What is a Greedy Genius?....I sat down with my good friend Mikhayel Tesfaye is one of the founders of the infamous street wear line Greedy Genius. I sat down with him and found out some interesting facts about Greedy and much more....Enter Mik.illRoots.com: Okay first off thanks for the interview I can tell that Greedy is going far.
Mik: No problem.
illRoots.com: Give me a little bit of background?
Mik: Yea I mean we started the brand about 2 years ago primarily footwear a little bit of apparel, a little bit of t-shirt wear but primarily footwear. We started out 5 shoes a delivery now we’re up 10 to 12 shoes a delivery now. WE started out with 2 models now we have upwards of 11, different styles of hi’s and low’s all that kind of stuff.
illRoots.com: How did the name “Greedy Genius” come about?
Mik: It was a name my partner Nick came up with he picked it out of about 150 different names. There were 4 of us originally and everybody threw out whatever amount of names they had in the pot and that was the one that ended up sticking.
illRoots.com: New stuff besides the shoes.
Mik: Definitely the new models, our cool breeze sneaker which is our hi-top models it caught a lot of fire. We dropped it in black at first, then recently in holiday colors. We’ve extended the tongue a couple inches higher so there’s a higher tongue, that’s the remix. A lot of different fabrications: metallic’s and patent leathers.
illRoots.com: Yea I was always feeling the metallic’s type stuff.
Mik: Good lookin’ the reflectives that was one of our signatures that we tried to step out there with a fabrication totally different. A lot of people have used it but not a lot of people have use them in colors, so that was a cool thing with that. Also another thing coming next year is Women’s, we have women’s that will drop in the fall. Theirs is a lot of prints and fabrics, like clear coat over different types of print, different types of leathers and printed leathers but the ladies will be strong enough to stand on its own. We are also producing a little cut and sew with that too we have a ill women’s trench coat rain coat combo.
illRoots.com : What’s missing in the shoe game?
Mik: I think what’s missing is balance honestly. I think Creative Recs is only one I can think of that has a balanced formula in terms of like an independent American shoe brand that’s not necessarily like a skate shoe brand or a different genre. As far as building a lifestyle that you know its more of that structure that’s missing and it comes with that learning curve to having a business and running it for a while.
illRoots.com: Life before Greedy?
Mik: Before Greedy I worked in apparel design as a creative director for a bunch of major streetwear companies your Ecko New York, Mecca USA, Wu Wear.
You might remember this Toyota Commercial..yep those were Greedy.
illRoots.com: WHAT….WU WEAR….?
Mik: Yep that was my first job when I moved to New York.
illRoots.com: I had a sweatshirt in middle school…wow.
Mik: Wu Wear was definitely ill at the time, it was thing. I did that like Mid to late 90’s all the way to 2003 I did like a lot of creative direction for different brands. Then I left the whole thing and freelanced for a while and opened a shop in New York. I did that for a couple years then fell back into design and sold my partnership and the shop and start doing design work again. I created a new apparel line for Von Dutch that was supposed to be for the premium accounts. As well I developed a few for a couple music personalities.
illRoots.com: Which is?
Mik: You know I can’t really get into that there is some non-disclosure issues with that.
GFCNY & Greedy Genius E-commercial: Starring our guy Mickey Factz.
illRoots.com: Oh yea right, right, right.
Mik: But you know just did that stuff to step back into the design world and a then a friend of a friend called me and said “ I know you know a lot about design, and you know a lot of people”. I hear you’re the guy and do you have a brand concept that you what to come through with and I’m interested in getting some funding and I just happen to have access to a shoe factory lets see if we can put something together. At the time I was in the process of starting a premium denim line of my own and I was in L.A. taking some time off developing in the factories out here in L.A. While I was doing that we were just tossing ideas back and forth, back and forth until we met up at the Magic [Trade] Show and decided we would go for it. Then it has been pretty remarkable since then, we built our distribution ourselves, we are just know as of this year putting a sales team in place. We basically used our relationships that we had with several of the retailers across the country and certain people over seas and I was able to pull a lot of favors and getting celebs with product placement. Everything seemed to get better as it went on. We started with the A-doors like Union and Commonwealth and Barney’s and its just set the boulder in motion and it was downhill from that.
illRoots.com: Other than apparel and footwear whats next?
Mik: Well we’ve locked a watch licensing bid, so you can see watches from us within the next year. Eyewear is something we are working on now and jewelry. We’ve come to the show with our jewelry and we have our mascot made into medallions.
illRoots.com: Thanks Mik…Everybody needs to recognize Greedy Genius. And look out for more and more with illroots.com & Greedy in the very near future.