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Blog

The Big Picture.

Steve Bauer

I miss GRZLY. I think about it all the time, and by no means is it dead. It's currently hibernating like a bear, while my focus now is on the big picture. I have reached the conclusion that this brand will never be what I envision it should be, without ample funding to manufacture and distribute it in the proper channels.

I wasn't blessed with a slew of industry contacts, rich parents, or a pretty face that I can plaster all over social media to cheaply advance my endeavors. I toyed around with finding an investor, but at the end of the day, I don't want anyone else's fingers in my cookie jar. The only way for this to ever truly work, is with my own capital.

This brand represents a paradigm shift in my life. When I developed this concept, it was at a time when I had been working a dead end job for the better part of a decade, and I was frustrated at how mundane and routine my life had become. I knew that I needed a way out. So summer 2014, I dumped a bunch of money into it, printed up shirts and stickers, made a website, and just fucking did it. The response was amazing. I had lots of people in the area wearing my stuff, and I was shipping orders all over the country at one point.

But even with its early success, at the end of the day, I was nickel and diming. I'd print a few dozen shirts, sell them out and dump that money back into printing new stuff. But this was growing the business at a snails pace. I was hyped on the status that it gained so quickly, but it still wasn't my ticket out of the routine bullshit. It was good supplemental income, but it wasn't enough to survive on. 

At the end of 2014, the tragic freak passing of my friend Noel Korman and his girlfriend Alice sent my world spiraling downwards. In the following months while still reeling with grief, I endured a pretty public, very embarrassing, and very humiliating betrayal by two friends. Dealing with both of those things at the same time, to be quite honest, sent me completely off my rocker. But, it lit a fire in my soul that would have never existed without it.

In the spring of 2015, I was offered a position to manage my friend's restaurant and I jumped on it. Threw myself into the fire. Quit my job that I had been at for a decade. Left behind behind a familiar environment, benefits, and five weeks paid vacation for a complete unknown. Because I knew something needed to change.

That restaurant consumed my life until the early fall. I busted my ass, worked a ton, and we built this brand new place into one of the biggest hot spots in the area. Lines out the door, reservations booked weeks in advance. We killed it. I was surprisingly let go, but it was for the best and we parted ways on good terms. I was working 60+ hours a week for essentially the same pay as my last job. I had no life. My dog was home alone all the time. And it was all for someone else's dream, not my own. I couldn't have done that forever.

So here I was in the fall of 2015, unemployed and collecting. I had six months to figure out a plan. My plan was to take the rest of the year off, and start looking for work after the holidays. But life had other plans in store for me. In the middle of January, my brother Danny passed away from a heroin overdose. I held his arm when they removed his life support. I watched him take his last breath and my world went into the darkest place it's ever been.

A few weeks after his services, I went out to visit friends in New Mexico and Colorado to clear my head a bit. My unemployment was running out by the end of April, so I needed to get serious about a plan for my next move.

Throughout all of March and April, I put out feelers for employment. A few things came my way, but nothing that seemed like a great fit. A buddy of mine had reached out to me about this solar energy company he was working for and how well he was doing, but I just blew it off.

I explored a few more options, but nothing panned out. In mid-April, I re-read his message about the solar company and hit him up. He explained to me how everything works and put me in touch with the local recruiter. I went to a few of their meetings as a guest and knew immediately that it was something I would really enjoy. On top of that, it is a position with the potential to make double, or even triple of what I was making at my last two jobs. This was my ticket out of mediocrity.

The only catch with this job, was that it is full commission. You don't work, you don't get paid. I've never had a sales position before, let alone a full commission position. It was frightening, but I decided to take a leap. I can say now, it was the best thing I've done in a very long time. I'm three months in, and already one of the better performers in my office. I haven't looked back since.

Now, if you've gotten this far down into my rambling autobiography, there's actually a point to all this. And that point is, after this insane rollercoaster journey that my life has seen in the past two years, complete with uncertainty and sometimes unbearable hardship, I have finally found the avenue that is going to get my vision of GRZLY to a higher level. It's going to take hard work, dedication, and focus on the big picture. But the tools are now in my hands.

For the foreseeable future, my focus and resources will be solely on this new gig. This coming with the knowledge that my hard work will be rewarded with the opportunity and means to make my dream into a reality.

In closing, thank you if you actually read this. And thank you to all who supported my dream in its infancy, and will continue to support it. I feel a true obligation to all of you, to make this thing work. Rest assured, you will see this mighty beast awaken from its winter slumber.

Cheers, and stay tuned. GRZLY shall return with a vengeance.

 

 - Steve Bauer / Founder

 

Major Site Overhaul

Steve Bauer

welcome back to www.thatgrzly.com. the site is now super mobile-friendly for your convenience. Stay tuned for new products and new blog content. #grzly #2016

Fall Sneak Peek + Summer Blowout

Steve Bauer

Fall is right around the corner, and some fresh GRZLY gear is in order. I've already started working on some new designs. A few new men's crewnecks, some new ladies' styles, and a hoodie.

The general theme for this release is "fuck your feelings." Sick and tired of this sensitive world we live in. Humans are getting softer by the minute. Our species has come so far in terms of acceptance, co-habitation, and understanding. We've overcome so many of the social injustices of past generations. It's beautiful and inspiring. But that doesn't mean everyone has to be such a fucking PC pussy all the god damn time.

That being said, a quick peek at one of the new crewnecks that will be dropping in a few weeks:

 #fuckyourfeelings

 #fuckyourfeelings

These will be up for pre-order very soon. As with everything though, when the new comes in, the old must go out. So I'm throwing an end-of-summer blowout sale tomorrow night. More on that in a few.

Every thursday, myself and some pals DJ at Dingo's Den, which is a local watering hole located in Clifton, NJ. Tomorrow night, we will be throwing it down, and I will also have some GRZLY merch babes on deck this week. I'll have a big table with all the summer gear on clearance. Some select styles as low as $5. Supplies are limited though, so get it while you can. Jump-off tomorrow at 10PM.

615 Van Houten Ave / Clifton, NJ

615 Van Houten Ave / Clifton, NJ

Party on, y'all.

Don't die wondering.

Steve Bauer

When this brand first dropped in July 2014, it was a turning point in my life. At that time, I had been working a desk job for nearly a decade. My life felt stagnant, and I knew that I needed a change.

GRZLY became the physical manifestation of the inspirations I gained throughout the years from music, art, skateboarding, road trips, boredom and personal tragedies. It was something that I always wanted to do, so I just fucking did it.

Word spread faster than I imagined, and the brand started making it's way all over the country and even into Canada and Europe. I was going to the post office a few times a week to send out orders. It was a super exciting time in my life.

Although the brand was thriving and becoming known, it was still not generating enough income to survive on by itself. There are a lot of overhead and administrative costs involved that always have their claws in the account. So, I had to juggle a full-time job along with a side business that had essentially become a second full-time job.

I can tell you this though... if I was ever somehow allowed to solely do nothing else but develop and grow this brand, I would blow it through the god damn roof. Believe that. 

But, as the kids say these days, the struggle is real. I don't have the luxury of living rent-free at mommy and daddy's house. Nobody is buying me cars, feeding my dog, stocking my fridge, or paying my bar tabs. This shit right here is a one-man show.

I spent countless days sitting in a cubicle, hating every second of it, daydreaming of a grand escape from my corporate chains. And earlier this year, that escape fell into my lap with a phone call from an old friend who was following her own dream and on the verge of opening a beautiful new restaurant in Morristown, NJ. She is an amazing and well-known chef who is a former protégé of the famed Bobby Flay, and a three-time competitor on Iron Chef.

She had reached out to me originally to discuss bringing me in to create the branding and identity of her new place. Through those conversations, she expressed concern over hiring an outsider to manage and operate her new business. It didn't take me much time to let her know that I was ready for a change and willing to take on that task.

And I jumped ship just like that. Left a job I worked for ten years on a dime. Left behind five weeks paid vacation, health benefits and 40 hour work weeks. Left behind all routines and all things comfortable and threw myself into the void.

The place has been open for 10 weeks now, and has exploded beyond anyone's expectations. Lines out the door, rave reviews, NFL players eating there... seemingly in the blink of an eye. And here I am... the point guy... the face that every one sees when they walk in that door. My life has taken the biggest 180° turn imaginable.

However, all of this required putting my brand on hiatus for a bit. At one point, I had only taken about three days off in a month, and was working twelve hour days. I physically did not have time for anything else, but this is what is required to make a new business grow and thrive. Oddly enough though, I never felt disconnected from GRZLY. Making moves and throwing yourself into the fire is the absolute essence of what my brand represents to me.

I have recently gotten to the point where I have some more help running this place, and I have set days off to plan the rest of my life around. It's hard to plan things when you never know what your next day off will be.

Last week, I completed a full redesign of the website, and my plan for the next few weeks is to work on laying out designs for all new men's and women's gear to drop in the fall. I took some time off to help someone else realize their dream, but now it is time to get my own dream back off the ground.

Cheers, and thanks for all of your loyalty and support.

Steve | GRZLY Founder/Owner

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