Marc Wilson is the Founder and Creative Director of The Style Marc, a globally recognized floral design and event production studio based in Harlem, NY, and working from New York’s Hudson Valley, Wyoming and Miami, FL. Marc began his career in the home furnishings industry, fueling his enthusiasm for design, painting, architecture, and international travel. The Style Marc is known for designing classically elegant environments with a modern twist. Each event is ultimately uniquely designed to reflect the collaborative spirit of the client and Marc’s design team.
The Style Marc has been published in Town & Country, Brides, Grace Ormonde, Manhattan, US Weekly, L’Officiel Paris, and Essence. The Style Marc was named one of Brides Most Influential Event Professionals of 2020 and a 2020 BizBash 500 “Must Know Event Pro.” With over 20 years of experience in the event design industry, The Style Marc designs and transforms milestone events from intimate to grand weddings, to Fortune 500 events and celebrity events. The Style Marc has worked with the likes of Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Magic Johnson’s Aspire (TV Network), Essence, The Baha Mar Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa, Restoration Hardware, Rolex, The Apollo Theater, Mercedes Benz, Hugo Boss, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York Historical Society.
Did you always know that you wanted to be in the events industry?
No, not at all. When I came to New York I had hopes of becoming a sculptural textiles artist. I got into the events industry after 8 years in home furnishings. During that time, I was involved in a lot of entertaining. I was also given the opportunity to travel nationally and internationally for work. Entertaining quickly became a big part of my life.
When the textiles company was sold, I felt the need to get back to a more grounded experience. That summer, after a few months on a lovely tropical island, I researched the top floral and event companies in New York. I narrowed it down to three companies. To learn more about them, I first went to each as a customer. I then decided to approach Olivier Floral Atelier. I spent a lot of time in Paris and loved the French design aesthetic and what Olivier was doing, it was very fresh and modern. I went in, asked to speak with Olivier, and inquired if he was looking for any help. He asked me if I had any experience, and I said no. He replied that he could not pay anyone that didn’t have experience. I offered to work for free for the summer, and got my first gig.
After several months of cleaning and cutting flowers, I was already assisting the Olivier team with flowers at the famed Café Boulud. As time went on, I found freelance jobs with Robert Isabell, Renny & Reed, and Preston Bailey. It was Preston who helped me realize I could do this. Seeing someone who looked like me in a space where there were almost no people of color was a game changer!
During your twenty years of experience in global event design and production, your work has been featured in dozens of top publications like Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, The New York Times, Brides, and Town & Country. You’ve amassed a client portfolio of major companies like ESPN, BMW, Rolex, and have designed events for celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez. To what do you attribute your success?
It is plain old naivety, fearlessness, perseverance and tenacity. I was too young and eager to be scared.
The home furnishings industry had market weeks twice a year. After getting myself established, I went back to my old clients and procured a position as their plant and flower supplier for their market weeks. From there, I researched corporate event departments and after reaching out, business bloomed.
Eight months after reaching out to the (then under construction) W Hotel on the corner of Park Avenue South and Union Square, I received a call from the new events director to design their grand opening and become a preferred vendor. It was the first preferred vendor relationship of my career. I never looked back, and it all rose from there.
What were some of the challenges that you encountered while expanding your business to service areas outside of your home base of NYC, including D.C., Miami and Wyoming? How did you overcome them?
Logistics, logistics, logistics. It’s everything in our business. Once I had this in place, everything else was easy.
In all the cities we work, we have a centralized phone number for clients to call. This way we never miss a potential event inquiry. Our national and destination business grew out of our clients’ request to have us design events where they were. I quickly realized I needed to make sure we had great resources. We always do our due diligence beforehand; find a trusted partner, communicate clearly with our venues and do a site visit if needed (especially when producing out of the country).
We always use our core team on all of our destination events to help ensure consistency in our work. Sourcing product, freelance staff, and making sure we partner with a floral supplier that has national and international capabilities is paramount.
This summer, you introduced a new branch of your company, called the Floral Crate. It’s a genius idea that you exhibited a sneak peek of during the Wish Upon A Wedding Around the World Virtual Experience back in August. Can you shed some light on this chic endeavor?
When bad things happen, there are always opportunities that present themselves. The Style Marc Experience was conceived after COVID-19 appeared and our industry came to a standstill, seemingly overnight. I saw an opportunity to keep engaging with my clients through digital content creation.
The Floral Crates are personally curated seasonal floral boxes that are shipped directly from the farm to our clients’ doors, ensuring freshness and quality. You can purchase the flowers as a package with a vase, or separately if you like. My clients purchase the Floral Crates as a fun activity while at home, as an experience for small parties, for wedding proposals, or as gifts during Zoom calls and attendees make the floral arrangements together.
We also provide flower tutorials on how to design your Floral Crates, which are available on our YouTube channel. Virtual design classes for corporate or social clients are also available (live or pre-recorded). These experiences can be completely customized, from the flowers in the Floral Crate, right down to the design class. You can find out more information on my website, just click on the ‘Shop’ button.
As Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors for The National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals, you are leading important conversations on equal opportunity, representation, recognition and exposure to amplify the voices within the black community. What are some of the initiatives that support the mission of this organization? How can event professionals get involved?
The National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals was an idea birthed by our Founder, President & CEO, Tara Melvin. We’re a non-profit national organization representing black-owned businesses and entities within the wedding & event planning industry. The Society is a working body seeking active and ongoing change through collective and individual efforts.
We seek membership among black wedding and event professionals who are dedicated to their craft and to their business, but who are also committed to the industry and its evolution. We seek to encourage members to excel in their talents, to create opportunities that allow for unity within our communities, to elevate business acumen through education, to yield financial support from within and outside of the organization, and to bring awareness to others of the multitude of black-owned businesses within the wedding and events industry.
Our initiatives include building diversity & inclusion though creating accountability and awareness, enhancing the visibility of NSBWEP members, and by showing the economic power of the black dollar.
Check out the NSBWEP website for our national members directory to source amazing events pros or to become an allied sponsor or partner. You can also find more information on the NSBWEP Instagram and LinkedIn. Our Mantra is: “WE have become the CHANGE, WE want to BE!”
Something amazing that I recently discovered, is that four percent of purchases from The Style Marc benefits Ali Forney Center. What inspired you to give back to that organization?
I believe deeply in giving back to the black and gay communities, and try to do so whenever the opportunity presents itself. I had a difficult experience coming out as a gay black man, and my heart goes out to any young man, woman, trans or non-binary kid struggling to find their way after being abandoned for just wanting to be who they are. On a daily basis I am confronted by homeless gay youth in New York, and if I can help, even in the smallest of ways, I feel compelled to do so.
If you were to leave us with something to think about, what would it be?
I’ve always loved this quote by Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I love this because it truly exemplifies what we do. We are called to create memories and moments, and for me, this is what it’s all about, it’s why we do what we do.
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