“DO NOT GIVE UP! Don’t be so worried about making money that you forget your purpose, your vision. The money will come if you stay consistent, honest and do the work.”
Although it is one of the largest consumer markets in the nation, the Black shopping experience is often marginalized due to lack of resources. Despite a rise in Black-owned businesses, the actual presence of a space where small businesses can reach a wide audience is rare in most major cities. Now there is a space where Black business owners can come together and provide the community with much needed resources. ‘Come Up LA’ is an amazing platform created by Ferris Mason to help elevate the Black shopping experience and the positive reception it has been receiving from the city is unmatched.
1. You’re from Oakland CA; tells us about that experience growing up there and what brought you to LA ?
My name is Ferriss Mason and I am from Oakland, CA. Growing up in Oakland was great as it’s a very diverse city with many different cultures; I’ve had food from all over the world which is a privilege. Growing up in a strict religious household made me a little sheltered. However, it prevented me from getting involved in some of the less favorable aspects of West Oakland.
The move to LA was basically on a whim. I was working at an engineering firm that was acquired by Google and, at the end of my contract, I left. Styling was something I had always done, although not on a professional level. My friends and coworkers always told me I should move to LA. I didn’t see how I could, but upon leaving Google, I was provided with a completion bonus. I took the bonus, liquidated my 401k, and got unemployment. That’s how I started wardrobe styling in LA. I knew no one and took advantage of every opportunity provided. My LA experience has been one of challenge, growth, and victory.
2. Growing up were you brought up to have an entrepreneurial mindset or is this something you learned?
My Dad was a contractor and had his own business; he built and remodeled homes all over the Oakland area. He never had a typical 9-5 job. So, I always saw this as a possibility, it was ingrained in me from a young age. I used to sell vintage and produce events in Oakland, with the goal of someday not having to work for someone else. I’ve always had this spirit; when I had regular 9-5 jobs, my dedication was never to the job but to myself and the goals I wanted to reach.
3. What is ‘Come Up LA’ and how was it started?
‘Come Up Markets’ is a diverse shopping experience for fashion enthusiasts, influencers, vintage shoppers, gold grill rockers, sneakerheads, art collectors, vinyl aficionados, innovators, and conscious consumers. At our monthly pop-up, patrons are able to shop, dance, eat, vibe, and connect with local Black-owned brands, businesses, creatives and entrepreneurs while taking in the sights and sounds of emerging live artists and DJ’s.
The collective goal of ‘Come Up Markets’ is to harness our shared spending power and work communally to achieve this. We do so in a supportive and organized fashion to affect change and socio-economic transformation, while working towards creating generational wealth within our community.
‘Come Up LA’ started as an idea my former partner and I had; we would sit in my living room and run through the basics of setting up the foundation. The idea came to fruition with a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment. The first ‘Come Up LA’ was on June 16th, 2018 and it was held at Union (also known as Jewels Catch One). Most of the vendors at the first event were friends with clothing lines – it was truly a family event. It was more than we had imagined, and love from our elders was the icing on the cake. ‘Come Up’ is wholly and solely about the black family, the community, and our growth together on the path to socio- economic change and wealth generation.
4. How does this pop up shop separate itself from others, what makes this ‘Come Up LA’ unique ?
‘Come Up LA’ is unique because create a space that works tirelessly to reverse the negative connotation of what a “black business” looks like. We are a family, a community. None of this happens without cooperation and communication. It’s a group effort. We do our best to insure that everyone feels taken care of, respected, and valued. Our vendors are hand selected. We want to showcase brands, businesses, and creatives that place high value in themselves and their presentation.
5. What inspires you to keep the business going, knowing that entrepreneurship is not easy ?
We are nothing without community and active support. ‘Come Up’ is necessary as it provides small businesses with an opportunity to connect and cultivate awareness of their brand, business, or services. It allows the community to spend money within the community. That in itself is reason enough to keep going. We need each other, we need the support, the love, and the opportunity to grow, share, and expand in an environment that is conducive to all the aspects of community.
6. What advice do you have for future entrepreneurs ?
DO NOT GIVE UP! Don’t be so worried about making money that you forget your purpose, your vision. The money will come if you stay consistent, honest, and do the work.
7. Where do you see your business in 3-5 years ?
In 3-5 years I see ‘Come Up’ marketplaces nationwide and internationally. In addition to a space that supports growth in just marketplaces, creating an incubator for those who want to be entrepreneurs.
8. How can the people get in contact or find more information about ‘Come up LA ?’
The easiest and most direct way to learn about what’s up next for’ Come Up’ is to visit us on IG @comeupla. There they can find new event dates, vendor applications, and volunteer applications. Follow our hashtag #comeupla, where one can catch a glimpse of the vibe that is ‘Come Up LA.’ For general inquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org.