Fashion & Lifestyle

Interview with Ari Yusef – Founder & CEO of Merchant of the East

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A new online retail chain store has been launched in several regions. Merchant of East is available for daily needs men’s and women’s fashion with a cultural distinct quality to the brand. Founder Ari yusef also known as (independent recording artist/publisher Zion Antoni) is a cultural business proprietor that sees the need for people to express themselves and their own culture and Style. For distinct men & women fashion and accessories merchant of East is one place to stop.

Brand Profile

  • What’s your name and where are you from? My name Ari Yusef and I’m from New York City.
  • Brand Name? My brand name is merchant of East online store and distribution.
  • Current title/company? What’s your motto? Founder & CEO currently. The motto is “daily and cultural appeal. Make a statement.”
  • Tell us a little bit about what “Merchant of the East” is all about? Well Eastern cultures have always appeal to me through my own ancestry and spiritual beliefs. But being from the city my interest and study I have always encouraged anybody else here in the West or from the inner city explore and see the rest of the world. So I entitled the store according to the mindset and understanding of culture. This includes religions and different world views but the point is to make a statement through your apparel.
Merchant of the East

Merchant of the East

My ComeUp Story

  • What initially drew you to launching an online retail chain store? I would say two things service and style. At the head of a vision the body always reflect. It was something I I knew I can seed into.
  • Growing up, what movies or stories inspired your creative passion? I would say narratives. Epics stories with purpose meaning culture a Divine plot.
  • We know you have major links to the creative industries as a cultural business proprietor. Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them how you fit into the big world of independent recording for artists & publishing? How did the journey get started? Well the recording and the publishing was setting the place for years long before I ventured out. My market and bases knew my brand and statement and it’s rapport. So over time it just shows diversity in the way I articulate. As you grow you must mature. 
  • How did you start believing in your own work? What made you really to want launch  and to carve a business out of the daily needs men’s and women’s fashion? Ironically to say the least the inspiration was simple. Winter. I see people specific Styles in the way they creatively Express themselves mostly in the winter. It’s something I do! LOL comfortable in your own shoes so the winter time months like the fall I was able to observe fashion from corporate to Urban to eclectic. Nothing extreme just daily observation.
  • What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started out? Patience and Daily maintenance and a consistency to grow and evolve. Work is the least of the word.
  • Breaking into the online retail industry isn’t an easy feat. What advice would you give young people looking to form their own companies? Marketing tips? Be consistent. Stick with your own Market no matter how diverse and don’t look for too much approval. Be yourself and develop your business as you see fit but always be yourself. Surround yourself with positive partners and always let your work show the fruit. Your brand is always an extension of you in some way.
  • Do you recall any embarrassing moments you had during your come up?  Not that I know of. You see many days of some sales then some zero sales. Nothing is shameful for when you worked hard to establish yourself.
  • Tell us about a time you were faced with insurmountable odds, yet persevered to overcome? LOL the only time I can think of is within running several brands? I had to seek a substantive balance. One keeping up with the other. But it takes time.

My Daily Behind the Scenes

  • What is your typical weekday and weekend like? What do you do when not working? Weekdays I’m always putting in work in business. Sometimes I’m off at my regular job. And sometimes I’m not either way work gets done. I like to relax look at a movie smoke a good cigar LOL or even just go out and have a good time. I treat myself because you have an understanding how much goes out.
  • Where do you find your inspiration? Not only through fashion and specific apparel but music. If I can listen to a good standard or observe the situation inspiration is more than likely to come.
  • Tell us about “zion antoni’?  My public name under my main brand. About 13 years strong now. You can find more information under Google or any search engines.
  • What is your role in the company now? And how involved are you in the day-to-day and overall operations? CEO and the common daily work that is applied. I am 100% involved along with constituents and prospective employees.
  • What songs do you listen to that psyches you up and makes you feel strong? Mainly for the brand? I would say John Coltrane afro blue live. I would deem that the very theme song of the brand.
  • What is one thing you do when you’re feeling stuck creatively? Go and live LOL. Breathe experience eat. Smell cetera inspiration comes from everywhere. But mainly inside you.

My Now

  • For an unknown business, what is the best way to get massive visibility? If you have a budget to invest continue to invest because marketing is going to bring you out there. Risk and management.
  • How did your education and experiences  lead you to launching “merchant of the east” ? As I said before it pretty much reflected my education prior. From the School of Hard Knocks to independent study two cultural study and life 2 cultural study and life experience. Evolving and evolving into your own identity. So The Merchant of East was always with me even before I spoke it.
  • What is the product you’ve created that you are most proud of? Probably my first brand because it carried it’s weight through the years and evolved in different ways from articles books and a soundtrack. This all left an imprint and as I look back I see how I evolved.

My Future

  • What would you like to achieve before the end of 2019? TBA. I let living and nature take its course.
  • What is the most meaningful project you have done? What would your dream project be? I released a Blog called new prisons in 2009 under my first brand. This particular blog gained a lot of acclaim and was able to educate others. Dream? Right now is hard to say.
  • What’s one dream you’ve achieved that you’re most proud of and why? Probably launching again my first brand because it includes publishing and a stream of Consciousness through music. I was also able to do it through radio but in the process other foundations were launched and I was able to help others.
  • Name a charity you are passionate about and explain why it matters to you. How do you show your support? No one specific. But I would say one that creates jobs in more impoverished areas. I work with some people in this area personally to create opportunities for themselves.
  • If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your teenage self? Life is going to be a rocky road develop your vision, learn well and follow through. That’s exactly what I would tell him.


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