Working for free to become a marketing mogul

Danny Evans discusses how his passion for photography landed him the job of his dreams. Ethika/Courtesy

Malcolm McCassy, Ryan Sheckler and Travis Pastrana lead the 2000s culture of skater boys and MTV reality. By the year 2012 the street style underwear brand Ethika was launched. In 2009 Danny Evans, a marketing executive at Ethika, sniffed out an opportunity to help grow his photography portfolio. Little did he know that he would soon become a marketing mogul for one of the most sought-after underwear brands today.

Founded in San Clemente, California, making its first sale only 12 years ago. Highly crediting Evans’s favorite part of the job to the oversight of athletes and music artists.

“Getting to work with fun and creative people motivates me,” he says. “I’m attracted to people who think differently and creatively.”

Ethika spearheading social media advertising, Evans saw himself befriending his generation’s top artists and athletes. Seeing this new age of enterprising as an angle to get free advertisement from athletes and music artists by wearing Ethika underwear. Once a photography major, Evans then used his camera skills to get him in the door. 

“MySpace leading into the Facebook generation was huge because we were on the forefront of companies built off of social media, and the only way you can do this is through imagery,” he says. “That was our main marketing tool at the time, which was essentially free because I wasn’t getting paid to do it.”

Authenticity, trendsetting and having a good moral compass is the marketing secret formula to Ethikas success. Creating non-binary print designs inspired by major artists like Machine Gun Kelly on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, rapper Swae Lee, drummer Travis Barker and famous American skateboarder Ryan Sheckler. All working with Evans because they trust he will maintain their creative vision without a financial motive.

Evans credits this to something he calls being a good person in a shitty world.

“The music industry has become more of  ‘what can you do for me’ type of relationship,” he says. “The athletes and artists that I am doing deals with, trying to figure out important financial decisions in order for both parties to win. They trust I can achieve this from what they place on me way earlier in the relationship.” 

Evans keeps track of industries and how they are constantly changing, understanding how every company needs to keep people interested in their product. One thing society will always be highly influenced by is music and celebrities. This aspect solidifies Evans’ marketing strategy to Ethikas success. 

Working for Ethika since it was run out of McCassey’s garage, Evans obtained a large amount of grit to see success underway. After graduating college, his friends began to venture off and get decent-paying office jobs. All whilst he was still working for free out of McCassey’s garage knowing that it takes the long game to find financial success.

“Looking at your career from a long-term goal is hard but pays off in the end,” Evans says. “The first ten years of my career I could have been making more money doing a different job. If I was concerned about certain financial goals, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Continuing to steer Ethika off the beaten path with its multi-colored underwear designs to create their own music label for the artists they represent. 

Giving a piece of advice that is more of a curveball than anything coming from a young marketing executive. 

“I check the stock markets and global news every morning,” Evans says. “It serves as a talking point. Allowing you to be aware of what’s going on when you work in a field that revolves around communicating with a lot of different people internally and externally.” 

Evans had no idea his passion for photography would help Ethika go from selling underwear out of a garage for almost three years to having a brand selling out across the globe—urging the importance of college and how students should take insight from his mistakes. Noting that Generation Z is always looking for shortcuts to success and not looking at the long run. 

“I got into Ethika halfway through my college career,” Evans says. “I was in my 20s thinking I was living the dream. Looking back I should have paid more attention to my business accounting and finance classes. It would have helped expedite the learning curve as the company grew. So pay attention to your classes, you will actually need them.”