I don’t recall ever doing this before. I don’t write much besides the poetry for this website. I also curate the music that’s published but I’ve never really taken a moment to write about the journey we’ve taken and the road we’re currently on. I guess it’s because I want to put whatever we’re working on in the forefront and I want to stay in the shadows for the most part.
However, every brand has a journey and ours has certainly been long winded. I’ll probably create a separate page with a more detailed timeline of our evolution from a failed streetwear label and screenprinting company to a growing lifestyle brand. But for now this is a snippet of the path that led me to this point and a semi-introduction to me.
The very first class I took when I moved from New York to Tampa was Entrepreneurship and it changed my life forever. I’ve been addicted to building my own brand from scratch ever since then. @GullySteez started that semester in highschool. I just didn’t know it yet.
When my streetwear brand disintegrated over a partnership dispute at the height of our momentum I thought my dream with the name was over. I figured I’d just start something else but an unknown force kept pulling me to keep our online presence active so I did that as I dived into a screenprinting venture that I failed at due to a lack of passion in that field. Screenprinting kept us alive though and it also provided me with content to post on our social media channels. No one was paying attention but it got me through a mental blockade that lasted two years and then I started Gully Mag and everything changed.
We started a membership that ballooned to over 100 members in 18 different countries. People started to use the #GullySteez hashtag and we’re at over 109,000 hashtags used now. It’s incredible!
Back in 2014 a member asked me to start an art contest so I started two with #Sketchathon and #SteezWars. We barely got participants for a long, long time. But I persisted because that initial member believed in our mission enough to suggest something to me and I had to see his vision through. Now, both of those contests are steadily growing on a month by month basis and we launched a third art contest, #Sketchaholics, a few months back.
We also got blessed with the honor of hosting #SecretPoetryStash and have big plans for its future.
Our Facebook page has quadrupled in size in the last 6 months and our latest tshirt giveaway received over 60 entries. I’m starting to get messages of encouragement from people I might never meet. I’m starting to be called an inspiration at a time when I’m struggling to keep up with my bills while nurturing our growth. This is becoming real. Really real. And it started with a dream to make my own shirts. Now I’m dreaming to run one of the biggest hip-hop lifestyle brands of all time and host some of the biggest art contests in the world.
I’m going to do it too because if I’ve learned anything in this journey it’s that you have to dream big but you must also have the determination to see it through with the appropriate baby steps. It’s a day at a time for the rest of time. This is a marathon, not a sprint. End rant.
Be You. Live REAL.
– Daniel Steez