'd wear it with such pride and kind of beat their chest. And there was that kind of emotional transaction that was really powerful and created the feedback loop to want me to go and dig deeper. And pull on that thread, and keep unfolding what eventually became this path of entrepreneurship. It wasn't like I onboarded, because someone said, "Be an entrepreneur." I onboarded because I wanted to realize my dream. And I was an emotional, artistic kid. And graffiti was kind of like the extreme sport of art. That was a moment of luck for me. So many people were like, Graffiti's a gateway to crime, right? For me, it was a gateway to entrepreneurship. Go figure. I've really kind of been a curator of pop culture for let's say males 16 to 40. And that's been my lane. Having come up in the 80s, around hip hop and skateboarding culture and kind of the emergence of technology. I've just kind of trafficked in my hobbies. The things that I consumed as a kid are now the business. Young people know instinctively what it is they need to do. They just need to go out there and get it done. Shifting from what is effectively a consumer mindset to believing in themselves to be a producer. Going from I am consumer of X to I am maker of Y. That's an aspiration that is amongst all of us. But some of us, we just don't know how to do it. We kind of doubt ourselves. Why is it that you go to a classroom of kindergartners. You ask them, who in this room is an artist. Everybody raise their hand. You ask that same cohort 20 years later, no one raises their hand. Maybe one guy, and they look at him like he's a freak. Something's wrong there. You have to connect to your artist, your instigator. You know, it's right brain, it's left brain. It's chocolate, it's peanut butter. You have to find that.