LONDON: Sloane Square
Marc Burton, is the British entrepreneur based in London. He is the man responsible for creating and owning some of London’s most creative nightspots over the last decade, Mahiki, Whisky Mist, Tonteria and Geisha at Ramusake, where the British Royals and A-list crowd are always seen. Alongside this, Marc founded DecorumLYD, a luxury fashion brand that specialises in making the best hand made leather jackets in the world for men. Over the last few seasons men such as Pharell Williams, Damian Hirst and Will.I.AM have all been spotted wearing Marc’s leather jackets.
Marc is an extraordinary gentleman who seems quite often, “larger than life” or in the least, ahead of it. Besides his natural charisma, his upper crust swagger is hard to match, even in the well manicured society of London’s West End. The London “it guy” spent a few moments with us recently to catch up on who he is and what’s been happening in his high profile world.
How is it that you speak French so well and where are you originally from?
“I was born and raised in London but my Mum is French so I spent all my holidays in France. It gave me a great balance and insight into experiencing two amazing cultures. I do feel more British, however in London, people always say how French I am! I studied Economics at the University of Bath but my real education came from my first PR and events business that I founded there. French has always been a part of my life as we spoke it at home and I then lived in Paris for a year working. A lot of the people I work with in our clubs are French so I’m continually switching from English to French. I now spend time in Italy, as my jackets for my brand DecorumLYD are handmade there so I am starting to pick up Italian.”
“I have always loved meeting people. I used to spend my Summer’s in the South of France. I was always drawn to the clubs as it was there that people would let their guards down and interact. In the day at the beaches and restaurants people would stick to the people they knew. Where as at the clubs people would mix. Having gone out a lot in France and London when I arrived at Bath university where I studied, I felt it lacked a really fun party. So I decided to create my own. I took over a members club, The Blue Rooms, every Tuesday and built a team to promote it. This was successful and it lead me to having four student nights a week. I then got known as the guy who organised fun stuff and on the weekend people would want to go out in London. Nick House, at the time was the biggest promoter in London, so I worked with him, sending people to his nights. Just as I was graduating, Nick House, was planning Mahiki, so I joined, as the Marketing Director. Mahiki, was the polar opposite to all the other clubs but it’s uniqueness worked. I then co-founded, the members club Whisky Mist. This was such an incredible experience and it did better than anyone could have imagined. After five years, I sold my equity in Whisky Mist and opened Tonteria, a Mexican tapas lounge and nightspot on London’s Sloane Square with my business partners Guy Pelly and Alain Dona. I wanted to establish Tonteria as one of the most exciting and creative nightclubs in the world. We have shots of tequila delivered to the guests by a toy train situated on the ceiling. Cocktails are served in Mayan pyramids and Lucha Libra wrestler heads. And performers wear giant masks linked to Mexican characters.”
“Alongside Tonteria, I just opened, Geisha at Ramusake, this year, located in the heart of South Kensington. It is based on a fine dining and dancing experience where you can eat incredible izakya Japanese food, drink some amazing rum and Sake cocktails and dance with your friends all under one incredible ambience. My business partner Piers Adam and Alain Dona and I set out to fill the gap between restaurant and nightclub and the inspiration came about by us both noticing how the popularity of Japanese food has risen in London over the last decade. We were also inspired by ‘Villa Romana’ in St. Tropez, Baoli in Cannes and Lio in Ibiza, which provided a dining experience where over dinner the setting would evolve into one of fun and dancing. We knew immediately that London was ready for this dinner/dance concept. At Geisha, guests can expect incredible Rum and Sake flaming and sharing cocktails in giant dragonheads and Geisha houses; and incomparable entertainment to any other in London, with fierce Kabuki and Geisha performances and Samurai shows.”
“In 2010, I founded and created the men’s luxury leather brand DecorumLYD, the creator of the rarest leather jackets in the world for the man living his dream. Synonymous with avant-garde design, exquisite craftsmanship and relentless attention to detail, each jacket is hand crafted under the expert eye and hand of the DLYD Italian artisans. Only a specially limited number of DecorumLYD jackets are hand crafted in the Italian atelier. My fashion design first came about by chance, when I created a pair of monogramed slippers for myself that were handmade in Italy. They quickly caught the attention of Jay Z, Will.I.AM and Jonny Borrell and so seeing that demand, I then decided to create Decorum the brand. Once I sold out in several slipper collections I decided to focus on hand made leather jackets. Like the slippers, I had always wanted to create my dream leather jacket and so I did. My dream jacket got so much attention that it was only instinctive that I developed a full range of leather jackets. In establishing DecorumLYD, my mission was to make people aware that we all have dreams and rather than buying into someone else’s dream, we should create our own and go out and live them (Decorumlyd.com / @DecorumLYD).”
“I love how eclectic it is. Everyone passes through London, and so there is an incredible mix of people arriving in London all the time. It’s always moving and changing, there’s always something going on.”
Any plans for your brands to enter the US market soon?
“There has been a lot of interest to open a Tonteria in New York but nothing has been finalised or confirmed as of yet. We think it would work very well over there. As Geisha has only just opened, all of our time and effort is dedicated on building the foundations in London and so we are just focusing on that at the moment. The next venue will be in Dubai. With DecorumLYD, we’ve been contacted by stockists in New York, LA and Miami. However, as the jackets are hand made we are keeping the production very limited for the next year and only distributing them from London. However, they will definitely be in the US next year.”
How did your best selling book, Successonomics, that you co-authored with Steve Forbes come about?
“With the success of some of our ventures, I am often asked to talk on why I thought they succeeded. I realised that there were some principles that we repeatedly used and I wanted to share them. I decided to break them down and I termed the concept ‘UTP’, which stands for ‘unique talking points.’ Marc Tidd, a British entrepreneur, heard the concept and he put me in touch with Steve Forbes and the book developed from there. It was an amazing project to be involved in.”