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