Experience is a funny thing. Work hard to gain it and you’ll have a short time to dispense with it. Fail to learn from it and you’ll have to relive it. Sometimes, it’s irrelevant. Sometimes it’s hard to communicate and often people who don’t have it will disregard your version of it. But other times, you can sit back, listen to experience and marvel.
Mark McGarry has experience or better stated, he has experiences. Running lifestyle footwear for a global brand, chasing waves in Costa Rica and Taiwan and starting a direct to consumer footwear brand for the underdogs that is throwing haymakers. It all started when Mark channeled the energy he had previously funneled toward skating and surfing into boxing and meditation. What started as a pursuit of health and wellness turned into a full-fledged love affair, eventually spurring him to train in Muay Thai. Mark picked his head up and realized that performance footwear brands weren’t addressing the sensibilities of fighters. Not just boxers mind you, but everyday fighters, the ones who take blow after blow and stay on their feet. The “Black sheep,” as Mark refers to them, who aren’t always gifted athletes but who work to develop the gift of grit and are committed to carving out their own path in life.
YORK Athletics was born, or rather re-born from the ashes of one of America’s oldest performance footwear brands, Indian Head Shoes, which was founded just outside Boston in 1946 by the York family. Travis & Kyle York had been searching for a partner with experience but more importantly, a partner who would meaningfully build on the heritage of their company and internalize the underdog mentality of the York family. Mark was a perfect fit. Adamant that YORK’s product strip away the BS without losing the technical sophistication of modern performance footwear, Mark and his team have delivered the perfect sneaker for the everyday fight.
It’s truly a family affair at YORK. With Mark at the head and his wife Elizabeth as the creative director, it would be easy for things to get in the way. Their theory? Don’t try and leave work at work, especially with such high stakes. Embrace that you have a special opportunity to work, parent and live together and appreciate how rare that is. While easier said than done, Mark and Elizabeth seem to manage while raising their two sons. Mark points to mindfulness and meditation as a force that pulled him out of his most trying times. After a surfing accident rendered him unable to sleep or train consistently, Mark found that starting and ending each day with meditation allowed him to slow things down, focus in on what was most valuable and learn to accept what he could not control. So what has experience taught him? That’s it’s all about family, wellness and pursuing your passions.
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