Get to know Malcolm Jenkins. He is an author, business owner, philanthropist, former athlete, and father. He is also a former Philadelphia Eagles safety and two-time Super Bowl champion. In 2022, he turned down a deal for $6 million from the NFL. The decision helped him to concentrate on his business ventures.
“I felt confident in my ability to survive and my own acumen, so that’s a blessing,” he told WHYY News on becoming his own boss. “Most people don’t get to step away from the game. Their contract ends or the team tells you you’re not good enough anymore or you get injured.”
Today, he has several businesses in the media, tech, apparel, real estate, and food industries. The New Jersey native runs Damari, the Philadelphia ‘fashion house’; Disrupt Foods, a restaurant franchise network and investment company; and E&R Real Estate, a developer with projects in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Georgia.
Before launching Damari, which is also his middle name, he started a men’s accessory business known as Rock Avenue Bow Ties.
“I was making handkerchiefs, bow ties, neckties, things like that when I was in New Orleans,” he said. “When I got here, I really expanded on that company and turned it into a full custom clothing line.”
He started the business after realizing that professional athletes rely on the same suit makers, and would come to events wearing identical outfits. He wanted to change that by providing something fresh, new, and outstanding.
“Every player shopped the same three custom clothiers. You come thinking you’re fresh and you’d see three guys with the same suit on,” he said. “The majority of guys, the reason they had on the same suits is because they would allow their reps to pick their clothes for them.”
Jenkins’ Disrupt Foods enterprise is mainly Papa Johns and Wingstop locations. His goal is to become the largest Black-owned franchisee in the nation for fast-casual food brands.
Curiously, the football star’s first business investment was in real estate. He invested in an apartment complex in Ohio that was purchased with a line of credit for just shy of $1 million, WHYY News said.
“I jumped in front of the line [of offers] because I was the only one who could pay in cash [from the bank as opposed to a mortgage],” he said. “The building was fully occupied so it immediately cash flowed and paid for itself. I remember asking my financial adviser — Is this legal? I just bought a million-dollar building and now I own it. I didn’t pay a single dime for it, that just seemed crazy to me.”
Jenkins’ business portfolio also includes Broad Street Ventures, a $10 million investment fund with Black and Brown investors, which includes some NFL players. According to WHYY News, the fund invests in early and late-stage consumer products and tech companies.