Other Projects

Over the years, Marcus Lafayette as a company, and Nathan Marcus Brown as an individual, have been involved in a number of other projects as an advisor, as a partner, or as a board member.  Below are a few other initiatives that have been close to our heart.  

Coye Nokes makes shoes for the modern woman on the move. And Coye is certainly a woman on the move.

Since her launch in the Fall of 2009, the brand has grown and is now sold in many of the top stores around the world.  Editors love her collection and her styles have been featured in Vogue Italia, InStyle, Marie Claire and Oprah Magazine, among others.

Marcus Lafayette has been actively involved with Coye’s business since before the official launch. Over the course of the past seven years, we have helped her navigate a variety of business matters including sourcing decisions, sales strategy and overall business direction using industry specific knowledge and a variety of deep relationships.

Through her hard work and steely determination, Coye has built a growing business during the worst retail downturn in living memory. Have a look at the result of all this hard work. Her shoes are stunning.

“As a member of our Board of Advisors, Nathan’s expertise has been invaluable to the formation and execution of our business strategy. He has intimate knowledge of the challenges facing businesses during start-up and the early stages of growth and is always on-hand to serve as a sounding board and coach. Nathan is a gifted entrepreneur whose industry knowledge, vision and big picture thinking have been vital to the commercial success of Coye Nokes.” – Coye Nokes

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In the first 12 months from launch, Movellas' platform for “Mobile Novellas” experienced explosive growth, a huge level of commitment from users, and a new model for innovation within the traditional publishing industry.

We worked with CEO and co-creator Per Larsen since the formation of the initial concept.  Our focus has been split between finding ways to build the existing community and generating revenue to get the company to a sustainable financial position quickly.  Movellas was quick to capitalize on the explosion in fan fiction and the different commercial opportunities that it presented.

“Over the last couple of years I have had the pleasure of having Nate as an advisor and business partner. Most recently Nate helped us launch Movellas.com internationally and once again his impact was great. Nate is one of those rare people who can quickly understand a market, identify the opportunity and translate it into a plan. While other people are still thinking and working on their “slides”, Nate has already raised the funding and sold the product. When I read “Who” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street on hiring A-class people, Nate was the first I thought about because he is that rare A-class guy.” – Per Larsen

Rational House Developments is a project that is close to my heart, as the prototype has also become our family home in London.  As Robert recounts more elegantly in his own words below, we started out as neighbours and then became friends.  He was building his new business at the same time I was building Lodger, and before long we were meeting regularly to compare notes on our respective projects.

After I sold Lodger, I became more actively involved with Rational House, both in terms of detailed work on the prototype as well as working with Robert and his colleagues on structuring a company to commercialise the Rational House concept.  We are now working on the next phase of growth for Rational House, in London, across the UK, and around the world.

For over 40 years, I have been a practicing UK architect, working on international projects, many of which were high-profile airport buildings.  In 2008, I set up a new company called Rational House to research and build a new form of urban housing.

Nathan Brown became my friend and colleague in the course of this journey, first because he took an interest in the research work, and then, as we developed the prototype, because he asked if he could acquire the first house prototype.  As a result of this, he worked closely with my colleagues and I on the detailed design and internal planning of his home.  Nathan and his family have now owned and occupied the pilot house since Christmas 2011. 

Not only has Nathan made a very positive contribution to our project work to date, but more recently he has also joined us in a new development organisation which we have established to finance and build new urban dwellings (called Rational House Developments).  To this organisation Nathan brings not only his enthusiasm, common sense and his logical approach, but also an invaluable knowledge and experience of innovative business concepts and practices.  We are delighted that he has agreed to become a part of our initiative.  – Robert Dalziel RIBA

The Story of Marcus Lafayette

Marcus Lafayette is both a family name and a family yarn.  How much of it is strictly true has been lost over the years, but that shouldn’t get in the way of a good telling.

Great, great, great grandpa Brown (just how many “greats” is one of the missing details) was a member of the infantry in the Continental Army in 1776.  During his time in uniform, he was greatly impressed by a French general on George Washington’s staff.  Wanting to honor him, he named his first born son Marcus Lafayette Brown.  My distant grandfather had no idea that a Marquis was a title, and that the general’s name wasn’t Marcus.

The name stuck, and down through the years the name became a family tradition.  My great grandfather was Marcus Lafayette Brown, as was his father and grandfather.  My grandfather was Marcus Brown, and my father is Larry Marcus.  My son is Spencer Marcus.

Our family history might not be auspicious, but it’s longstanding and earnest.  I’ve been brought up to honor the values of the women and men that have come before me.  And I hope to pass on this tradition of honesty and loyalty to my daughter and my son.  The name Marcus Lafayette is a small attempt to recognize this legacy.

Nathan Marcus Brown

 

MARCUS LAFAYETTE

MILL VALLEY, CALIFORNIA

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