Gregory Holland always knew he wanted to be his own boss. At eight years old he pictured himself carrying a briefcase and walking into his office. Now-a-days he dons his own self-designed shoes and strolls into his office space at bloom where he coordinates the fashion design, marketing and production of Virginia’s newest fashion house, Guasu.
Guasu is a footwear company that designs radical and quality shoes for millennial shoe enthusiasts. Gregory wants to revolutionize footwear. He had the idea for the initial product design in 2017 and launched the brand in February 2021. “I’ve always been creative and this has been a journey, but I knew from a young age that I wanted to create a legacy. I had to figure out what that looked like to own my own business,” said Gregory.
Guasu is an acronym standing for Grew Up a Screw-Up and reflects his own personal changes to shape his life. “I never saw the kind of business owner example growing up, so I set out to create my own example,” he said. As most entrepreneurs at bloom can attest, the pandemic shifted their perspective on business. Gregory believes the pandemic could either help or hinder individuals. “It helped me. It gave me the time to think about how I could make my dream a reality and how I could prevent being a victim if business shut down.”
This downtime allowed him to begin making contacts and creating his prototype footwear design. “I don’t know what I’m going to find out, I’m just trusting and believing in myself. Whatever’s outside that is going to happen, but I made a decision that I wasn’t going to chase money, I’m going to chase a dream. Once that narrative flipped in me, things started aligning.”
One of those things was hearing about the Startup Stability Program opportunity. “I was just on social media when I saw an ad linking to the application for the program. That was truly some targeted marketing, because that ad found me. I spent the whole weekend getting my application and business plan together.”
Gregory was accepted into the program and moved into Bloom in July. Since then, he’s pitched his company to a forum of investors, grown his social media presence, met with potential clients and created his next series of footwear designs. Being in an environment of entrepreneurs has helped fuel his business. “It helps me think freely. I love getting to say ‘I’m going to the office.’ Also, learning from others is inspiring,” he said.
During the 12-week educational component of the program he was given the steps to put a plan on paper and into action and he’s developed a network of people to help him. “That’s the best part of a coworking space, the network.” Gregory shared a story of recently catching up with a childhood friend. He was telling him about his office and the launch of the business and his friend said, “you were always going to do this.” Seeing Gregory’s dream become a reality is just part of what happens when you bloom!
Find Guasu here.
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