Meet Marc Jones, the visionary and principal behind Dreissig Apparel Inc, and Fan Hands LLC. Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Marc graduated from Christian Brothers Academy as an All-State and All-Northeast U.S running back his senior year. He went on to play football at the University Of Tennessee. In 1991 Marc graduated with a degree in Psychology and later went on to play professionally in the G.F.L (German Football League).
He eventually founded the award-winning company Dreissig Apparel Inc. in 1999 to design and manufacture his own brand of athletic apparel.
In 2007, Marc invented a novelty product called Fan Hands, which served to enhance the sound of the clap for sports fans when they attend sporting events. With his business and success, he remains active in the community and believed in giving back. He is also the Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the Willow Street Foundation, whose primary mission is built on the pillars of Education, Leadership, and Community.
Marc is married to his wife Carrol and has one son Julian and one daughter Olivia.
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Table of Contents
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Marc Jones: Back when I played professional football in Germany, I broke the touchdown record in my second year. After that season, a person contacted me about doing a “Marc Jones” clothing line for his brand called Hardcore Football. He wanted to sell this line in Germany. We partnered up together to start the business, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out because I ultimately didn’t have any confidence in him or trust him as a collaborator. After working together for about a year, it became evident that this partner started making claims that he couldn’t follow through on, which in turn made my name look bad and not credible in the community. My business advisors and football agent at the time encouraged me to research the apparel industry to potentially create my own line. After the season ended about eight months later, I launched my own athletic apparel line called Dreissig Athletic.
The name Dreissig (pronounced “Dry-sig”) means “30” in German, which was my jersey number when I played professional football. In 1998, Dreissig Apparel Inc. was founded to design, manufacture, and distribute a new line of athletic apparel. Since our founding, we have launched our corporate, state, and hospital divisions. Dreissig Apparel Inc. is proud to be a certified MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) in the state of New York, Tennessee, and North Carolina. After 23 years, the company is still going strong and has grown into what we know it as today.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Marc Jones: When I first started Dreissig, a lot of people doubted me right from the start. These doubters asked me how I thought I could compete with national brands like Nike and Adidas. They stated it would be an uphill battle and they weren’t giving me any chance to succeed as a business. Those doubters fueled my fire and the competitiveness in me as a professional athlete at the time helped motivate me to overcome the obstacles and prove all the doubters wrong. It was tough at the beginning, and I wanted to quit and give up numerous times, but my heart and my soul wouldn’t let me. I knew this was going to be the biggest challenge of my life, so I learned from many people and asked many people for help. That was really the defining moment of the business, when I decided to ask for help and received help from these people, it helped Dreissig grow as a business.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Marc Jones: The most common mistakes entrepreneurs make are not realizing the time commitment it is going to have on their lives in order to be successful, and not being in a position mentally and physically to overcome the obstacles that cross their paths. Additionally, another mistake is when entrepreneurs think they can do it all themselves. They really need a team to stand behind them and to believe in their vision.
My advice for these entrepreneurs is to be ready to go above and beyond and be dedicated to the time commitment that comes with starting your own business. Overcoming obstacles is going to be the biggest challenge by far, because entrepreneurs are going to need help along their journey. Getting help and asking important questions are critical in order to overcome those obstacles. Having a team behind you is a part of the infrastructure for your business. Having an efficient team will help you more readily overcome the obstacles that come your way as an entrepreneur.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Marc Jones: Resilience, in my mind, is being able to overcome obstacles and to keep moving forward in difficult times. In my opinion, resilience comes down to the heart of the entrepreneur. You’re taking all of these “hits,” meaning obstacles, but instead of letting it discourage you, you keep moving forward. Being able to bounce back quickly with critical thinking is important, especially with the pandemic in the past year; being able to pivot and change your strategy is essential.
When you think of your company, 5 years from now, what do you see?
Marc Jones:In 5 years, I see Dreissig Apparel Inc. moving from a regional company in the U.S. to a national company in the U.S. I plan to do this by utilizing strategic partnerships with apparel and textile manufacturers and garment-producing factories. Continuing to brand Dreissig Apparel Inc. as a national apparel company is also something that I plan to grow in the next 5 years.
What do you consider are your strengths when dealing with staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers?
Marc Jones: I’d describe my strengths as reassuring the staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers that I am there for them, and that everyone is a team together. At Dreissig, we also like to say that “Customer Service Is Key.” This translates those same values from the staff at Dreissig to the customers as well. Being able to lead a team and be an example shows strength and sets the company up for success. I will go “arm-in-arm” in battle with the staff and management team to overcome challenges and difficulties together, which builds a sense of community within the company.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Marc Jones: As the CEO of the company, I believe my personal brand does in fact reflect the company’s values. People look up to Marc Jones as the CEO, and to Dreissig Apparel, as one common entity. When customers see the brand of Dreissig, they associate it with Marc Jones as his brand. Because of this, however, I represent myself in the community and reflect on the Dreissig Apparel brand and vice versa.
What’s your favorite leadership style and why?
Marc Jones: My favorite leadership style is being a motivator: to rally the troops, and to encourage the staff and management team to push them to continually do better. I encourage my staff to never settle. Motivation comes easily to me, and I know that motivation is a key component to keep the business and its staff moving forward to continue to accomplish its goals.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Marc Jones: I think entrepreneurship is something that you can learn along the way. I see myself as a prime example of this. I did not grow up thinking I was going to start my own business, and I did not go to college for business or management. I learned how to deal with the trials and tribulations along the way as they were presented to me. I had to learn how to be an entrepreneur, had to learn business, and I had to learn how to face obstacles as they crossed my path..
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Marc Jones: My favorite “life lesson” quote is: “reaching your hand down to others to help pull them up is one of the greatest rewards you can have as an entrepreneur and a business leader.” Throughout the course of being an entrepreneur and business leader, I learned that offering help to entrepreneurs who are starting out to succeed goes both ways. Reaching out a helping hand cultivates positive relationships, connections, which in return makes it a win-win situation for all.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Marc Jones for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Marc Jones or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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