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Meet CEO Ricky Marton '14

Ricky Marton with students
Ricky Marton (center, holding ball) playing soccer with a group of children in Haiti.

Apr 4, 2017

By Samantha Surrency '18
Copywriter

FSC students come in with big dreams and leave with hope for the future. One alum, Ricky Marton ’14, an artist and philanthropist, is living out his dreams of inspiring change in the world through his nonprofit charity organization, Be Robin Hood (BRH), through which he donates his time and effort to make an impact in the lives of the less fortunate. In between running a successful business, charity work, and freelance photography, Ricky found the time to share his insights into success with us.

Where are you originally from?

Naperville, Illinois

What was your major?

BFA in graphic design, with minors in creative advertising and advertising and PR.

Why did you choose to come to FSC?

I was looking for a small school with the right major and good staff – FSC fit those requirements. The soccer coach saw me play, offered a scholarship and that sealed the deal!

What was your experience as an art major at FSC?

I think it was overall a great experience. The classes were challenging yet fulfilling and I feel they greatly prepared me for post-graduation. Also, couldn't ask for a better staff, especially Sam Romero and Eric Blackmore. Both were heavily involved with my work all four years at FSC. I traveled to Peru with Professor Blackmore freshman year for my study abroad so we bonded then. However, both pushed me to grow and put out the best work I could.

How do you believe your experience at FSC led to what you do now?

It taught me how to put out final projects. We treated every critique in class like the real world and I think that benefitted me greatly. I was given endless support and a wide variety of knowledge based off all the classes I took and have applied it to every aspect of my company that I now run!

What extracurriculars were you involved in as a student?

I was a four year starter on the men’s soccer team, received an athletic letter, and also participated and won a handful of intramural sports.

What’s something you do in your spare time?

Ricky in a Robin Hood hat.

I’m an avid reader! I wish I was joking when I say this, but I have books laying everywhere in my condo, so anywhere I sit I can pick one up and resume where I left off! I’m currently in the middle of about eight books or so – can’t get enough!

What inspired your career path toward philanthropy?

I enjoy being creative! Right out of school I was hired by a litigation service company where I worked with attorneys to create presentations that would be aesthetically appealing and persuasive in court. Then, I would go into cases with them and present live while they were speaking. After a year, I realized I wanted to do something that gave back a little more. I quit that job and soon after founded Be Robin Hood.

What does Be Robin Hood do?

Be Robin Hood (www.berobinhood.com) is a charitable clothing brand, that also doubles as an online marketplace for other altruistic companies! Every product on the site is brought to you by companies that we have formed a special partnership with as they value giving back as much as we do. The site allows you to shop multiple brands, prices, items, causes, etc. all knowing that every order gives back to multiple causes, charities, or organizations!

Although Be Robin Hood is a startup, we have already gained a large following that I couldn't be more grateful for! Even though we sell clothing and accessories, the items aren’t all we focus on. The “Be Robin Hood” lifestyle is just as important. Give back when you can. Help out anytime possible. Inspire change when and wherever you can!

Robin Hood is known to “take from the rich and give to the poor.” Our interpretation of the story is a little different, but our philosophy is similar: anyone who has the luxury to eat warm food, drink clean water and buy new clothes is fortunate. In the eyes of the poor, you are rich. We urge each and every person to acknowledge that fact, give a little, and to become Robin Hood.

What do you like most about what you do?

I love how fulfilling it is! I know every hour I spend on Be Robin Hood leads me closer to our ultimate goal of helping inspire change! Running the company allows me to be creative and be involved with every aspect of running a business, which I really enjoy.

What do you do during the day?

I spend the first hour of the day having a coffee and reading on my balcony. After that, I take care of the most important tasks I have on my plate. Then, it all depends on what sort of things are on the agenda! I’ll work for a few hours, go to the gym or for a run/bike ride then get back to work. I also shoot aerial videography for some real estate companies from time to time, so that gets thrown in the mix as well to get me out of the house! Evenings are spent reading, having fun in the kitchen cooking something, and typically working on less exciting tasks.

How can current students or community members contribute to your cause?

There are many ways they can get involved if they’d like! I have several intern positions I’m currently looking to fill that involve sales, marketing, or writing— anyone interested in a position can contact me at rmarton@berobinhood.com On top of that, we have a brand ambassador program implemented to help spread the idea of our company if anyone wants to put some work in to get free stuff! The more people that know about Be Robin Hood, the more we can give back to the causes we support.

Ricky with one of the children he volunteered with in Haiti.

What are your goals for the future?

Growing BRH is my goal! I plan on reaching out and getting our Element Collection in stores or boutiques to help widen our audience. On top of that, we will be throwing some events that I look forward to. A big goal is to keep adding products and companies to the site and create the largest source of charitable goods!

Besides Be Robin Hood, I and a teammate from college (Adam Hansjons) are launching a watch brand in the summer! We recently traveled to Hong Kong and China and have since been designing a series of five watches for a launch scheduled for July.

Have you done any volunteer work?

I have! All my life I’ve been volunteering at various places. My recent endeavors include a monthly beach cleanup that I am involved with and I just returned from a trip down to Haiti that I’ve decided to make a yearly ordeal. Down there, I assisted with building projects at a school, health clinic, and orphanage (while also playing a little soccer with the local kids).

What have you learned in the field that’s different from what you learned while studying?

I could go on and on about this, but one of the biggest things I’ve learned is how to execute tasks and not worry about being perfect. I could spend hours and hours on certain tasks that 99 percent of the people out there wouldn’t even notice, so picking your battles is very important. Every time I cross something off a task from my master “to-do list” three more things seem to always get added. Delaying decisions doesn’t have any benefit so if there’s a question or a project, call, email, shipment, or anything that needs to get done I do it!

What advice would you give current students or young alumni?

Do what you love! I’m extremely grateful for taking my first job at the litigation service company – it showed me the pros and cons of the corporate world. However, after getting out, I realized we live in an ever-changing world that allows for us to seek out what makes us happy! Money isn’t the most important thing in the world, experience and fulfillment are.