gully Steez

Got Purpose?

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When I first moved to Tampa I was upset. Maybe even depressed.

I wanted to be back home.

I wanted to go to my old school.

See my old friends.

I wanted to go to 85th and play handball till the sun went down.

But life had a different plan for me.

A plan that required me to be in Tampa to realize what I wanted to do with my life.

Fresh out of New York I took an entrepreneurship class my first semester of junior year at Wharton high school.

That entrepreneurship class changed my life by opening my eyes and making me think about the possibilities of building my own business.

It required me to write out a business plan and it was that plan that ended up being my first draft for what I’m doing now.

It was a plan for a retail store that would sell the dopest sneakers and clothes.

And I’m trying to execute that plan with Gully Steez, my blog network and aspiring retail outlet for All Things Dope.

I truly believe that I was placed in this city for a reason and I’m not leaving or claiming I’m solely from NY when we succeed.

It’s NY – FL. Queens – Tampa. Always.

This is because I feel like Tampa gave me a sense of purpose that staying in New York may have never provided.

Moving here was truly life changing.

If I had stayed in New York my life’s trajectory would have been very different.

I had aspirations to go to law school or climb up the corporate ladder. But I never felt passionate about those aspirations.

I only had them because they were the “SMART” goals to have. The goals that would most likely lead me to success.

The entrepreneurship class changed all that though. It was like it validated something I had known deep inside all along.

I don’t want to work for somebody else for the next 30-40 years of my life.

And my mission, my purpose, my main goal is to build a company that lives forever.

I don’t know how I’m going to do it. And I’ve made countless mistakes in the past three years since I registered my company.

But my resolve has never been stronger.

My drive has never been stronger.

And my goals only keep growing.

I found my purpose and I’m shaping my destiny.

I implore you to do the same.

And remember…Be cool, Stay fresh, Live REAL.

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Progress Takes Sacrifices

It’s unwanted.

We avoid it.

Yet, the reality is that it is a necessity in order to progress.

Just in case you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about and completely disregarded the non catchy title; I’m referring to sacrifice.

Not the “Im about to kill my son to give him up to the Lord” type sacrifice either.

Rather, I’m referring to the little sacrifices you should be making to progress in your personal life.

Like a person’s pledge to cut pizza out of their diet in an attempt to eat healthy.

Or a pledge to stop going out on weekends in an attempt to save money for a vacation.

It can be any type of sacrifice that is made for your personal growth.

At first these sacrifices may seem unnecessary. And you may try to make excuses as to why you don’t need to change anything. Or give up anything. But once you take that leap and reach your goal the feeling is unexplainable.

In order to succeed in life I believe it takes hard work, dedication, and a good deal of sacrifice.

And even though I am by no means successful yet I am no stranger to this truth.

From a young age I’ve been a sneakerhead, buying my first pair of Jordans on my own at the age of thirteen. After that pivotal moment my young adult life revolved around saving every penny to go spend $180 on a pair of sneakers, just for the perk of having them two weeks early.

I never thought that I was paying a ridiculously high price for a pair of shoes that cost a couple cents to make. I was enamored with the styles, the colors, the dopeness. I was on a mission to be THE MAN. And I was. I amassed a collection of sneakers so vast I built a wall from the floor to the ceiling with my sneaker boxes. Every dollar I made tutoring went to sneakers. I even made sacrifices for the shoes. A little less food ordered at McDonalds . Not going out to play pool a certain night with my cousins. Whatever it took to make that money before release date.

By the time I was 20 I had probably circulated through more than 100 pairs. And was still just as addicted to collecting precious sneakers. I still kind of am. Something had happened in those couple of years though. My love for the sneaker culture had led me to a want to make clothes to rock with them. And just like that the idea of Gully Steez was born. I saved some money and got my first batch of tshirts. After dealing with the screenprinting company and taking a tour of their vicinity I came to the conclusion that I could do the same thing they were doing. I could buy a printer and print my own tshirts. However, with a low paying job the idea of saving up 2,000 seemed impossible. And I was desperate to get started.

One morning I got up and was going through my daily routine of choosing what sneakers to wear when it hit me. My screenprinter and all the supplies I needed were in my closet. If I sold all my sneakers I could buy the printer and enough supplies to get me started. But it would mean getting rid of my entire collection. Letting go of some of the rarest sneakers around…for a dream. It was a sacrifice I wasn’t sure I could make. And it took me a week to pull the trigger.

After the first pair sold on eBay I went on a selling spree and eventually got rid of all my sneakers. With the couple thousand I made I had my part of the investment ready and bought the screenprinter with my partners.

When it got to my house I built it with my mother and looked over it after we were done. I was thinking about what I had given up for it. I didn’t even know how to use the printer. What if I never got the hang of it? It wasn’t like I could sell it and buy all my sneakers back. I was in this for the long haul.

After watching tutorial after tutorial and trouble shooting day after day we finally got the hang of how to print a tshirt. When the first tshirt was printed it was probably the proudest moment I’ve ever had. It was something small. But it meant the world to me. Everything I had given up had culminated to the creation of the printed tshirt that lay before me and it symbolized what the future held. It meant more prints. A business to call my own. It meant I was closer to living out my dream.

And it all started with a decision to sacrifice something I thought I couldn’t live without.

It’s time for you to make your own sacrifice. And progress.

Wynwood, Miami (4/13/2013)

Since she knows me so well my girlfriend took me to Wynwood, Miami this past weekend so I could gape at the GULLY graffiti they got in the area.

And I must admit the art scene in Wynwood is dope.

Every 2nd Saturday they got like 50 food trucks parked in a field to serve the hundreds of people who come in droves to bask in all things art related. Vendors sell random stuff across the street from the food trucks. The walking strip is full of art exhibits with work by artists of many different styles. And while you walk to each exhibit you can’t help but be enamored by the street art all around you.

The artistry found around almost every corner, on every wall, makes the label of vandalism seem unfair as it is clear that it breathes life into the area. And adds appeal to the actual exhibits.

That’s enough writing about it…enjoy scrolling:

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I took way more pictures and I know how much you guys love scrolling so I’ll be uploading the rest of my Wynwood, Miami pictures on http://www.TheDailySteez.com later on tonight or tomorrow if I get to procrastinating (which I have a black belt in).

CHANGES…they happen. Adapt to them.

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Changes, they’re all around us. In our personal lives. And in our day to day lives.

Changes can come small, such as encountering a detour sign on your way to work and having to take a different route.

Or they can be a bit more substantial.

Like your loved one is moving away and you’ll have less contact than before.

Whatever the change may be, you adapt to it. You move on. And if you don’t move on, time moves on. So you, my friend, might as well.

The worst thing a person can do is refuse inevitable change. Or lose their composure in the midst of it.

If you encountered that detour sign and refused to follow it where would you go?

Nowhere.

The best way to look at change is to view it as an opportunity to redefine yourself.

To grow.

Lost your job? You’ll find a better job you’re more passionate about. You can get a job in a different market. You can start your own business. Or go back to school. You have plenty of options. And most importantly, you can learn from your experiences.

You should welcome change and be optimistic about what the future holds.

By resisting change, the stress you create for yourself is unhealthy. And unnecessary.

I urge you to look at the changes you encounter and take them in stride. Look at how you can use them to your advantage. And you will come out of every major change a stronger person than you were before.

Stay Gully my friends.

http://www.GullySteez.com