Marquel Bunch, AKA, ClassicMarqB is a multitalented entrepreneur, and the creator of House of Awe!
Who is ClassiqMarB?
I'm a producer, engineer, videographer, fashionista, designer and more!
How did you get started as a designer?
My mom. She passed away a couple years ago, but she was a DJ, teacher, philanthropist, all of that. She had me DJ'ing in elementary school. Once that started I was drumming and that led to producer, engineer, videographer. Me being a multimedia guy and having my own personal brand made me want to wear my own stuff, so that's really where it started. Me doing music, riding around with other people and seeing how they would screen print shirts was very cool to me. So I started making pieces and was designing my own stuff and all of my art. Then I said to myself, I might as well make a clothing line.
I had a mixtape release party when I first launched and I had 30 t-shirts on the table. I wasn't expecting anything but they sold-out. I was like, "okay, this is dope!" and took it from there.
How did you come up with your brand name "House of Awe"?
It started out as "Very Awesome" because I wanted it to represent Virginia. There are a lot of innuendos in the animals and prints that I use, that represent Virginia to me, like cardinals and the monarch butterfly. The acronym for Very Awesome is VA, so I wanted people to put it on and it say "VA" but not be limited to Virginia. It means way more than just Virginia, so from there I changed it to "House of Awe".
What was your experience like at the Foster Beauty Fashion Show, showing your pieces on the runway for the first time?
As an artist that was the best experience ever. Better than me performing, rapping, singing, anything.
I spent a long time working on these pieces...like, months. And before I walk out no one knows it's me [the designer]. The fact that people were clapping and cheering for the individual models wearing my clothes before they saw me, that was it. For the crowd to be clapping during the flood (finale walk) before they even saw me was beautiful. I loved it.
The difference with music, I feel like I don't get a genuine reaction when I'm around. If I'm playing music you might like it or not, but you might pretend to like it for me. With the fashion show they see the clothes before they see me, so it's a genuine reaction.
What's it like for you managing the "business" side of your business as a creative?
It's a lot of self-control. A lot of planning and knowing exactly what you want to do before you do it so you're not spending frivolous money.
When it comes to selling clothes I have to pay attention to how much I'm buying my blanks for, how much it's going to cost to do DTG work, how much it will cost to do embroidery work. Then I need to figure out my profit, what's the ROI (Return on Investment). If I'm spending $100 on a luxury blank, French Terry Cotton from France, I still have to cut it, put my embroidery on it and whatever I want to do to make the piece significant, so that might cost me $65. Now I'm $165 in, so I can't just sell the hoodie for $170. It's a mixture of that, figuring out where and how to market and the best places to market. I have billboards, Facebook and Google ads, and influencer marketing is a really big thing.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in music and/or fashion as a career?
Patience is key. Consistency is key. It's easier said than done.
Take it one day at a time, make sure you don't quit. It sounds cliché but it's real. Don't quit and set small goals for yourself. Celebrate the small wins so you don't get burnt out. And it doesn't matter if you perform in front of three people. Cherish every individual who supports you.
Click here to watch the full interview on YouTube (It's packed with so many gems!)