Dapper Dad Daniels
Having a baby is a life-altering experience that can bring both joy and confusion to a new parent. But, what if you became a parent and suddenly needed to know what to expect on the journey ahead? What if your parents weren’t around to show you what to do? This was the experience of Mario F. Daniels, serial entrepreneur and founder of Dapper Dad’s Magazine.
Because Mario did not grow up with his father he was motivated to be a positive and present father for his children. As a modern dad he noticed the variety of parenting magazines for mothers but many of those did not cater to modern men and fathers. "Where are the daddies in Parents Magazine, Baby Talk and American Baby?", thought Mario. Like every great entrepreneur, when Mario saw a problem, he created a solution and Dapper Dads Magazine was born.
Dapper Dads Magazine is the first mainstream, commercially successful publication to feature fatherhood. The issues highlight sports, fashion, interviews, community and household issues that both men with and without babies care about. Mario created a space in media where celebrities and everyday men can be seen loving their families and looking good while doing it.
He took some time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions on the goals he has already accomplished and his advice on how we can reach or even surpass his level of success. Here’s some of what he said:
BeYou: Who or what inspired you to create Dapper Dads Magazine?
Mario: I grew up without my father and it impacted my life in tremendous ways. It affected how I interacted with people on personal levels, and my romantic relationships suffered greatly because for the most part, I was winging it. When I became a father, I had to learn how to raise my kids based off of those experiences, or lack thereof. As I continued on my journey, it dawned on me that there were many other men like myself who shared the same stories. When it comes to men within the African American culture, I realized that we were depicted more as deadbeats, criminals, and absentee fathers more than anything. I figured that Dapper Dads Magazine was necessary for our culture. We needed something that put us men in a positive light; something that didn’t further tarnish the legacy of the black family. Although we are a multicultural publication, this was an important aspect to capture for my partner and me.
BeYou: When did you start Dapper Dads?
Mario: The idea of the magazine has been […] in my mind for many years. We became an official entity in 2013 with our first release in 2014.
BeYou: How do you feel about collaborating with other like-minded companies?
Mario: I am always an advocate for collaboration. Great minds working together towards a common goal is always a good thing. The key to being successful with this is making sure that whoever you work with can actually bring something to the table. It’s not a collaboration if you have to shoulder everything alone.
BeYou: Have you worked in other industries? If so, which ones?
Mario: I actually started off as a singer/songwriter, later moving into production, then event production, promotion/graphic design, model management, fashion design/styling, then finally made my home in publications and branding.
BeYou: What was your most memorable moment while on your journey?
Mario: Becoming a father. It is the reason that this magazine exists. My kids are my heroes, my motivation, and my reason behind anything I do.
BeYou: How do you feel about teen suicide?
Mario: Because I work with teens, I encourage them to talk to people who can relate and have overcome the same obstacles. It is very easy to “preach” to a teen about what he/she should do, forgetting that we were once there. A lot of teens just want to be heard and seen. Counseling and getting treatment is always a good thing to pursue if it has come that far. We have to work hard to teach our future generation just how valuable they are to this world.
BeYou: What milestones have you reached on your journey?
Mario: There have been quite a few accomplishments… First, seeing the idea become an actual working brand is an accomplishment within itself. My dream is actually a reality. Next, I would say is the people whom we have had the pleasure of working with. Our first cover is Anthony Hamilton, which was followed by Brian White the actor, and now our third issue features Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles. Lastly, people recognize the brand and have bought into the vision. That is a huge accomplishment, because that means that the message we are putting out is being received well. Personally, I’m thankful to have the partner and team that I have that keep things going.
BeYou: What brands have you worked with? Who has advertised in your magazine?
Mario: Many. Here is a list of some of the brands we’ve worked with:
Lamborghini, The Hilton Bentley Hotel in Miami, Loews Hotel in Philadelphia, Mantry, SWIMSS, Nobis Jet Smarter Luxury Jet Booking App, The Gentlemen’s Jolly Luxury Car Rally in the UK, Converse, and Toms. And the list goes on...
BeYou: What are your goals for Dapper Dads Magazine?
Mario: Making Dapper Dads the go to for men who are fashionable, forward thinking, fathers, or potential fathers
BeYou: Why does Mario accept who he is?
Mario: I embrace myself because I only have one life. God gave me this life to do amazing and wonderful things that will change the world, not to live for the approval of others. I like being the kid that doesn’t fit in. I like being a nerd, a goof, a dreamer, and the weird kid. It allows me to reach beyond my imagination and comfort zone. I like the fact that I was able to make fatherhood, or the aspiration of fatherhood cool. Embracing me, means embracing my unique and true self.
BeYou: Why do you support the #BeYou educational initiative?
Mario: I support #BeYou because anything that delivers the message of being yourself in a world where there is so much pressure to be something you’re not is important. Inspiring kids to love and accept themselves is what’s needed in this world.
BeYou: What would you tell aspiring young entrepreneurs about reaching their dreams?
Mario: Think outside the box. Have unyielding faith. Plan, pursue, and execute. Dream, imagine, and be the most creative version of yourself you can be. Choose friends wisely. Understand that not everyone is in your corner, or in support of your aspirations, keep working hard anyway. Live with a purpose, travel, tell the people who matter in your life that you love them. Get some sleep. Use the time in your day wisely and efficiently. Don’t make money your goal, but make happiness instead. Lastly, no one has all the answers, so gain knowledge from everything, and everyone you can.