Fresh-Men Feature: Christopher Martin, owner of Cmartymar Brand
First tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Christopher Martin, owner, managing operator and creative director of Cmartymar Brand. I am 27 years old, born of Jamaican & Aruban decent. I currently reside in Bedstuy, Brooklyn NY.
How did Cmartymar get started? Did you always want to design clothing and accessories?
CmartyMar got stemmed from a love of sneakers and streetwear culture as a kid. Back in Highschool my brother and I used to troll sneaker forums and blogs like Nike Talk. We venture out to sneaker boutiques and skate shops in Long Island to talk about the latest SB releases, music, food, etc.. It was amazing. It was so special to share and talk with other like minded individuals that shared your same passions.
Growing up your style was your creditability as human being lol. It was your resume. It basically said without saying that “I’m ill.. and that you should go out with me/ be my friend” lol. As vain as it is, if you were fresh you were cool. That stigma created an obsession within me to always present well, no matter what.
In 3rd grade my parents taught my brother, sister and I how to cook, iron& wash our clothes. It was so important for them for us to know what it was like to maintain yourself. Money was tight so we would go to thrift stores and mix shit up with anything remotely cool we could find at Marshall’s and couple it with a freshly cleaned pair of whatever no name brand sneakers we had. We would scour the internet to create mood boards of what loved but couldn’t afford and tried to recreate that within our means. Through that I found our own sense of style/individuality and love for design. With my brand I just wanted share my visions with my friends.
You recently added jerk sauce to your inventory, how did you make the jump from apparel to food products?
I’ve been jerkin chicken and cooking for my family/friends since I was 10. Funny enough I wanted to become a chef when I was kid, lol my mom deaded that idea early and coerced me into engineering instead and become a Civil Engineer. Now I make clothing and Jamaican food and work as project manager at an Architectural/Engineering consulting firm.
Cmartymar is the outward expression of my imagination. Cooking and my culture is a part of me, so I decided to add a part of my truest self to the brand and share it. It took my brand to another level and focused my DNA.
What sets your brand apart from your competitors?
I love to cook. I love clothes. I love Jamaican food. I love sneakers. I love art. Why not mix it all up, brand it, and make something my way. Show the world who you are and what makes you tick.
What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
Do what feels right. Enjoy the journey. Be fearless. Make mistakes. Follow you initial instinct no matter what, even if you have doubts. Follow through with every project to the end.
Where do you see your brand in the next five years? Do you plan to expand?
I see myself with a restaurant. Jerking madd chickens and designing clothes in a showroom lofted in the restaurant and traveling the world to cook for venues, introduce my spices and attend fashion shows for my designs. Eventually I want to evolve into a home and gardens brand and work with local farmers to inspire a healthy clean way of eating and wearing clothes. My goal is to become a brand that celebrates the stylish West Indian man that can cook, clean, and fix anything.
How do you combat the stress of running your own brand?
Family/Friends and keeping things fun. It can be difficult running a home, balancing a 9-5 and managing production and creative direction of a brand by yourself. But stress should never be the focus. What keeps me going is working with great people and remaining honest with myself. If I’m having fun with designing and just expressing the inner my most child imaginations through clothing, design, and food than I am living my best life. It’s a part of me.
I think the trick is do what you love and nothing else. But the key to true happiness is appreciating everything around you…everything. I read somewhere that there are no failures just lessons and stress is figment of your imagination that you create. So fuck it.