Mark Corey, founder of YoHaTdawg, has a bold vision for headwear. Rather than accessories, he creates hats that stand out as an outfit’s main attraction.
“I don’t design hats for people who want to fit in,” Mark explains. “I design hats for people who want to stand out. When you wear a YoHaTdawg HaT, it expresses who you are and tells your story. We don’t just make hats, we make hats come alive.”
Mark Corey’s unique headwear designs inspire connections
Mark’s inspiration to launch a headwear brand started five years ago with a business plan, brand name, and logo. He still remembers the day he spread a branded stash of ball caps on his business mentor’s desk and eagerly waited for feedback.
Mark can’t help but cringe a little as he recalls his mentor’s blank expression. Even more cutting than that were the words, “Young man, there is nothing special about this. You need something unique, and this is not it.”
Crushed, Mark thanked him for the feedback and gathered up his samples. Though deflated, he was by no means down for the count. He took his mentor’s words to heart, but knew he had a problem.
“To design my own unique headwear, I couldn’t rely on mass-produced products with brand logos,” Mark says. “I needed to cut, stitch, and create my own products in-house. To launch a custom headwear company, I needed to learn to sew.”
With the world in the midst of a global lockdown, Mark had plenty of time to work toward his dream. With a face mask in place and a sewing machine in tow, he showed up every Friday for sewing lessons.
“I sat down in front of my sewing machine and tools that first time, and felt something deep inside my soul,” Mark remembers. “I can’t explain it, but I knew I was receiving the guidance of an inner force. It’s been like that ever since. The art of design is like breathing — it’s thoughtless but thoughtful.”
Mark followed his mentor’s advice, developed a wholly unique brand, and eventually opened a boutique storefront in Los Angeles on Melrose Ave.
Today, every YoHaTdawg creation is made in-house, is one-of-a-kind, and tells its own story. “YoHaTdawg is my artistic canvas,” says Mark. “Each design allows me to express a part of my life’s story. For example, I design headwear using black and white to express my journey as a biracial person. My customers have stories of differing colors, but we are all one. We share similar stories and connect through life’s trials and tribulations. It’s not just our stories, but the courage to share them that brings us together. I finally accept myself exactly as I am. No matter your story, you can do great things.”
Styling a YoHaTdawg creation
A huge part of Mark’s passion for headwear designs is finding just the right way to wear them. He styles hats to stand out in a crowd, turn heads, and start conversations, and he helps each customer do the same.
“The shopping experience at YoHaTdawg is a personalized adventure,” Mark says. “A stylist assists every customer with sizing, selection, and styling. This is when the magic happens!”
Every YoHaTdawg hat is reversible and interchangeable, some up to 10 unique ways. Stylists demonstrate each one, allowing clients to experience every variation of the piece and how each makes them feel when they wear it.
Every handmade piece from Mark is accompanied by painstaking craftsmanship, love, and a story. “Whenever our clients choose a hat, I love to watch them read the story that comes with it,” he says. “Every time, they smile and tell me, ‘That story sounds like it was written for me!’”Mark’s mission is to harness the power of expressive headwear to make the world around him a better place. “I want to create hats that inspire people to be the best version of themselves,” he concludes. “When you experience a YoHaTdawg piece, it brings out the good in you. You then wear that hat into the world, so now the whole world sees your story and gets to experience that same good.”