Though he’s only been making grills for the past two years, Ian Marks has become synonymous with next-level mouth jeweler. So much so that he is now known in the industry as The Gold Teeth God.
But how exactly did this 23-year-old L.A. native become the go-to jeweler for top celebrities like Future, Kylie Jener, IloveMakonnen, and Ian Connor? What inspired his designs? And what marketing strategies did he adopt to rise above the rest?
Well, thanks to a Q&A article published by i-D magazine, we now have the answers to all those questions.
In the profile, Marks explains how he got his start in the business, which basically sparked after he copped his first grill at a local swap meet: “I really loved it, so I started wondering how they're actually made,” he told i-D. “When I saw Johnny Dang fly to California from Houston just to make Juicy J a grill, I figured I'm already here, why not learn myself?”
From there, he decided to educate himself on the grill-making process, which he shared with Complex earlier this year. It’s a pretty standard method, but what really sets his pieces a part from the rest is his desire to stray from the beaten path.
“I won't even sell Jesus pieces or crosses, no matter how much you pay me. I like to make stuff that people are interacting with every day,” he told i-D. “[My inspiration is] all stuff from my childhood and what I like. For example, I used to kill bags of Sour Patch Kids when I was younger, so it was only right that I started making Sour Patch Kids jewelry. Since I grew up in the 90s and 00s, I love Marion and I'm really inspired by BAPE and Nigos. […] Just having all gold isn't cool anymore-you have to have diamonds and you have to be next level.”
And, as you can see from his online store, his pieces really are next level, but they’re not just limited to teeth designs. He has also had his hands in necklaces, pendants, bracelets, and even apparel.
To read Marks’ full Q&A, in which he also gives advice to aspiring business owners, go to i-D magazine’s website.