Ethan King may have taken the long road to becoming a successful business owner, but he is forever grateful to the mentors who took him under their wing. Now 42, the founder of Zeus’ Closet is eager to pass along his hard-won wisdom to other entrepreneurs.
What person, thing, or event has influenced your life most? When I was in college I made some bad decisions. After being suspended for a semester, I eventually graduated with an Art degree. I had a criminal record and trouble finding a job, so I worked small gigs to make ends meet. One night, on my way to a club gig, I was carjacked at gunpoint. I truly thought the robber was going to kill me. When I heard him drive off with all of my belongings, I vowed that night to turn my life around.
What is your favorite way to give back to your community? I am extremely passionate about helping entrepreneurs grow. I often speak to students and entrepreneur peer groups like Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). I’m former President of the Atlanta chapter, and I also serve in regional and global leadership roles. I find it extremely rewarding because it changes people’s lives, encourages growth and enables them to provide more jobs in their communities.
“Honestly what impressed me the most about [Ethan] was his realness, humility and vulnerability about coming out of the rubble of some hard places…taking ownership, turning it around and inspiring others to do the same. ”
—Lisa Washington, 2017 Over 40 & Fab! Cover Winner and 2020 Advisory Panelist
What inspired you to do this particular kind of charity work? I was an Art major with no formal business training. EO gave me the tools I needed to scale up my business. Throughout the years, other entrepreneurs took me under their wing and mentored me. I serve to be that same type of resource to other young entrepreneurs like me, particularly in creative industries, who may not have an MBA or come from a wealthy family.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments? I have two. Raising two beautiful, intelligent children. Then, the time I was handed a business award on stage by the same college president who had suspended me from school a decade earlier. The irony of that moment signified to me that I had come full circle.