Today, we are sitting down with Mark Chou, our Director of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships, to kick off a new series featuring the staff at ONA. Through our Photographer and Blogger Profiles, you’ve gotten the opportunity to learn about friends of the brand and the fantastic work they’re doing. Through this new series, we turn our attention towards members of our own team and hope you will enjoy these Staff Profiles.
ONA: Tell us about your role at ONA.
Mark: As Director of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships, I oversee all aspects of our marketing activity as well as our product collaborations. Marketing-wise, this involves everything from bringing influential photographers and bloggers on board as ambassadors of ONA, to managing photo shoots for new collections being launched, to coordinating all of the editorial content that appears on this blog and across our social media channels. It’s such an enjoyable role for me, since I’m a photographer as well.
In terms of strategic partnerships, I approach other brands making great products in the fashion, photography, technology, and even publishing worlds to determine whether there is an opportunity to co-create collaborative product. Prior collaborations that ONA has launched include a custom camera bag with Leica and a special-edition strap with charity: water. We’re always looking for new brands to work with!
ONA: What led you to apply for your job at ONA?
Mark: As a photographer, I had known about ONA for quite awhile, but it wasn’t until last fall that I discovered the director of marketing and strategic partnerships role. It’s kind of a funny story – I actually got married twice last September, once in New York and then again the following weekend in Hong Kong, where my wife is from. One early morning in HK while suffering from jet lag, I pulled up LinkedIn for some reason, and saw that ONA was hiring. I applied immediately and started interviewing after my honeymoon, and the rest is history!
ONA: What’s your favorite bag from the collection?
Mark: As someone who is supposed to be promoting all of our products, it’s a bit difficult to pick a favorite child, so to speak, but the Leather Brixton in antique cognac is the one that I carry around with me every day.
ONA: What do you usually carry in your ONA?
Mark: On work days, it’s usually a combination of a laptop and papers, with small items like business cards and earbuds stuffed into the front pockets. I also usually carry around a Fuji X100s as my day-to-day camera. When I’m on a portrait or commercial shoot, it’s usually my Nikon D600 with my favorite lens (a 35mm f/2) attached as a default. An 85mm f/1.8 provides me the perfect focal length for portraits, and a 24mm f/2.8 lets me capture wide landscape or interior shots.
ONA: How do you spend your time outside of work?
Mark: I still shoot on the side under the “Mark Chou Photography” banner, and also recently started up a photobooth business with my wife. Having grown up in the Deep South, I watch a lot of college football during the fall, rooting for my beloved Auburn Tigers. I’m also a watch collector – I have about a dozen now, some vintage and some modern. And when I can, I try to get out of the city to spend some time outdoors. One of my recent favorites was an amazing backpacking trip to Yosemite with several friends. It’s probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been!