Q&A with Mark Holcomb, Communications Director at GREATS

fansMark Holcomb became a client of mine when he was referred by a mutual friend. We spent a good amount of time together looking for his home and got to know each other during that time. He had interesting information to share about style and fashion, and had a unique business perspective from which I learned a lot. I invited him to be part of my Q&A series to share his background, business perspective, and what his life is like in NYC. 

JD: What was the path that led you to what you are doing today?

MH: While in college I worked in marketing/production at MTV on Total Request Live, but knew my future path would be in fashion. After I left TRL, I worked on multiple other shows at the network and shot a pilot for a new edition of MTV House of Style. I worked closely with one of the designers featured on the show, stayed in touch and eventually began working for him. Following that move, I worked my way up multiple PR agencies and now work in house at GREATS, who was also a previous client of mine.

GREATS Nero Royales
GREATS Nero Royales

JD: As a child, what did you think your future career would be?

MH: During my elementary school days I wanted to be an artist and then that slowly turned into wanting to be a veterinarian while I was in middle school. Once I started working retail at the GAP during high school, I knew I wanted to work in fashion marketing in some capacity.

JD: What do you love most about the work you do?

MH: My favorite part of my job now is watching a plan come to life. I typically work four months out on most features/placements in magazines and events surrounding product launches. Seeing your pitches and product on the page of a magazine or in editorial online is a great feeling.

Black Woosters

JD: What does a typical workday look like for you?

MH: One of my favorite things about my job is that it’s different everyday. Some days it’s meetings/lunches/drinks with editors, showing and pitching them new products or story ideas. Another day it could be a photo shoot for a new lookbook we are working on at the office with our creative team. Some weeks are spent in Italy walking trade shows looking for new trends or watching the latest men’s fashion walk the runway in Milan.

Business casual – sneakers to work

JD: Is there anything about modern corporate life that you still have a hard time adapting to?

MH: I’ve never really worked in an extremely corporate environment, I prefer to work in a more relaxed atmosphere. Let’s just say I don’t wear a suit and tie to work, I’m more of a sneakers to the office kind of guy.

JD: Have you always had an interest in style / sneakers?

MH: Yes, I have always been into style and sneakers. Since an early age I knew exactly how I wanted to look and dress. My style has definitely evolved over the years and still continues to change.

Mark on a recent outdoor adventure
Mark on a recent outdoor adventure

JD: Who were some of your biggest influences or role models through the years?

MH: I’m a very big fan of music, so that affects the way I dress a lot. Also, I grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s so those references make their way into my wardrobe quite a bit.

Snapshot of Mark's style
Snapshot of Mark’s style

JD: Who are some of your greatest style influencers now?

MH: I don’t really follow certain people, I like to be the leader of my own style. My inspirations for the way I dress come from musicians, people I follow on Instagram, or someone I might pass on the street to name a few.

JD: What do you like about GREATS being handmade in Italy?

MH: There is much more care and quality in the product when it is handmade, especially Italian products.

GREATS Woosters
GREATS Woosters

JD: How do GREATS differ from most modern sneaker companies?

MH: GREATS is a direct to consumer sneaker brand, so we only sell our products on greats.com. Other sneaker brands sell at all retail levels from high to low to discount stores.

Royales and Royale Highs
Royales and Royale Highs

JD: Which are your preferred styles?

MH: My top three favorite styles are the Royale, Wooster and Royale High.

Obama with his gift of a custom-made pair of GREATS
Obama with his gift of a custom-made pair of GREATS

JD: How did you get Barack Obama to pose holding a pair of GREATS?

MH: One of our founders had been invited to the White House, two years ago. We made a custom pair for former President Obama and hand delivered them to him while visiting.

JD: Who else do you count among GREATS fans?

MH: We have quite a few celebrity fans: Daniel Radcliffe, Billy Eichner, Andy Samberg, and the list continues to grow as the company gets larger.

JD: I see you make playlists every month. Tell us about that.

MH: I make a monthly playlist on Spotify that is released the first of every month. The playlist is made up of everything I was listening to the previous month. So while all my friends are listening to my February 2017 playlist, I’m jamming to March 2017.

JD: Can you share your February playlist with us?

MH: Of course, and please follow! (click on the image below)

JD: What does a typical Saturday look like for you?

MH: I no doubt sleep in a bit and then take my dog Punky for a walk around McCarren Park. Then it’s off to brunch with friends for a few hours then shopping, bar hopping, or maybe a party at a friend’s place. Come home, change clothes and clean up for the evening. Have a fun dinner with friends and then it’s time to dance the night away.


JD: Where in NYC do you live?

MH: I live right on the border of Greenpoint and Williamsburg so I get the best of both neighborhoods.

JD: Favorite NYC neighborhood?

MH: Williamsburg

JD: NYC neighborhood you’ve been meaning to check out but haven’t?

MH: I want to explore more of Dumbo, downtown Brooklyn and Red Hook

Image of The Rusty Knot courtesy of grandlifehotels.com
Image of The Rusty Knot courtesy of grandlifehotels.com

JD: What are 3 of your favorite NYC hangouts?

MH: SoHo House, The Rusty Knot and Barry’s Bootcamp.

JD: How did you end up in NYC?

MH: I grew up in West Virginia and moved to NYC right after high school to attend college.

Ceiling at Grand Central Station, Image courtesy of Wikimedia
Ceiling at Grand Central Station, Image courtesy of Wikimedia

JD: Do you have have any favorite NYC buildings or architecture?

MH: I love the ceiling at Grand Central station, it’s such a classic piece of New York history.

JD: Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?

MH: I see myself leading a PR/Communications team at the largest direct to consumer lifestyle/footwear brand, GREATS.

JD: Thank you for your time, Mark.

MH: Thanks, Joe. It’s been a pleasure.

Follow Mark on Instagram @markholcomb. 
Follow GREATS on Instagram @greatsbrand.

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