This is major, and I need and will make this happen for myself and my students! The article summed up how I feel so beautifully.
Meet Egomeli Hormeku, Brooklyn’s Newest and Coolest All-Around Entrepreneur
A few blocks east of New York City’s Central Park, located right across the street from Bloomingdale’s, is perhaps the sweetest of all shops in the city: Dylan’s Candy Bar, an up-market candy store carrying more than 5,000 kinds of candy, apparel, and beauty products. It’s a glamorous take on Willy Wonka, and it’s owned by Dylan Lauren, daughter of iconic clothes maker Ralph Lauren, so you know there’s good entrepreneurial blood pumping through the arteries of this business, even if it is a dentist’s nightmare.
Brooklyn native Egomeli Hormeku found himself at Dylan’s Candy Bar as a teen a few years after the store opened in 2001. He wore a white button down, a navy blazer complete with a pocket square made of old material, a pair of jeans and penny loafers with a penny in each one. The littlest details turn the most heads. In this case, Hormeku turned the head of Ralph Lauren himself.
“You’re the man,” Hormeku told Lauren, a product of the Bronx, as they greeted one another.
“No, I’m not,” Lauren rebutted. “You are. And you’re dressed very nice.”￼
What a compliment for the teen. There, in the flagship Dylan’s Candy Bar store, Hormeku was inspired. Maybe we all have our own sweet spot to share with the world, he thought. And yet, it was more than just an inspiration. It was confidence and a challenge to continue to impress. Dylan Lauren went on to grace the cover of FORBES on the May 23, 2011, issue, 10 years after she made her fascination with art, fashion and pop culture a reality. Her father watched his fortune continue to grow into a new decade and he is now the richest man in fashion.
As for Hormeku, since that handshake he has earned a Political Science and Physiological Sciences double major in three years from the University of Arizona, aims to practice Fashion Intellectual Property Law in NYC and change the way people see living. At just 25, he has founded The Hormeku Group — an umbrella for a clothing line, an original rosé brand, a luxury cigar line and a book. And he’s doing it all with the coolest demeanor imaginable.
Ego, as his friends call him, is leaning back on a round stool with a glass of champagne at Ken and Cook in New York City’s Lower East Side on a crisp December night. From under his woven cap, he’s peering toward the pressed-tin ceiling of the dimly-lit bar. Strategy is burning in his eyes.
“You know those kids shooting jumpers way after the sun’s gone down, when they know nobody is watching anymore?” he says. “I feel like that’s me. I want to be the No. 1 draft pick. I want perfection.”
Ego was raised in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The area was a breeding ground for crime in the late 1980s to early ’90s, and the reputation only altered slightly into the new century. But even though the area remained a rough one, and is a region in which gentrification never really happened like other parts of the borough, those who live there grow up strong and stay strong, even if only out of necessity. “Never ran, never will,” is still the slogan of the area.
“There’s a lot of good people there, and people can see it if they are aware,” he says.
Ego’s parents made sure their son’s motives always remained positive. Gloria Obuobi, an OB/GYN registered nurse at Kings County Hospital Center, and Kofi Hormeku, a retired case worker for NYC Human Resources Administration, gave him the you-can-do-anything-in-the-world-you-want mentality. He took that motivation and ran with it. In undergrad, he was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and was a DJ at parties on campus. Between classes he’d often re-read his favorite book, The Great Gatsby, or flip through a GQ — which is ironic because not too long ago he bumped into GQ’s creative director, Jim Moore, while almost all of what he wore at the time was from his own Nothing Nice New York clothing line.
“He smiled and told me I knew what I was doing,” Hormeku says of Moore. “That added fuel to the fire.”
While in school, he teamed up with a few friends and wrote The Nerdy McFly Manifesto, a book containing 101 rules for young men on how to create a balance between smart and cool — James Dean meets Steve Urkel. This eventually turned into Hope this Helps, a book tackling demeanor, comportment, contemporary chivalry, chances, choices and education. It was the first idea to see real creation under The Hormeku Group umbrella. From there, he expanded on the creation of other ideas and products.
Constant meetings and construction on the foundation of his business mold the beginning of perfection. Late nights add detail. Ego knows the Lauren family had a clear vision when they started their own respective businesses. He has his own vision, too. When he launches his own flagship store in Brooklyn — he’s aiming for Summer 2013 — one wall will boast a mural of Brooklyn icons. He’s thinking along the lines of maybe Mike Tyson, Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, Spike Lee, The Three Stooges.
In this store he will sell merchandise from his multiple brands, all geared toward sophisticated men who want to live well and live comfortably. His clothing line, Nothing Nice New York, combines both urban wear and custom tailored suits and ties. All articles of clothing have been designed by Ego, and there’s nothing he wouldn’t wear himself.
Then there’s Vida Chocolate Cigars and Steel Rosé, both of which were designed for individuals who don’t just live for the moment — they define it.
Until his flagship store is erected, all of his products are available online. Custom deals are also being pieced together more frequently. A woman once complimented him on his Nothing Nice tie and loved the smell of cigars. That led to three wholesale orders out of the country to sell his products in international stores — two boutiques in Canada and a pop-up shop in France.
“It’s a wild ride,” he says. “One day I can wake up and sell a few thousand dollars in cigars. The next I might only sell a tie but make someone look and feel like a million bucks. As long as I over-deliver every time. Every day is different but it gets better.”
And it gets better every day. Clubs nationwide are starting to pay attention, some paying Ego to provide hundreds of bottles of Steel Rosé at a time for events. Football legend Emmitt Smith showed up to an after party for The Hormeku Group in New York City’s Meatpacking District. Rihanna once complimented the mogul-in-the-making in SOHO before turning Da Silvano into a frenzy.
There’s something about people who were born and raised in the New York City area that characterizes no one else. They seem to be tougher than everyone else — more driven. And yet, the most successful are cool and poised. They stay low and keep firing toward their targets. And they’re always chasing something or someone.
“I’m chasing Ego,” he says. “If I exceed my own expectations, then I’ll do the same for other people.”
It’s getting late at Ken and Cook. As he readies to leave, Ego recognizes a bartender named Jamie who served him his first-ever drink in Brooklyn years ago, a testament to his extreme attention to detail, and walks out into the cold. It’s going to be a long night — another one.
“Love keeps me up,” he says. “Loving what I do keeps me up. Dreams keep me up. Knowing that dreaming isn’t enough keeps me up. Knowing a little more work is the difference between good and legendary keeps me up at night.”
Ego heads back home to Brooklyn to continue development of The Hormeku Group conglomerate, thehormekugroup.com, and a sweet shop of his own. You might say he is the next Jay-Z. You could go as far as to say he could quite possibly be the next Bernard Arnault. There may not be a limit. But for now, he’s making a lane of his own and everyone is invited on for the ride.