As a journalist I’m always on the lookout for good legitimate businesses to spotlight and show how they better the city of Harrisburg Pennsylvania. Since Mallard’s Apparel does a community event each year, I saw the potential for possible future collaboration. However, I don’t write about a business just because it's a business. I look for businesses that really make a difference, display integrity, and show respect. Then, I make a connection, take note of their online presence, and actually talk to them in person.
As I'm scrolling through my Facebook news feed a few days ago I came across a post that read, “It’s crazy how my babys mom never supported my clothing line but wanna take me for child support and take money from it”
Immediately I thought, isn't providing financial support to a child one of our parental duties? Studies show that it takes $241,000 to raise a child to the age of 18 and that does not include college. No matter what our job is or what endeavors we decide to embark upon our children still need our financial assistance. From clothes, shoes, food, co-payments, school supplies, summer camp, medications, tuition, and the list goes on. Whether or not we willingly give financial support to our child or the other parent takes it, it is our duty as parents to make that financial dedication to our children. Our children cannot be raised on love alone and they never asked to be born so the financial support should come without complaint.
After reading the post and wondering who would make such bogus remarks about taking care of their own child I realized it was coming from Mallards Apparel. The first time I heard about Mallards Apparel I was at the 2013 717 Video Music Awards (VMA’s) in Harrisburg Pennsylvania where Mallard's Apparel won best clothing line of the year. What got my attention was how the owner, Duane Mallard, spent his entire 30 second speech thanking his “haters” (which is never a good look). Business people don’t thank people who hate them. They give thanks to the people who are the reason for why they have won or hit a certain milestone in their endeavors. In Mallards case it’s no surprise that he didn't make the ballot for the 717 VMA’s in 2014.
As an image consultant for over five years, my natural instinct is to offer up solutions to better a situation, especially when it looks like somebody is crying out for help, such as Duane Mallard did. Sometimes people can use my solutions and sometimes they can't and that's okay.
Mallard’s response to my suggestions to help his situation indicated that Mallard might need to receive some training or mentoring on accountability, leadership, and emotional control before he can successfully take his business to the next level.
The hardest part about being an image consultant is trying to help people understand that they are a brand and if they have a business, they represent that business brand at all times, so it's important to maintain a level of emotional control and self-respect, not just for themselves but for their children, significant others, parents, and the longevity of their business.
There was a two degree of separation between Mallard's Apparel and myself through our social media outlets. Just as I treat all of my Facebook friends, I would complement his work and laugh at some of his jokes. After his response to my suggestions, I was reminded of a well-known quote that I forget from time to time.
“Do not correct a fool or he will hate you. Correct a wise man and he will appreciate you”
What our community needs is people who know how to deal with conflict without degrading or humiliating another person (especially the mother of your own child), more men who won't publicly complain about financially supporting their very own children, more business people who take their businesses seriously, and more people who are really for our community and aren't just pretending or going through the motions, such as Duane Mallard and Mallard Apparel.
We need more wise men, men of integrity and character, because our community already has enough problems and the last thing we need is another business bully who believes that we have to support their business even it means taking from his own children to do so. It's not clear what Mallard's business goals are but one thing is very clear when doing business in Harrisburg, if you aren't honest with yourself there is no way you can be honest with anybody else.