[RECAP] Official Launch

The official launch of the Gentlemen’s Factory by GroomedSuccess took place on March 4, 2017 in the Factory's rustic yet plush duplex loft located at 495 Flatbush Avenue in Central Brooklyn. The event started with a panel discussion which included an esteemed group of panelists building in front of a packed, standing room-only audience.

Meet the panel:

  • Kenneth Montgomery - Civil Rights Litigator at Kenneth J. Montgomery Law
  • Joi Brown - Senior VP Marketing & Branding at Atlantic Records
  • Keenan Beasley - Managing Partner at BLKBOX
  • Diana Hilaire - Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at Macy’s Inc.
  • Kenny Moore - Brand Director at LVMH
  • Darius Hines - Senior Brand Manager at William Grant & Sons

Moderated by Sam Pierre, Managing Partner at SMP Global Consultants

The topic was Black at Work: How to navigate corporate America without losing your identity. Here are some of the questions and answers from the panel:


What role does race play when climbing the corporate ladder?

I started my career in corporate America working at Procter and Gamble and being the youngest VP working at L’oreal. One thing I want to point out is working in corporate America your goal is to build advocacy.

You can be more than one thing. I’m not just black, I’m an entrepreneur, I went to military academy, I’m a creative. What makes you different is what makes you great.
— Keenan Beasley

Three resumes pop up on your desk with the last names Sliver, Schwartz and Johnson...do you pick which is best for the company or pick the black applicant (Johnson)?

I see this all the time. The most important thing is the applicant must be prepared. We wouldn’t be doing them a service if we hired them only to set them up for failure. But it’s our personal responsibility to pull each other up and have that conversation. Because Mr. Goldstein would pull Silver aside to talk to him and even refer him to go see his cousin at another company. We as black people have to give each other an equal fair share.
— Joi Brown

Your boss is asking about a Black issue, i.e. “What’s the big deal with this Black Lives Matter thing?” Do your morals cause you to help make him understand or do you leave it alone in pursuit of money and career success?

All money isn’t good money. I’ve been in situations where I turned things down because I can see the headaches further down the line. I only desire to educate these young black men and women in the streets. I have no desire to educate my boss on anything concerning my culture. With that being said, I could give him a history on systemic and institutional racism, pulling out facts about federal programs out of Washington during the Lyndon B. Johnson Era. These things created the atmosphere of oppression that you guys never address, and they always address us as if we created this situation. But I don’t open up those conversations. 
— Kenneth Montgomery, PLLC

How does the way you dress play a role in your image and what people expect?

I always have to be 10 times better. I need to wear the nicest shoes, flyest handbag to be on point image wise. People see you before they hear you. Without you even opening your mouth they’re going to judge you. I make sure I’m always on point, I could be walking to the corner store and bump into someone important. I can’t give him a proposal when I’m wearing a cut-up tee shirt and holes in my jeans. He won’t take me seriously...so I’m always prepared.
— Diana Hilaire

The panel concluded with closing remarks from the CEO of Groomed Success Jeff Lindor:

Thank you all for coming out tonight! Remember The Gentlemen’s Factory isn’t just for one event but daily activities. Come plug up your laptop during the day, hang around in the evenings for other resources, workshops, and networking. This place was designed for you to learn, grow, build, connect, and succeed.

GF Official Launch

The panelists generously spent time chatting with the attendees after the discussion. As the sun set, the event continued with an open mixer and networking on both levels of the Factory duplex. Refreshments and wine -- provided by Tugboat Tea Company and Drink respectively --were available as gentlemen engaged in deep conversations, laughter, and even a couple games of NBA 2K. 

What would a Gentlemen’s Factory be without gentlemen's accessories? Ties, cuff links, pocket squares and lapel pins were available to purchase during the event. Image consultant and founder of Well Dressed Academy Tyron Cutner was available for style advice.

The Gentlemen's Factory is a business incubator and gathering space designed to help men of color learn, grow, connect, and build. Monthly passes are now available, allowing entrance to all weekday and weekend events, daily workspace access, discounts on gentlemen's accessories and other perks. Always follow our calendar for upcoming events.

Let’s change the world. 

About our contributor:

Tyron (Ty) Cutner is the founder of Well Dressed Academy, where he helps men achieve more success through one simple tool: their attire. The power of being a well-dressed man improves self-image, performance, and confidence. Once a bus driver, Ty was able to turn his career around, becoming a COO just months after improving his daily attire. “We wear clothes every day, wearing the right clothes exceptionally well, will do wonders for our lives and careers.” Learn more about Ty at Welldressedacademy.com or attend live Gentlemen’s Factory events where he is a frequent speaker.