Brooklyn native Egomeli Hormeku is keeping the American Dream alive. We live in a world where making a living off your passion is seen as a bit foolish or impossible and that the safe route is the only route. After recieving his degree in Political and Physiological Sciences, Mr. Hormeku found himself in the world of clothing, spirits, and cigars. From Vida Chocolate, Steel Rose, Nothing Nice New York and Hope This Help, Egomeli talks with us about following his passions and going after perfection.
How did The Hormeku Group begin?
As for the conglomerate, it started to take shape in undergrad. It is all just a culmination of good times, great conversation, finding love and life in other people, and the search for more. In undergrad, I began to realize that the moments we share are often remembered or defined by the objects/people in them, turning those objects into the emotions themselves. I knew I wanted to take moments I enjoy and encapsulate them so others could enjoy them as well. The rest was groundwork to turning the dream into a reality.
What did you go to school for and why?
I went to college for Political Science and Physiological Sciences. I went partly because my parents wanted a doctor or lawyer (or something like that). It is very much so a part of their culture. I always knew I would end up retaining some of those values, but I also knew that was just a small part of what I wanted to do.
We’ve seen a handful of entrepreneurs successful with out college degrees. Do you think a college education is necessary?
It’s a necessity for a goal that uses college education as a prerequisite. Other than that, I think living is a requirement. Learning who you are and what that means when you meet new people, new places, experience new things. The brands began to take shape as I began to create long lasting relationships in college. Virtually all of my lifelong friends were met in college. It was a necessity for me socially to show me who I was and most importantly, who I was not.
When did you know that the lawyer or doctor gig wasn’t for you?
Different opportunities present themselves when it’s their time to. I never completely wrote being an attorney full time out and I never wrote going to medical school out. What I did know is that I didn’t want to be boxed in. There are so many dreams that die because we choose to be boxed into one career or one idea. I think we’re much more than limiting ourselves with choices and should choose to be as much as we can in the short time we have.
The relationships in college allowed me to get a feel for people from all different walks of life. Every person I met in college was another lesson and contributed to my taste. Looking back with business in mind, I’d say it
helped me realize how to create a relationship with people. The remarkable thing about the college setting is the fact that we were all there to learn similar concepts but had different ways of learning and seeing the world. Taking the differences taught me that everyone…the privileged, the barely getting by, the creatives, the academics, the anti, the popular, the wallflowers, the partiers, the health conscious, the druggies… all have three things in common. 1) Whether they like to believe it or not, whether it’s genuine or not, they all sell something. A vibe. A lifestyle. An ethos. Something. 2) They are all customers. They all buy things that they can relate to and help them live the lives they’d like to lead. 3) The few who ventured outside of their respective comfort zones were always the leaders of their comfort zone in some way.
How did you find your life’s passion?
Sometimes passion finds you. It always finds me while I was living life. My life’s passion always exposed itself when I was surrounded by or on the verge of something unknown, beautiful, or horrible. I think your life’s passion embraces you when you stop ignoring what you long/lust for and find out why you long for them. Not to control it, but to appreciate it for giving you that passion for it. I get a feeling and I do things to remember the feeling. For example, an experience I had with a love interest inspired a piece in the collection. I remembered the colors that evoked vivid emotion. I found myself alone and put it in a coat and tie. It’s very cliché but everyday experiences inspire life. Life is the muse behind everything I do. You’d be surprised where daring to do things that others wouldn’t, may lead.
Which of one your companies came first?
The publication came first. My closest friends decided to create a group where we wrote and tested laws for men. That pretty much led to the other ideas. The journey with my friends had a few unforgettable moments that left me with no choice but to somehow encapsulate them. The menswear rules and a lifelong love for menswear made creating a menswear line the next step. I wasn’t a stranger to giving tips here and there or having conversation on the past, present, and future of menswear. Now, Nothing Nice New York seeks to tackle streetwear and the sartorial. The cigar deal was a super risk but it ended up working. The first time I smoked a cigar, I knew I had to make sure that kind of pleasure was at my fingertips at all times. That led to setting out to create the best cigar experience, period. Now, all three cigars under Vida Chocolate are super premium and graded among the elite cigars. Lastly, the wine came after seeking out the best tasting wine with my friends. The goal was to figure out what it was missing in order to have a wine speak for our generation. I guess it’s up to whoever is in the know in our generation to decide if Steel Rosé is just that.
How did you dive into the world of spirits?
The decision to venture into spirits wasn’t an easy one. There are so many spirits. I just didn’t think there was one that captured the nightlife I was in. Some brands lacked quality but excelled in style, others presented the opposite. I just wanted something that was smooth, versatile, and embodied a sense of youth that celebration is all about.
What are the most important business rules you’ve learned thus far?
Adapt well but stay true to your vision. Never stop improving your brand but stay true to your vision. Keep going even when critics, naysayers, or your body tells you otherwise and stay true to your vision. Stay low and keep firing. Whatever you do, don’t stop.
What inspires you?
The process inspires me. The ups and downs. The wins and the losses. The subtly sophisticated things people do when no one is watching. My city. Sexy stuff. The feeling right after you come up with a good idea and you hit the drawing board. The feeling you get after a plan comes together and that little voice in your head asks, ” What are you going to do to top that?” All of it, really.
Where will Egomeli be in 10 years?
I have no idea. I’m working now to make sure it’s a comfortable physical, mental, emotional, and creative space wherever it will be, the kind of space that has global influence. Wherever it is, want to be the best at it, the best me, and have the most fun doing it.
Photography by Aaron Francis