ESSENCE Fashion House NYC: Ouigi Theodore, Guy Wood Sr., Leroy Pope, And Sharifa Murdock Talk Running A Successful Business
Photos By: Paige Ricks

On Thursday, September 5th ESSENCE kicked off New York Fashion Week with the first official ESSENCE Fashion House in NYC. The jam-packed day began with a panel discussion moderated by Ouigi Theodore, the founder of popular urban fashion boutique, Brooklyn Circus. 

“Find innovative ways to create an experience for your consumers.”

Theodore sat down with Guy Wood Sr., one of the co-owners of Harlem’ Haberdashery, Leroy Pope, the founder of Cold Summer Creative and Sharifa Murdock, the creator of Project and a founding partner of Liberty Fairs. The trio began by sharing their perspective on owning a boutique in 2019 and agreed that you must be passionate and precise to succeed in such a fast-paced industry. “Find innovative ways to create an experience for your consumers,” Pope explained.

From Left: Sharifa Murdock, Leroy Pope, Ouigi Theodore and Guy Woods Sr.

The business owners also touched on the importance of a pop-up shop if you are in the retail industry. “The pop-up experience to me is like changing the laces on your sneakers, you can continue to change the laces, but it will always be the same sneaker,” Wood said. The Harlem native elaborated by stating that he appreciates a pop-up shop, because it gives you the opportunity to see if your idea can really work and at minimal cost. Murdock also agreed that she appreciates pop-ups, because it gives you the chance to connect with more brands.

The entrepreneurs went on to close out the panel by encouraging those that are pursuing a career in the retail industry to never be afraid to try something new, adding that if doesn’t work, just take the items off the rack and keep moving forward. 

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