by Phyllicia Williams
“I feel at large the DMV really needs more solid events. I feel like too many people are focused on having events only to make money, and at the end of the day don’t really care about the people that come to the event. I’m trying to bring attendee oriented events to the DMV area, and beyond. I saw a void, and decided to fill it,” said Mark Thomas founder of the Sneak Attack DC event.
This event was a sneaker and fashion buy, sell, and trade with two floors filled with a full bar service, music, and networking opportunities held at Liv Night Club located in NW, DC on June 8 from 12 to 5 pm. It featured 12 local vendors, music by DJ Mista Selecta, and the sponsors: Sole U, DMV Nation, TVAF, Kickk Spott, Lux Brands, and From A Fly Society.
As the owner of his own photography company (markthomas-photography.com), Thomas worked his way up from Frederick, MD to the rest of the DMV where he established himself as a entrepreneur by attending a lot of local underground hip-hop shows and taking pictures.
Thomas is a photographer who is currently diving into event planning and promotion. Sneak Attack DC was inspired by the lack of main traveling sneaker shows coming to DC this summer so Thomas took advantage and came up with an event that would enhance his network.
“I also wanted to help cultivate a mature sneaker community, due to the event being 18 and older. My whole vision behind my events going into the future is planning events that I would enjoy going to. I don’t tend to find a lot of events in this area I want to go in and I believe in being the change you want to see, so i’m just going to start making events,” said Thomas.
Thomas goal for the Sneak Attack DC was to create a positive environment for mature sneaker collectors to network, buy, sell, and trade, as well as have a good time.
One of the local vendors, Originial Crackage, described the event as a total success for upcoming and new designers.
“The best part about the event was seeing all the rare kicks.The network opportunities were great just like most vending events are. I was able to meet and converse with many different people who came to the event and other vendors. My overall goal was to get the Original Crackage brand out there and gain more customers and fans,” said Wes Woods, CEO/Creator/Designer of the Original Crackage line.
Woods, from Bowie, MD, established his craft a year ago by designing Original Crackage clothing, predominantly shirts, along with running the business with the assistance from his close friend, Collins Morfaw. The line was established about a year ago and has grown its popularity mainly through Instagram (@originalcrackage, @wes_4x).
“The DMV community has influenced my craft by greatly appreciating my designs for Original Crackage. I was able to gain the support with enough people to appreciate my designs, which was one of the reasons that pushed me to go all out with my brand,” said Woods.
Although this event focused around sneakers and fashion vendors, music also played a strategic role by marketing local artist such as Eboii (TVAF) and Lightshow.
“DMV is a close knit community in which everyone has a team or camp they work with. There is no bridge (in regard to collaboration & supporting each other). TVAF seeks to create this bridge by expanding our brand and appealing to a diverse audience not just in music production alone. We support all who support what we do. We just want to create, execute, and succeed,” says the director and executive producer of Tunnel Vision Affiliates Studios and apparel, Stixx.
TVAF is a versatile entity that specializes in music production, video production, clothing and event coordination established in 2010. Driven by hard work and dedication, TVAF brings in new innovative ideas to the entertainment industry. TVAF sponsors/coordinates events that help bring people together on a social & business level. They support and help other entities who have a passion for success and progress.
“Im always looking for new ways to be innovative with TVAF, so Sneak Attack DC was a platform to get people together to share our brand and clothing with everyone. I see every event as an opportunity to network so I had to get the team involved. It was very rewarding,” said Stixx. “We Built a great network of new people to work with to keep TVAF buzzing and building a stronger fan base. I was introduced to various brands and artists in the DMV which TVAF will be working with soon such as SNAPAHOLICS, DMV NATION, KICKKSPOTT, KICKRUSDMV, DEADSTOCK, Lightshow & the list goes on!”
DMV Nation, another sponsor of the event, got involved with Sneak Attack DC because it was a great way to unify good people. Dreams Motivation Victory Nation – a social media marketing group – established themselves in the DMV area in 2010 by taking on different approaches of social networks and showing face at many great networking events.
“Our overall goal was to build with some great people. I think we played a good part in the promo side of things. Sneak Attack DC seemed like a dope event and a great way to get our name out to the public,” said Dominique Harris, the CEO/Founder of DMV Nation.
Harris, the Washington, D.C. native, enjoyed connecting with old leads and building with new ones.
“Our area played a major role on our rise from the bottom. [DMV Nation] just made good connections and were built off of good leads. We felt like this area needed a brand that stood for something more than music. Other great arts were not being pushed enough and things had to change. So we made it our mission to put on for this city,” said Harris.
Oxon Hill, MD native Brandon “Fresh” Oredugba, owner of Xclusive Stylez, overall goal was to sell everything including exclusive shoes, hats and etc.
“The DMV is a very fashionable area. We love clothes, cars, shoes and entertainment. But one thing everybody wants is to be different or have some exclusive gear. And unlike other areas, the DMV has always been big on shoes,” said Fresh. “Even when the sneaker game started to die around 2006 the DMV was still hip and grabbing shoes. And since a lot of people want the exclusive shoes and do not want to spend the time camping out or didn’t get a chance to grab a ticket, my store is the perfect place for them to grab that shoe they missed out on. So that is what gave me a opportunity to become successful.”
Other than the customer service and rare items they can provide, Xclusive Stylez are very involved within their community. They have held events for kids to get free hair cuts, held cookouts and basketball tournaments and currently coach a AAU team of the young youth.
“We had no issues or problems at any point of the event. No robberies, vandalism , theft or pure hate. It was a good event with a better atmosphere,” said Fresh. “We use any and all avenues to promote our business and get to meet our customers. We feel sneaker events are good for the buyer and seller. The business got to make money and gain exposure. And the Customer had a large selection of exclusive shoes in one area at the same time. It was “Sneakerhead” heaven.”
After slight success of his first event, Thomas affiliated with From A Flyer Society, plans to take this project to another level by having more 18 and older events as well as opening up his demographics to all ages. Thomas expects to continue the Sneak Attack DC events, be highly involved in planning charity events to give back to the DC area and to host a concert in the near future.
“I was happy with the turn out. I did not get any bad feedback. I enjoyed myself, and I believe everyone else that came did. I received a lot of help getting the word out. I could not have done it myself. I would like to thank the sponsors: Sole U, DMV Nation, TVAF, Kickk Spott, Lux Brands, and From A Flyer Society,” said Thomas. “Also, I would like to thank all of my friends that aided me in the promotion. Mista Selecta who provided all of the music. I would like to thank the staff at Liv for being very helpful and everyone that was involved in anyway with Sneak Attack DC. Without them the event would not have been what it was.”
Entrepreneurs have made a way to not only promote their business but to support each other in the DMV area. The Sneak Attack DC has paid the way for more local independent businesses to think outside of the box more and to open avenues such as positive networking opportunities to bring everyone together and lift each other up in the business industry.
To keep up with these young entrepreneurs in the DMV area please follow, support their latest projections and look out for more to come:
Mark Thomas – @CapturetheCapital (IG) @CapturetheCAP (Twitter) & markthomas-photography.com
Wes Woods CEO/Creator/Designer – @orignialcrackage (IG), @wes_4x (IG/Twitter)
Stixx CEO/ Director – @TunnelVisionAF, @stixx_tvaf, @sway_tvaf (IG/Twitter)
Dominique Harris CEO/Founder – @DMVNation (Twitter)
Brandon “Fresh” Oredugba Owner – DeadStockDMV.com, @KicksRusDMV (Twitter), @ceo_xclusive_stylez, @xclusive_stylez, @tattedup_marley (IG), Xclusivestylez tv (YouTube) Xclusive Stylez (Vine)