As told to Rich Lopez
I was working for a brand called Private Stock, and I was looking for more of a sales position. I knew Loic [Villepontoux] and Phillip [Leeds] from shopping crazy. Loic is pretty much BBC’s brand manager and all of I Am Other’s brand managers, but he used to be Pharrell's road manager and Pharrell's music manager—he’s an I Am Other and BBC lifer. Phillip was creative director co-brand manager at BBC.
BBC was owned in large part by Bape, and when they sold Bape, BBC was looking for a new home. So Pharrell and Hov partnered to take the license. Roc Nation ended up managing the brand, and although it was a license, Roc had to incorporate all of BBCs former staff, that included Phillip, a few other designers, and staffers. I was hired on the Roc side because I had a connection with someone that was a VP of sales. I interviewed at Roc, through Roc executives, and I told them that I knew a lot of BBC people, and that nobody knew the brand like me. So although I interviewed at Roc I had to be approved by BBC’s people, because that was what Pharrell's contract clause was like. He had to know anybody who worked on his project. I met with Loic and Phillip, and they approved and they remembered me when I was just a consumer of Bape and BBC.
I got hired and I started as the southeast territory rep for BBC. And as the brand developed, the territories got bigger because we were expanding, but we also started splitting the brand. Ice Cream became different from BBC. Then we injected Bee Line, which is Mark McNairy. Then we did BBC Black. So, as time went on, different people shifted into different positions, and my relationship with Pharrell grew. Pharrell was always very supportive and every time I’ve seen him he’s always showed love. When Roc Nation stopped managing it, which was a couple years back and it went back to Pharrell's control, I stayed close with them. Loic made sure I was still on the seeding list. And Mimi Choi is very important—she’s kind of like Loic's right hand and the one that logistically manages the list.
Everything Pharrell does will get attention no matter what. It’s not about just giving them to the people with the most followers. I Am Other is about highlighting the right people as opposed to the bright people with the most shine on them. Pharrell sees genius in people that may not have as many followers, but who really impact the community even if people don't recognize them. I’ll ask Loic who someone is, and he’ll say it’s like the VP of the Guggenheim Museum. Are they going to post and get likes? No, but are they somebody that impacts in our culture. That's what's most important. Obviously, they do try to get it to influencers too, but they don't do that much seeding as it is.
As far as the NMDs are concerned, I wasn't supposed to get the purple ones, at that time. I was going to get them eventually, but they weren’t even dropping for friends and family yet. They were suppose to send me the yellow ones, but when I opened the box, it was the purple ones. I’d never even seen them, so I hit Mimi up to say thanks for sending them to me.
And Mimi says, “You got the wrong ones, don’t post them.” I was like, “Fuck I posted them on Snapchat already.” She said to delete them, so I’m like cool. Then Loic hit me, “Yo you gotta delete it.” I told him it was deleted and he said it was still up. I guess it was a glitch. It went crazy on the Internet—I couldn’t hold it back. I didn't post them again until the friends and family roll out, and I got permission to post them. So I got them first kind of by accident. I had worn them the same day, which was the problem. I was getting dressed to leave the house and I just happened to be wearing something that worked. I just put them on and I took a pic for Snap.