Business beauty from the Bronx and pro-black Markisha Marie was inspired to design luxury shoes for a living, although she had never seen anyone around her do so. Her rugged surroundings, much like Diddy and his 15 cockroaches, inspired her to sketch the luxury heels of her dreams. It was a fortuitous moment showing her designs, she was in touch with the perfect Italian shoe manufacturer and this opportunity changed everything.
Today, against all odds, Markisha is a rare diamond in the great field of luxury fashion. A young black woman from the Bronx with a collection of luxury shoes made in Italy.
How did being born and raised in the Bronx inspire your Mr. Marie brand?
Growing up in the Bronx was like GOLDEN the mixed culture of Blacks and Hispanics. You can always find someone trying to sell something or promote themselves, this is the land of turmoil, that’s what I call it [laughs]. It was rough but like “diamond in the rough” where it prompts you to go ahead and do something on your own.
It is rare that we see black women, designers of shoes, especially as luxurious as Mr. Marie. What really drove you to make your dream come true?
This is, wanting to do something you’ve never seen done. When I started, I had no one to turn to. I hit wall after wall trying to find answers for something that no one can help me with. I’ve always wanted to make shoes because it’s a childhood dream, but when I realized it was something that was so difficult to accomplish, it pushed me even more. The point is to make sure other little black girls see me and say I can do it, she did. That’s why I’m doing it, no one has opened the doors for me, so I’m going to make sure I open the doors for US.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
The day I found my manufacturer, it’s a long story, but I’ll keep it short. I sent my sketches to someone and he put me in touch with a friend in Italy. The person he connected me with couldn’t believe my work, he immediately had a sample made for me. I was like oh it’s real this shit is happening [laughs].
What sets Mr. Marie apart from other luxury shoe brands?
The intricate details, the experience I create for my clients, the shoes sold in limited quantities because I believe in quality and not quantity and most of all in being a black woman. There are a lot of luxury brands here I see them I love them. There is only one ME, however.
What’s the best and the worst part about being an entrepreneur?
The best part is seeing the fruits of your labor, the flower doesn’t sprout the same day you plant the seed but when it blooms baby it feels good. The worst part would be not being able to have the resources and the different things to move your brand forward because you have to work twice as hard when your skin is one color and you are female.
Every now and then we see people complaining online that “black businesses” don’t have great customer service, or they usually just fail after having a bad experience or two. What do you think when you see things like this?
I hate it because black people don’t enjoy the same grace with our businesses as other people. We do not have the right to make mistakes. We are not allowed to make mistakes because by the time we do we will be criticized, the same people who hit us will be shopping at Saks, Neiman’s & etc. will have horrible experiences but will not say a word and continue to shop with them. When I see it coming depending on the situation, I don’t really care. I shop frequently with many black owned businesses that I have no problem with.
Where can everyone find you?
My website is www.mmariebymarkishamarie.com my personal Instagram is @Bymmarie & my Instagram business is @Mmariebymarkishamarie I also have a pop-up store in the Bronx, New York on July 31st where people can meet me in person for the first time, shop, and have a vibe.