Student Entrepreneur Perseveres
Transfer student Gregory Joyce II is a great example of the wide variety of clients served by LaunchNET. While many students come to the office looking to start a venture of some type, Gregory came in with multiple businesses already going and ideas for more.
His journey to successful college student and business person, like most, is not a simple, straightforward one. He grew up on the west side of Cleveland, and after completing a semester of college at the University of Akron, he was kicked out of school. In 2014 he moved to Atlanta, Georgia and attended Morehouse College, where he was exposed to different world than the one he grew up in, allowing him to foster his love for art.
Greg launched Provok Clothing in the spring of 2018. After his clothing line’s initial launch, The Shaderoom (aka TSR Media Company) shared the brand, sending it viral. This set him up for a college tour, where he participated in fashion shows, speaking engagements, and pop-up shops at nine universities. His brand has also participated in over a dozen fashion shows across Ohio. His brand has been worn by music artists, comedians, athletes, and media moguls alike.
We were lucky enough to catch up with this busy Kent State finance major to get his take on entrepreneurial life.
What’s the best entrepreneurial advice you’ve gotten?
Mr. Darrell Johnson, former director of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, gave me the best advice that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. He told me, “No matter what you do, big or little, make sure you do it like it’s for TV because someone is always watching.” I ran with it and make sure whether I do an event with 20 or 200 people I always make sure I come with the same enthusiasm, and more importantly, the same professionalism.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
The company and really the entrepreneur that I admire the most is FUBU and Daymond John. I studied how he started his business and how he was able to corner the market. FUBU was one of, if not the most dominant, urban clothing lines in the ‘90s. A lot of my marketing and business structure is modeled off of his company. I also admire the dedication of Daymond John and his perseverance to continue pushing forward his brand and finding new markets to expand.
Favorite entrepreneurial book or movie?
My favorite entrepreneurial movies are Walt before Mickey. Walt Disney in my opinion is one of the greatest creative minds of our generation. No matter what your personal opinion of him, his drive for his dream outweighed his early circumstances that would’ve cause many others to waiver. When people think about being a entrepreneur, I think a lot of people think it’s easy. Disney himself failed several times before he succeed. His first company, Laugh-o-grams, actually went bankrupt; he lost many colleagues and struggled before he “made it.” I see myself in Disney because he allowed his imagination and determination to overshadow what others deemed as failure to create one of the best known brands in history.
Who or what motivates you?
My biggest motivation is my mother. My mother is Antiguan-born and was raised in the US Virgin Islands. My mother has told me several times of the hardships she faced growing up but it never stopped her. She and all 12 siblings were able to all go to college and further themselves. When my mother went away to school in Puerto Rico, her father passed away. Hearing and seeing what my mother was able to overcome in her lifetime motivates me the most. I know that I have nothing to complain about and that no matter what situation I’m facing I can always overcome it. I think oftentimes we take little things for life in granted, so I’m grateful to know my mother’s story and see how strong of a woman she is. She is truly my guardian angel.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Patience, Consistency, and Sacrifice.
I think that all of these can be considered a skill even if most people wouldn’t consider them all skills. One of my favorite quotes that I heard was, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Patience and consistency I believe go hand in hand. In order to be a successful entrepreneur you must know that nothing is built overnight, “Rome wasn’t built in a day; they laid a brick every hour.”
In order to truly be successful you must be willing to sacrifice, which I think is the most important and hardest skill. What are you willing to give up in exchange for the life that you want? I ask myself daily, “How bad do you want it.” In the fall of 2017, when I really started taking my business seriously, I kind of disappeared from the world. The sacrifice that we all choose is different. I chose to isolate myself socially in order to dedicate myself to my craft. These three skills are in no way absolute; however, I think that if anyone can at least have a basic understanding of those three they will go far in their entrepreneurial journey.