Can you tell our readers who Harley Morgan is?
I am Harley Morgan, CEO, and Founder of both ROE: The Agency, LLC and Indie Fashion Week. I also hold the title of the Founding Father of the Modeling Troupe Phenomenon here in the DMV area. I’m Creative. I’m a Model Development Specialist. A Serial Entrepreneur. A Dot-Connector…I make things happen! A LOT OF THINGS!
This month we are highlighting men’s health and fatherhood. Are you a father, and if so, what’s the biggest joy in it?
Yes, a proud father! I am blessed with a two-year-old daughter whom I love unconditionally. Most definitely the best thing that has ever happened to me. I think my biggest joy is watching the development and learning process of this little masterpiece. It is such a pleasure and surreal experience watching her get smarter and learn her way about the world daily.
How vital is men’s health to you and why?
As a black man, men’s health is extremely important. I know that culturally, men of color have a stigma with health and wellness; for some reason, we would rather not know. I, too, was one of those men. However, I’ve learned that when you are a part of a family, your health and wellness affect the entire family, not just you. It would be stubborn and un-kingly to bestow that type of stress on your loved ones purposefully. Fellas, take care of yourself – for you and your loved ones!
How did the idea for ROE THE AGENCY come about?
So, ROE started as a modeling troupe, the first modeling troupe in our area (Established 2001). And, of course, in DC, all we wanted to do was walk! It was runway this and runway that. We believed that we were models simply because we could walk. There was a time when I wanted to be a male supermodel. In 2002, I got an opportunity to audition for a model and talent agency. Me thinking I was a shoo-in simply because I could walk the worst attitude I could’ve had walking into that meeting. I was overconfident, arrogant and knew I had it in the bag. Boy, was I humbled fast! The agent went down this exhaustive list of things that I either needed to know, be able to do WELL, or simply put; I was in the wrong place. The only thing I could say was, well, I can walk; he said, thank you for your time. I was at a loss for words. I couldn’t bare telling my model friends that I wasn’t a real model. I then said I have to be the one to get us educated on what it takes! We need to be able to have our fun (runway), but never, will anyone tell us we aren’t models again. That was the basis of transforming ROE – The Modeling Troupe to ROE: The Agency.
What is the meaning behind the name?
ROE is an acronym for Righteous One’s Entertainment. Back in 2001, the very first show that my partner and I at the time produced was entitled “Righteous Ones: Destination Fashion.” It was a fundraiser for Archbishop Carroll High School. We started our business as Renaissance Entertainment, but that quickly changed. The opening night of that show had a line wrapped around the school – tons of support! My partner and I were in the lobby watching the people pour in. He says, “I think we should make the name Righteous Ones our company name…It must be good luck. Well, the rest is history!
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I just wanted to do what I wanted to do – how I wanted to do it. I was always the person people would look towards for a social solution or something to do, and I always had a solution that warranted good results. That led me to give them something to do. I studied Marketing in college, and it’s such an abstract field. The most important takeaway from Marketing is that success is in the originality, creativity, execution , and customer experience/feeling. I strive to embody and perfect this daily for the sake of my brand and business.
Can you describe/outline your typical Indie Fashion Week show day?
Well, I get up super early and ensure that I’m organized. I have to write things out to feel organized, so I literally handwrite my run of the day and run of the show before typing and sharing it. Once I arrive at the venue, I have an expectation meeting with the entire cast. I like to make sure that everyone is clear on what is to be done, executed, and delivered by specific points of the day. Once that is done, I let the atmosphere do what it does with the cast and crew. Indeed there are hiccups, but I try to approach them calmly. If the leader is frantic, everyone will be frantic. Once our guests arrive, I always move about the room and ensure that everyone is excited. I then check up on the back of the house, and we have a meeting again (not as organized, of course, LOL). We pull the trigger and make magic – each and every time!
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
It might be cliché, but resilience, consistency, patience, and the ability to have and utilize an open mind. It really works! They literally all work together. If you find your groove using all of these characteristics, success is sure to follow.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Doing what I want. Whether it’s a good or bad result, I have the power to make the decision. Also, I have the power to learn from it and try it again at my own will.
What motivates you?
Success. My family’s happiness. Great consumer feedback. Learning new things.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage it?
My greatest fear is not reaching my long-term goals, and it is because I didn’t do enough. I manage that by always giving my all. When I look back on something, I never want to say to myself, “Damn, I should’ve…” – those days are gone! As long as I try and give my all, I am defeating my fear!
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Undoubtedly, the experiences that have profited well. Outside of that, it is super satisfying to hear how well others speak about my brand when I’m not present. There have been HUGE opportunities that were bestowed upon me without me being the catalyst of it. That will ALWAYS be among my most satisfying moments.
How can our readers connect with you?