New York fashion designer and entrepreneur Jevaughn Williams aka Mugzy McFly has always hit the mark.
The natural trend setter would often offer advice to his friends while growing up in the Bronx, ultimately leading him to capitalize on his popularity in a successful party-throwing business. But that was not enough. With a $ 1,000 credit limit and courage, Jevaughn took his passion for fashion and started a t-shirt business in 2013. Since then he has managed to develop a full line consisting of accessories, sneakers and outerwear.
Born and raised in the fashion capital of the world, Mugzy grew up with a deep appreciation and keen eye for fashion, first experimenting with creative design at the age of thirteen when he started handcrafting clothes that match her favorite sneakers. Mugzy attended Johns University where he obtained his degree in accounting, a discipline that has largely helped him succeed as an entrepreneur and emerging businessman.
Mugzy meets Essence to share his story of ingenuity and perseverance at a time when popularity often seems to overshadow talent.
You were able to start and develop your business without an investor or outside financial support. Do you mind guiding us through this journey?
Mugzy: I used to promote parties, so I used that money to start my line of t-shirts. In doing so, I read an article about successful entrepreneurs who funded their business start-ups by maximizing their credit cards. I did the same, not realizing that my $ 1,000 credit limit wouldn’t get me that far, but my love for the brand carried me through.
Would you advise aspiring entrepreneurs to follow the same path?
Mugzy: Not necessarily (laughs). If I had any advice I would tell them to treat your business like a school. Don’t rush to follow the microwave success strategy created by social media. Think about it; we have four years to go to school without earning money but to devote our time to learning. Learn everything you can about your business for as long as you can (competitors, markets, etc.) and I promise you won’t regret it.
Was it particularly difficult to get into such an oversaturated field?
Mugzy: It was but it wasn’t – I’m one of the most fashionable people I know and we’re in the Bronx, one of the most influential cities in fashion, so I knew that I could make a mark in the industry. Our culture even dictates what the biggest celebrities wear. So I stuck with my guns, paid attention to what the market was doing, and tried to do the opposite. I operate in a state of mind that prioritizes innovation and anticipation, which makes my line more easily adept at new trends.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
Mugzy: It was one of the most difficult times of my career, but also extremely rewarding. I was always able to thrive and honestly the pandemic just reaffirmed that I can survive anything. Downtime also revealed that I needed to make some changes to the marketing strategy and highlighted the importance of creative digital marketing. It also highlighted how crucial customer service has been to my business. Because I have always prioritized the ability to deliver consistently for my clients, they stuck with a time when most fashion companies had to go out of business.
What do you think of the stigma that black-owned fashion companies fail to provide good customer service?
Mugzy: I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, but it mostly boils down to this. Although black people are mostly at a disadvantage due to a lack of generational wealth or a heritage of entrepreneurs in our family from which we can derive business acumen, we still need to value our clients.
I do not wear the badge that I am a black business owner. I want you to go shopping with me because I’m funny. Many blacks do not have a generational wealth or entrepreneurial heritage from which we can develop business acumen. I really think we should. I want to get to the point where I can train aspiring entrepreneurs to operate from a consumer perspective first and generate more long term success.
We saw that Bernice Burgos is a huge fan of the line, and you got the love of rappers Jim Jones and Maino. Are there any notable customers or customers who have shown their appreciation for the brand?
Mugzy: I have been informed that rapper Young Thug is wearing one of my New Years Eve looks and it’s extremely humbling to see as he’s one of the biggest fashion influences in hip hop right now. It just reinforced that I’m on the right track.
Are there any muses you would like to see in the lineage?
Mugsy: Oh my God, the ultimate muse is Teyana Taylor – she’s so multifaceted and has mastered duality, ultra-femininity, and youthfulness. It also includes the quintessential New Yorker arrogance that you need to have to achieve certain looks. I would also love to see something about ASAP Rocky and Rihanna, who seem to really enjoy fashion as much as I do.
I know you made your mark in the New York market which is a tough puzzle to break. Has the line reached a global audience?
Mugzy: Yes, we have a lot of interested international customers and we have started to take steps to open a pop-up store in Japan soon.
A final word of wisdom for aspiring designers?
Mugzy: Remember your brand value and try not to get into this just for the money. It’s not enough. Honesty, chasing a dollar is extremely expensive. Rely on love and you’ll be fine.