Three years ago, Samuel O. Campbell self-published the “Psalms of Samuel,” a chronicle of his upbringing in Jersey City and how he endured life from its rough parts drenched in people self-medicating. Always having an artistic bent, Campbell’s never lost sight of a passion to create – whether that be through his writing or as a musician, fashion designer, and a licensed contractor.
Campbell got help from the city in the form of contracting jobs – help he’s grateful for, he said in a recent interview. But he’s relocated to Pennsylvania for the time being, and last year there in the city of Williamsport, Campbell embarked on Don Marcolo, his line of apparel with the website up and running and a storefront on 1100 Washington Blvd.
That location was one that was highly sought after, Campbell said. He’d sent his future landlord some Don Marcolo products as part of a show of interest in renting the retail space. When they met, the landlord told him about the other prospective businesses, Campbell said.
“For some reason he just didn’t go with none of them but he went with me,” Campbell said. “(Don Marcolo) was just something different for that area. … Everybody wanted to do the smoke shops and stuff. He said he wouldn’t. He knew that he would make all his money back and get his rent on time, but he said he’s just gonna work with me.”
Campbell had been working on his creative visions for years. The things he’d pursued so far are things he’s literally seen himself do in dreams, Campbell said. But the name of his brand, which includes outerwear, sneakers, and clothing with new variations of all of them in his queue, popped into his mind during his time in Williamsport, a city of roughly 30,000 people.
Since then Campbell has hit the ground running – showing his products off to local figures like Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter and NBA player and Williamsport native Alize Johnson.
For the bedrock of his business as a retail space, Campbell has been putting his construction skills to use. He’s also been doing that locally by expanding his Jersey City-founded S&C Contractor Service, he said.
Campbell’s also been networking and learning how to build on that with social media, because he’s just getting started in a field that’s challenging for independent designers, he said.
That plight, too, is part of what Campbell is trying to build Don Marcolo into – “a platform for other designers that’s out there right now,” he said. “There’s nobody that’s really, really promoting (them). You know how hard it is for like regular like independent designers to get their stuff into (retail stores)?”
It entails a lot on the part of those designers, Campbell said.
“I’m trying to do something different where it’s easier and independent designers can get noticed as well.”
In the future, Campbell is looking to open a larger retail store where independent designers can share the platform he’s building. “I’m open to investors,” he said.
In thinking about where he’s at and where he’s been, Campbell circled back to the same idea he hoped to distill in his book. “With a clear mind and a better perception of how to see things now, I’m more than sure I could accomplish just about anything that my heart desires, and I’m just doing it now instead of holding back or just thinking about it.”
Learn more Don Marcolo or reach out to Campbell at donmarcolo.com.
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