Modern Fashion: Mark Corey Of YoHaTdawg On The 5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion Brand Today

Authority Magazine Published in Authority Magazine · 14 min read · Oct 4, 2023

Quality product. We make all of our headwear in house. From choosing our fabrics to the design of our hats and to the construction of each piece. It is done with LOVE. The final product is handmade with detailed craftsmanship. We take pride in all of our pieces.

Many in the fashion industry have been making huge pivots in their business models. Many have turned away from the fast fashion trend. Many have been focusing on fashion that also makes a social impact. Many have turned to sustainable and ethical sourcing. Many have turned to hi tech manufacturing. Many have turned to subscription models. What are the other trends that we will see in the fashion industry? What does it take to lead a successful fashion brand today?

In our series called, “5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion Brand Today” we are talking to successful leaders of fashion brands who can talk about the Future of Fashion and the 5 things it takes to lead a successful fashion brand in our “new normal.”

As a part of this series I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Mark Corey aka YoHaTdawg. YoHaTdawg is the baddest designer that has ever set out to design headwear streetwear. No one has created a hat with more styles and appearances than YoHaTdawg. YoHaTdawg has taken the world of Hats and turned it upside down. Literally.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood “backstory”?

Happily, I am originally from Ohio. I am adopted. I was raised by parents who had three girls. From a very young age, I loved fashion, especially hats. With my mom and sisters I loved watching television shows like Dynasty, Miss USA pageant , Miss. Universe Pageant anything related to fashion and style.. Since I was a child. It was all about putting together my outfit for the day-When I awakened, I would put time and effort into being colored coordinated. I have a photo of me as a 13 year old wearing a red zippered shirt, a white belt and blue jeans.The colors of the american flag- PaPow. I always wanted to make a fashion statement. And I would. I attended John H. Patterson High School and the junior and senior fashion show was the main event of the year. I knew when I was a sophomore I would audition for the show. It was scary, but I walked through it. I was chosen as one of the models. To this day I remember the moment that I saw my name posted on the list of students chosen to be in the show. The feeling was electric. I spent months planning and preparing for that show. In the show, I wore baby blue pants with a traditional button down collared shirt. that I cut the collar off to make it collarless. I wore a baby blue pants that were 5 inches to long and I cut the hems off of both legs and sewed them together to make a scarf, that I wrapped around my neck over a baby blue and white pinstripe jacket. I wore a tan cloth laced shoe with a see through orange heel. Yes, I was styling back then. And I had the eye for style. To top it off, I bargain shopped for all the items. The entire outfit I purchased was second hand from a thrift store. No one knew that but me. haha. I knew then it was all about the style and not so much about where the clothes came from.It was all about how it looked. I practiced walking for months before the show so when I walked down the runway, I was ready and I had style and a walk that was memorable. This was my first experience with fashion and I loved it . Although I had a love for fashion. I pursued a career in the hospitality industry. However I have been creating and styling fashion in some respect ever since. However, my love for headwear has always been at the forefront of my passion for fashion..

Can you tell us the story about what led you to this particular career path?

As a young child I always loved wearing hats. Hats of All shapes sizes and styles. Everyone that knows me could tell you that anytime they see me I have a hat on my head. What made me stick out was not only the hat but the way in which I wore the hat on my head. Overtime, I discovered that not only did I have a love for wearing hats, I have a natural God given talent for styling hats. Style that made me stick out in a crowd. People around me would always compliment me on my hat. There was an inner voice that told me that I could design and make my own hats., which led me to sign up for a sewing class. At my first class I knew that I was being called by a something greater than myself. I took to sewing like a fish to water. As I learned to sew I began designing the hats that I wanted to sew. This was when YoHatdawg was born.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career? It was when I created the brand name YoHaTdawg. I was in the bathroom in front of the mirror styling one of my first designs. In walks my dog Jerry. I looked at my dawg, best friend. Out of my mouth was WASSUP dawg. He smiled big. I looked down at the hat in my hand. Suddenly out of nowhere I spoke the words Yo — HaT — dawg. — It’s YoHaTdawg. — I felt like I had hit the lottery — -i felt chills throughout my body–it was the moment I realized THIS IS IT. I had created the third brand name -two prior brand name changes–because of this moment I just knew from the feeling I felt from my body that I had created the perfect brand name.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?

1. Perseverance -Since the inception of this venture, I have had numerous challenges-The idea to start my own headwear brand began in 2018-pre covid-during that time. I created a business plan. I came up with a name for the business -at that time, it was You ON A HAT. I designed a traditional ball cap and ordered products with my logo. I began executing the business plan. I reached out for support and contacted SCORE. I was assigned a mentor. I drove to a scheduled meeting to meet with my mentor. I laid out several of my hats on a table in his office. I was so proud of them and what I had accomplished. Excited about sharing my accomplishment with him. My mentor sat down at his desk and looked at my hats on the table ( I was beaming with Joy and Pride-so Proud of what I had accomplished) . He had this blank expression on his face and he asked me what was the name of my brand. I told him. You ON A HAT. He looked at me and said young man, there is nothing special about this. I know the guys involved with Lids. You need to go back to the drawing board and create something that is unique and has strong points of difference. Candidly he said “This is not it” I was dumbfounded. I sat in disbelief. Crushed inside. I smiled and thanked him for his feedback and time. I gathered up my hats-leaving one of the samples by mistake. He stood up and handed me his card. He said, “If there is anything that I can help you with, call me” I didn’t hear any of that. What I heard was Mark, you are no good, You are a piece of crap. I put my tail between my legs and I left his office. Again, Thanking him for his time. Never to call him again. Shortly thereafter COVID hit. I began working hard on exactly what my mentor had suggested. I began working on developing a product and brand that was unique and had strong points of difference .The whole time that I was working on my idea. Inside, my thoughts were I’ll show Him! That’s exactly what has happened. Five plus years later I developed a product that had strong points of difference. I have registered the brand name, reached Patent Pending status and I opened my first storefront here in Los Angeles on Melrose Ave.

2. Go-Getter-I not only wanted to design my own headwear, I also wanted to produce(create-cut and sew) my own products in house. I had one small problem, I did not know how to sew yet I wanted to start a custom made headwear company. And the world was in the middle of Covid on lockdown.I had plenty of time to work on my dream. And I did. I took advantage of the opportunity. I spent a time researching sewing teachers and a seamstress who could make a first round of sample designs. I researched a seamstress and she-Claudia made samples for me–this was a start. I was proud and excited that I had prototypes of my designs but I was not satisfied that I did not know how to sew. I wanted to learn how to sew my own designs. By that time, a first round of COVID restriction was lifted. I kept researching to discover a wonderful, amazing, talented, sewing teacher who is passionate about teaching and was starting to open up her classes to new students. While wearing a face mask I showed up to the class the first on Fridays with a sewing machine and all the tools I was instructed to purchase for class. Gwen was incredibly patient and she taught me the basic of sewing, pattern making 101 and how to make hats. I took to sewing like a fish to water. I made my first hat which I still have. When I first sat down at the sewing machine. I could feel a settling in my soul that I can’t explain, this was evidence that I was being guided by an inner force. . It’s been that way ever since that day. It’s effortless for me to make headwear.

3.Faithfulness- I have a strong faith in GOD. Good Orderly Direction- I am faithful to my commitment to always work toward being the best version of myself.. To always be loving, kind, understanding, compassionate and grateful. Gratitude is the remedy for all my challenges in my business as well as my personal life. When obstacles present, I go to my faith and I look for things to be grateful for. I always discover a solution. I take the next indicated step toward the solution while being grateful, which is an important part of my success.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

YoHaTdawg HATS are made inhouse. We design, produce and sell our own products. Every hat is one of one. YoHaTdawg is a storytelling brand. YoHaTdawg HATS tell a Story. My Story. Your Story.. YoHatdawg is about expression through art. Hats are the canvas and medium that I use to express myself and my art. Each design tells a story about my journey through life. The good, the bad and the ugly. The trials and tribulations of life. What it’s meant to live a life of transformation. (I’ve come to learn that all of our stories are similar, that’s how we connect through life’s challenges) I’ve discovered It’s not only the story, but the courage to share our stories that connect us. Here’s an example, I am biracial. Black and white. I design headwear using black and white color ways to express myself and my journey through life as a biracial person. In my designs I create pieces that represent who I am and what my journey through life has been like as a bi racial person. My discovery is that we are all one. Although our stories may be colored in many different colors we all feel the same. YoHaTdawg is a company that was not created for you to fit in, It was created for you to STAND OUT. BE YOU.

I have come to accept myself as I am, all of me. No matter what color you are, who you are ,where you come from, what you’ve been through . You can do great things.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote is “ Language constructs your experience” . I tell myself out loud that I am grateful . I am doing a great job today. I am worthy. I tell myself that I am the cheerleader and master of my life and my destiny. So I cheerlead myself. I always ask myself what’s good about you Mark? What’s good about this challenge? What’s good about the world? When life happens and things don’t always go as planned or my way. I tell myself Nothing is happening to me. Everything is happening for me. I got this. I have a solution and it’s on the way. I am excited. I am proud of you, Mark.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?

I see headwear reaching a new level of class. For example, hats are traditionally an accessory. I see YoHaTdawg breaking through the barrier, norms and traditions that hats are an accessory and becoming cutting edge whereby Headwear is no longer an accessory, it is the Star Attraction.

Can you share how your brand is helping to bring goodness to the world?

Wow, that’s a good question and an easy one to answer. I maybe too wordy. First we have a giving back program. We have pledged to give a percentage of our earnings to help with the needs of the unsheltered and with the fight against cancer. I can relate to my personal experience with both. At YoHaTdawg, we truly do care. Additionally YoHaTdawg HATS are fun, eye grabbing pieces of art when you experience a YoHaTdawg HAT it brings out the good in you so when you go out in the world. The world experiences your good. We harness the power of art on headwear and connection. This is an expression to do good. We continue to cheer our community that No matter who you are, where you come from , what you’ve been through, you can do great things. Bringing goodness to the world is at the heart of everything we do.

Can you share with our readers about the ethical standards you use when you choose where to source materials?

We source our materials from small businesses and manufactures who conduct business with the spirit of the law. We refrain from any illegal, dishonest or unethical behavior. We govern YoHaTdawg with integrity as the core of our company. So that as we source materials we always do it with integrity.

Fast fashion has an advantage, that it is affordable for most people, but it also has the drawback that it does not last very long and is therefore not very sustainable. What are your thoughts about this? How does your company address this question?

At YoHaTdawg we design, produce and sell all of our headwear inhouse. Each design is handmade and one of one. We create headwear fashions that are unlike anything that exist on the market. This is what makes us stand out on our ow. I want to be known for our one of a kind designs and slow fashions. YoHaTdawg hats are timeless and sold in a boutique store And one of the reasons why I have worked so hard to bring my own designs made in house to the market. Fast fashion is a quick, fast in a hurry without always being mindful of environmental corners. We create a limited number of pieces which gives our headwear a more desirable and in high demand flavor.

Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion Brand”.

  1. Creatives and Designers who are passionate about their craft- I am the lead designer for YoHaTdawg. I have a God given gift to create. It is effortless for me to design, and sew a Hat. When I make hats, the art of design and the craft of sewing is just like breathing, it’s thoughtless but thoughtful.
  2. Brand Identity-YoHaTdawg is a storytelling brand. We don’t just make hats, WE Make HATS come ALIVE. Our Headwear was not created for you to fit in, it was created for you to STAND OUT. All of our hats are handmade and gender neutral. One of our core values is to just BE YOU! When you wear a YoHaTdawg HaT it is an expression of being you. Each HAT tells a story of life. What weve discovered is that when I tell my story the inside uncensored version you can relate to and it moves you to tell your story. YoHaTdawg HATS are a symbol of our stories. The raw and uncut version.
  3. Customer Service- YoHaTdawg is a Headwear Streetwear Experience. We take customer service to a Gold Star Experience. Our in store shopping experience is a one of a kind personalized adventure. Our clients are greeted by a Stylist who assists with sizing, selection and styling (this is our clients favorite part of a YoHatdawg Headwear Experience and the part our clients love most-This is where the magic happens! The stylist will style your new YoHaTdawg hat in all the different styles so the client can experience the unique features of the piece but also experience what you feel and become when they wear it.
  4. Marketing-Connection to your clients. YoHaTdawg is a Storytelling Brand. All of our HATS tell a story. The construction of the hat, the pieces that construct the hat are all part of the story that the hat represents. When the client reads the attached brief. They always smile and tell us “ that describes me”
  5. Quality product. We make all of our headwear in house. From choosing our fabrics to the design of our hats and to the construction of each piece. It is done with LOVE. The final product is handmade with detailed craftsmanship. We take pride in all of our pieces. Because they are one of one. It’s important to us that our clients walk away with a Headwear piece that no one else will ever have and is made with 100% pure Love. This is art.

Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself?

I think the fashion industry can improve itself by ensuring the working conditions that create the fashions are fair and rewarding. For example at YoHaTdawg, our headwear is made inhouse. We aim to change how fashion is produced. We provide a work environment that is warm, welcoming and fun. We promote autonomy and self care. Whether it’s expressing ideas about a new product or collection, making changes to the existing protocols or contributing on How we can improve as a fashion brand. Everyone has a voice and is rewarded for their contribution and success of the company. Which ultimately translates into improving the fashion industry overall.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Movement-Cheerleaders of the Good. I would go out in the world and cheer for people, to see the good in people, places and things rather than focus on the things they don’t like. We all have good within us. It’s about looking for the good in everybody and everything. No matter what. When I look at the good in the people, places and things that I don’t like, magically the things I don’t like disappear.

The goal is to establish a norm with the human experience. It is to look for and name the beauty, the good in the world rather than what’s wrong with it. My campaign would be to Celebrate, cheerlead, beautify, laser focus on the good in the world. Only Seeing the good in life-is the joy in my life. To cheerlead the good in everything and everybody is a very easy movement to launch as I am already practicing it.

How can our readers further follow your work online?


Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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