Phillip Terrill: The Man Behind the Brand

Phillip Terrill and business partner John Bailey.

Phillip Terrill and business partner John Bailey.

With your youth still ahead of you, your best friend at your side, and access to many of your industries elite, many would see it as a fine time to turn up. However, Phillip Terrill would say that it was time to clock in.

Phillip Terrill, Co-Founder and managing partner of men’s neck wear line Burks & Bailey, is literally the man behind the brand.

Well spoken, well dressed, and above all humble, Phillip is not too proud to step out of the spotlight. Instead, Phillip prefers  being the man that does the work behind the scenes; which works well for he and his best friend/ business partner John Bailey.

Realizing that partnerships, like friendships, takes knowing each others strengths and talents has allowed Phillip and John to run Burks & Bailey as smoothly as possible. Speaking on his partnership with John, Phillip says:

“I’m involved in both the fashion side and the business side, but i would break it down into a 70 to 30 relationship. I would say i would be the 30 to the creative side because a true partner lets the strengths of the other partner come out… and John’s strengths are the fashion, and the creativity, and the design aspect. But the business, that’s in my blood. To run a business and to make sure that the nuts and the bolts are there, that’s my job. And that’s what i enjoy doing. I’m more behind the scenes.

Phillip has no need for glory nor does he need his name to be in lights to be satisfied with his job.  Phillip even helped create his and John’s company’s name, including John’s and leaving out his own, as he felt it was more marketable and it just felt right to he and John. Giving his view on the company name Phillip said:

“When you think about the actual name of the brand people question it, they’re like ‘well, who is Burks’? You would think it would be like Terrill & Bailey or Bailey & Terrill or whatever, but i didn’t necessarily  feel that it had to have my last name. Its not that I’m not proud to be a Terrill, there’s no question about that. I just know that in the name and the branding Burks & Bailey is the right name; it’s strong and to this point it reflects everything that we wanted this brand to be.”

Burks & Bailey Knot: The Suzanne (Photo Credit: Burks&

Burks & Bailey Knot: The Suzanne (Photo Credit: Burks&

Aside from his selfless dedication to the Burks & Bailey Brand, Phillip has also ensured that their company and it’s products represent he and John. Capturing their Midwestern roots and southern influences. Phillip expressed in an interview with

“We really believe that we can have a luxurious brand that is crafted right here in the USA. Our whole thought process was that if we are going to have something that we put our family names behind it needs to be created here just like we were. So we birthed our brand right here in [the] USA…”

Living in Atlanta, which is a Mecca for African American people, during a time that is racially charged due to current events some would think that it may be hard to enter non African American circles, venues, and industries. But for Phillip that poses no problem at all.

Phillip expressed that despite popular beliefs about changes that have occurred between the races, how you look, dress, and speak still plays a large role in how you are received.

Not one to be intimidated, being one of the few black faces in a room has come to embody a part of Burks & Bailey. Phillip explains saying, “As far as being socially accepted our brands whole basis was to live bolder, look a little bit different, and to really say why ‘knot’. Ive never felt like I’m not socially accepted. If I’m not, hey, that’s fine. I don’t mind going against the grain.

Always humble Phillip explained that if there are any children who aspire to be him when  they grew up and asked him for advice he would tell them not to aspire to be  him, instead aspire to be better than he is.

“Take elements of my work ethic or whatever you see that appeals to you and use that as a type of blueprint to expand that and do better than i have. That way there will be no limitations to who you can become. Especially with the Global climate that we are in you need to be versatile, and adaptable. You should be well spoken and always well dressed. You should be constantly humble at all times.

This is the same energy that we try to put into Burks & Bailey. We are not here to break any racial stereotype’s  . Our perspective is that everybody is the same. Everybody has goals and aspirations and we walk amongst each other everyday. So, that boy or that girl should have the same mentality.

Having attended Tuskegee University, Phillip explained that HBCU’s are essential to the growth and development of African Americans. Saying that an HBCU provides you a link to people who are like you, but know things that you do not. Phillip explained that if you are the smartest person in a room, then you are in the wrong room.

Phillip repeatedly said, “There’s nothing like it, there is nothing like an HBCU.”  Adding, “Attending a black college allows you to be with people that are like you, but it has also equipped me to work in non traditional jobs, to go and work for Miller-Coors, to go out and speak to people who weren’t like me.”

For Phillip, leaving behind something that can remain viable and be reused, as well as built upon would be his legacy. Phillip states, “The legacy that i would say is Phillip Terrill would be just like my parents legacy was from them to me. Which is to build something that is generational and sustainable.  So everything that i do today, my legacy is long term value and benefit to those that come after me. I don’t work all day and all night putting into Burks & Bailey just for me and John. I do it for the people that don’t exist, those would be our children, their children. You could always say a good legacy would be to be a great entrepreneur or philanthropist, but my legacy would be that i left a good mark, i was nice to people, a humanitarian. I built a brand with a best friend and that is just a legacy in itself. I wasn’t just a dreamer. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming but we worked and made that dream tangible. I cant even say that I have a legacy now.  So the legacy is in process.

For more info on Burks&Bailey  check out their website: Burks&

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This post was written by Reginald Calhoun. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.