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Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  699 ratings  ·  69 reviews
One of the most provocative entrepreneurs of our time, who started Ecko Unltd out of his parents’ garage and turned it into a media empire, Marc Ecko reveals his formula for building an authentic brand or business.

As instructive as it is innovative, Unlabel will empower you to channel your creativity, find the courage to defy convention, and summon the confidence to act a
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Atria Books (first published September 17th 2013)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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J.F. Penn
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: entrepreneur
Fantastic for creatives wanting to be more entrepreneurial and taking charge of their brand. I also bought the print version because it is full of Marc's own art as well as stickers (yeah!) that I stuck in my diary along with my notes. Now that IS good branding!

The book explores a 'formula' for authenticity, relating to unique voice, truthfulness, capacity for change, emotional impact and imagination. Marc explains each relating it to his own personal journey from graffiti artist and t-shirt de
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Ecko made millions designing hip hop and skate culture inspired t shirts and hoodies. In this book he explains how he overcame various production and marketing obstacles while trying to build the brand. I think the only part that interested me was how he found affordable ways to do full color screen printing. The 50th law written by Robert Greene and 50 cent is a much better riff on business and "street instincts." It's better to go to the source than to some privileged white man's ideas for tha ...more
Amar Pai
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
An entertaining read, despite Ecko’s penchant for expressing his Brand Philosophy through page upon page of pseudo-mathematical formulas. It’s like he wanted to write a math book but didn’t know any math, but wrote a math book anyhow.

So 1 star for the formulas but 4 stars for the grind, the hustle and the sheer artistic talent. Ecko is a very talented artist! And if you care about your Personal Brand, there’s much of interest in these pages. I came to it by way of Complex (magazine/youtube chann
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Disclosure: I won a free copy of this book in a First Reads giveaway.

Though I didn't know much about Marc Ecko before reading the book (save for seeing his Ecko Unltd. clothing line here and there), I was interested in what he, as a notable entrepreneur, had to say on the topic of branding and marketing. I wasn't disappointed. Unlabel is part memoir, part business/marketing "textbook" (as described by Ecko himself) -- but don't let the word "textbook" fool you. The content is honest and relatabl
Donna Parker
Nov 03, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a complicated book, likely cause? The author is complicated.
Artistic in its layout, not surprising. This book seems more biographical than self-help. Still, it had some helpful moments. I received this from the Goodreads First Reads Program and at first I thought, this is going to be a loooong read, but it wasn't, it was interesting.
I'm not sure if I'm convinced of authenticity, but as far as branding, Ecko is a master.
Glen Gordon
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The most authentic look at branding I've ever read!
Andrew Galasetti
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I won a copy of Unlabel from a Goodreads contest. Also, I’ve been a fan of Marc’s.


Firstly, I think Unlabel is best read as a hardback. The quality is incredible and there are many artworks and images to take in. As a paperback or ebook, I feel something would be lost, and I usually prefer ebooks and paperbacks.

The two cons I had about Unlabel were how it was annoying when some of the summarized lessons were placed in the middle of a section and how I would have liked to know
Ben Dunay
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I knew little of Marc Ecko before reading his story, aside from knowing his clothing line and being reminded (while reading) that he's the guy who bought the Barry Bonds home run ball, branded it with an asterisk, and sent it off to the HOF a few years back…

His book is a really good (and fun) read for anyone interested in business or entrepreneurship… and I'd imagine an even better read if you're into merchandising, or if you are a creative, etc.

A few takeaways for me:
- If you want to be succ
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: higher-thinking
Marc Ecko has a voice that speaks directly to you. He tries to peel away the ideas of how to play everyone elses game and create your own. This is an autobiography in short, mixed with the way struggled to stay true to his art. It is a great read and will definitely change your perspective on the way you view yourself.
Jul 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015-books
So, I've never heard of Ecko Unlimited, which should have told me I was the wrong audience for this book. I stuck it out, waiting for the marketing/business advice...but really it's just a long autobiography full of name-dropping and blame-shifting.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Kind of interesting at the beginning, but quickly got boring until I finally gave up before finishing. Not a whole lot of business advice, mostly just Marc Ecko's story. I might have liked it more if I knew who he was before I started reading, or was a fan of his brand.
Maryam A-al khalifa
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
you should never be busy counting! bad boys move in silence, made my understand the brand is person with his story, voice, failure and success
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I liked this book quite a bit (listened to the Audible version, so I didn't get the full hardcover effect I've read about in other reviews). As someone with very limited knowledge of the Ecko Unltd. brand (almost embarrassingly so) and Marc Ecko himself, I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of brand story arc. It proved to be an interesting one. As far as entrepreneurship books go, I much prefer a creative-turned-businessman story than a businessman-building-another-business narrativ ...more
Alex Shaikh
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is required reading for anyone looking not only to start a business to have a deeper understanding of what moves them. Ecko is honest and open about both his business success and failures and it's really refreshing and inspirational. I've read a ton of business and philosophy books and this is by far one the best books I have read on both topics. Honestly, it's one of the best books I have ever read. This should mandatory reading in high school and or college courses. I'll be sure to have m ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started this in e-book form a few years back. Picked up the audiobook and really dug in. Hearing Mark speak himself on each experience really changes the tone of the book. Lots of great life and business lessons and some very interesting side-notes I hadn't known prior.

Whether you rocked ecko in high school, want a different perspective on business or just loved Complex magazine, this book should be on your list.
Diego Leal
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed it. Marc emphasized authenticity while growing his brand.

Fun Fact: Lucky break to have a professor at Rutgers design a curriculum for him to barely come to class while still pursuing his t shirt business.
Angel Salinas
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is entertaining and thought provoking. When ever I need a little lesson about authenticity -- I revisit this book. I love it. PS Todd Haberkorn does a great job voicing for the audio book. Mind you is really good!
Xeno Hemlock
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-development
Hilarious, pop culture-filled, and preachy (in a good way), towards the end part I asked myself, "Has this been made into a movie?" The lessons in the end will touch any creative who struggles with doubt and identity.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Not a bad book on branding but also not really memorable to me. Truth is the most important point that I got from it, meaning your brand needs to be authentic.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, philosophy, mindset
Massively important for anyone interested in the connection of personal brands with organization brands. Well bloody done.
Brandon Mullan
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great blend of creativity and commerce.
KungFu Drafter
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
In today's world there number of voices has exploded beyond measure. Whether they come from blogs, books, magazines, newsletters, podcasts, Vine videos, or tweets it is becoming far too easy to miss worthwhile voices in the din of noise. So imagine how rare it is to just randomly reach into the stream and pull out not only a book that looks like it might be fun to read, but have it turn out to provide useful business-related information.

TLDR? This book is a surprise. There.

The entire book is the
Jeff Finley
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is largely the story of Marc Ecko - from chubby outcast, to aspiring graffiti artist, to entrepreneur, to fashion icon, to mainstream celebrity, and back to a more realistic "authentic" state of being - one TRUE to his creativity and internal guidance.

It brands itself as somewhat of a how-to guide for clothing companies (or any brand really) on how to succeed without "selling out." But the actual how-to material isn't really that obvious and it's laced throughout the autobiographical
Chris Jennings
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For someone who knew very little about Ecko the brand and even less about Ecko the man, I really enjoyed this book. First off, it's one of the most visually stimulating books I've read in a while. Bright colors, illustrations, diagrams, equations, photos of celebrities from Marc's life, it's all here. Also can't remember the last book I read that came with stickers! Anyway, beyond all the visuals, Ecko tackles a very abstract thing and provides structure, guidelines, and a literal equation to bu ...more
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
On the one hand, I am saddened that this book isn't on the "must read" list. But on the other hand, not everyone will get this book. And I'm glad. This book is for creatives of all types. The people who don't fit the mold. Those people who want to create, and maintain, an authentic brand. The kind of brand that stays true to you. Whoever you are.

The detailed chronicling of the successes and failures in this book is true to life. The attitude portrayed is one to be adopted. If you believe in the
Wayne Sun
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about execution. It's one of the most solid books out there that emphasizes how to build anything great. It's a book authored by a guy who has actually done things and has the scars to prove it. It has nuances, lessons, and honest, truthful, and incredible moments (from his home in Lakewood to negotiating and being at the helm of an acquisition target valued at $500mm -- damn!). You will not find a book this well articulated and put-together anywhere by any entrepreneur in similar ...more
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Full Disclosure: I listened to this book on Audible and really need to buy the hard copy to look at the visuals.

I kept hearing about this book from the creative types in my life and thought I would experience it for myself. I was pleasantly surprised at this marketing/business/self affirmative driven book. Unlike other stuffy versions of how to start, run, and exams your business, it was presented as a story that I could follow along to while presenting unconventional methods that complimented
Alex Pyatetsky
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
4 stars because it's an interesting story. In particular, it's a fascinating story of how businesses change as they go from the garage to global market and how their founders lives evolve from poor to hanging out with Puff Daddy.

It's not especially well written and I thought the explicitly educational effort in it came off as pretty try hard. He would have written just as informative of a book that reads much better if it was proper memoir.

Anyway, if you are capable of learning from case studies
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Required reading...

This is required reading for anyone looking not only start a business to have deeper understanding of what moves them. Ecko is honest and open about both his business success and failures and it's really refreshing and inspirational. I've read a ton of business and philosophy books and this is by far one the best books I have read on both topics. Honestly it's one the best books I have ever read. This should mandatory reading in high school and or college course. I'll be sure
Marc Rocket
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book. I couldn't put it down. It gave me a great many ideas on branding my own growing business and also was suspenseful, yup, suspenseful. Will he survive? Go bankrupt? Sell out & retire? It was a total page turner.
Anyone starting a new brand will or has done many of the things Ecko did. It was great to learn how they played out for Marc & Seth.
I did get a little lost on the concept of gate keepers vs goal keepers and wish there was an index for finding these concepts.
I may need to rea
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Marc Eckō is an American fashion designer, entrepreneur, investor and artist. He is the founder of Marc Eckō Enterprises, a global fashion and lifestyle company. He is also the founder and chairman of Complex Media, a network of 110+ websites that generate more than 700 million page views and 70 million unique visitors per month. Eckō serves as an emeritus board member to the Council of Fashion De ...more

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