Dani Kagan & Victoria Marshman: City Moguls – Fusing Fashion, Philanthropy And Entrepreneurship
Starting as an annual runway show four years ago, City MOGULS has expanded to become a multi-layered platform focused on connecting and supporting some of Canada’s most innovative young minds.
Founded in 2016, City MOGULS was set up by three entrepreneurs who wanted to not just support and nurture other young, upcoming entrepreneurs, but also raise funds for charity in the process. Here, co-founders Dani Kagan and Victoria Marshman discuss the expansion of City MOGULS, their partnership with Covenant House Toronto — a charity serving youth who are homeless and at risk of being tracked — and why platforms like City MOGULS are so important for young people.
City Life: First, it would be great to hear about you and City MOGULS in your own words.
Dani Kagan: We started City MOGULS about four years ago, out of a need to have an event we always wanted to attend. There are three co-founders: me, Victoria and Monica Gold, and [with the three of us] having a passion for the arts and entrepreneurship, we wanted to bring those worlds together and shine a light on the young entrepreneurs in our city. It started with wanting to put on an event to celebrate that and help inspire the next generation to go after their dreams, all for an amazing cause.
Victoria Marshman: The runway show that we started four years ago is our signature event. It’s the event City MOGULS started with, but we’ve grown to do smaller spin-off events throughout the year. We also have a great following on social media and digital platforms, so we’re a platform for education and information on our moguls. We really made the shift, especially this year, [from] being a onetime, signature runway show for charity to a full brand. It’s been a big year for us.
CL: What happens at this signature runway event? What could someone attending expect to see?
DK: The event is really unique. All of our moguls walk the runway in Canadian fashion. We love promoting homegrown [fashion] brands and designers, and giving them a platform. We’ve incorporated the arts, so we have dance pieces and music pieces in the show, and we have a VIP lounge and open bar that are great for networking. And, after the show, it turns into an afterparty with surprise performances.
VM: The main focus is celebrating entrepreneurship. All of our moguls are entrepreneurs, starting creative companies that change the way we do business. That’s what we’re highlighting and then there are the layers underneath that. So as well as highlighting Canadian designers, we raise awareness and educate about our charity partner, Covenant House Toronto. Last year, we raised $50,000 for them and educated people about human tracking in Canada. This year, [we raised more than $80,000, which we] are donating to Covenant House’s program to help support youth with mental health and addiction [issues].
CL: Why do you feel platforms like City MOGULS are so important for young people today?
DK: The three words we focus our whole brand on are: “inspire, motivate and connect.” We want to help inspire people to bring giving back into what they’re doing. Money can’t be the driving force for success these days. We see the value in being a conscious Canadian. We’ve always done our part in giving back and putting on events, but we really wanted to spread that to giving back through the millennials and young professionals coming up. The second part of that is connecting people face to face. It’s really easy to go about your day and not go to events and not meet people. It’s hard for young people to connect and meet people, so even getting them to events and giving them educational takeaways is really exciting for us. It’s needed. We like to bring good people together.
CL: What would you say to young people on the fence about taking the entrepreneurial leap?
DK: I think what Victoria and I really stick to and are held to, having worked for other people, is that there’s never a good time. If you have a vision and your gut feeling is telling you to go after it, there’s never going to be a perfect time, so you should
just do it.
CL: How can people get involved and support what you’re doing?
DK: Obviously, they can come out to our events and be a part of the community that way. Coming out to events has the biggest impact. If they want to just donate to the cause, they can. All of our moguls have fundraising pages, and you can donate directly to Covenant House. People can also join our newsletter, where we provide educational information on our moguls, events and community.