Today we’d like to introduce you to Casey Boshae Williams.
Casey, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Adopting our rescue Pitbull, Olive was very eye opening for me. It showed me how misrepresented this breed is in mainstream media, and also showed me just how big an issue our homeless animal population is.
In 2017, I went on the hunt for a small Pitbull necklace. Something delicate and feminine. I scoured the web: Etsy, Google, Amazon, high-end jewelers. Nothing. Same on the shirt front. I wanted a tee or a tank that didn’t have a tacky phrase or ‘in your face’ Pitbull saying scrawled all over it. Something that was on-trend but also supported a good cause. I came up empty. There was nothing out there that was beautiful, approachable, and classic that I felt like represented me. So I began creating my own jewelry and apparel.
I started with one necklace design which took me six months to perfect. With that and our LOVE tee I launched in July of 2017.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting, growing and running a company these last two years has convinced me that 99% of business is mental. So much depends on your outlook, your vision, and your clarity.
The biggest challenge for me these last two years has been keeping my mind right. Not getting mired in the up’s and down’s is SO hard, but ultimately, those leaders who can step back, look at the big picture and adjust accordingly are the ones who succeed. You’re going to have BIG up’s and BIG down’s. That is a 100% certainty. How you react to those situations will determine your success.
In addition, recently I’ve been embracing the idea that success is a slow build. I think social media and those one-off ‘overnight success’ stories have created a false idea of reality for a lot of people who want to start their own business. A great quote that I remind myself of daily is, ‘It takes ten years to build an overnight success.’ Social media only shows the wins. It doesn’t show the daily grind that has been happening behind the scenes to make those wins happen.
I had goals in the first year that were so wildly unrealistic because I wanted everything to happen fast. And then when those things didn’t happen, I’d get frustrated or depressed. But the best businesses start and build slowly and strategically. They build a following and perfect their products. If you create a business out of the things you love and are passionate about, then the journey and the time it takes to grow it are the most exciting things about the whole process. Who cares if it takes years longer than you wanted it to? You are getting to get up every day and learn and work towards things that you care about. So right now, I’m determined to embrace the grind and enjoy the process and the things I’m learning along the way.
The Gentle Pit – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Gentle Pit is a lifestyle and athleisure brand that supports animal rescue. We are a for-profit company whose mission is to fund non-profits and impact the world of animal rescue through the for-profit model.
These days consumers are smart. They want their dollars to support businesses that have corresponding values to their own. They want to feel like they can make a difference and they can sniff out when a business isn’t being authentic. I created my business with these ideas at the forefront. We show you the dog’s you are supporting when you check out on our website. I post videos to YouTube and InstaStories that help educated people about responsible dog adoption and ownership and how to really support animal rescue. And we list all of the organizations that we have supported on our website, so you can check up on us!
In my perfect world, I would be able to buy the things that I actually want that are of high quality and fit my tastes and have it support a cause. I mean everything from the clothes I work out in to the items I have in my home. How much more money could we raise for deserving causes if we were able to give consumers quality items that they actually wanted and have a portion of that sale go back to furthering social causes. We need to move away from the cheap t-shirt, branded tchotchke or donated gift basket with leftovers that businesses don’t want. Charity groups have to spend a disproportionate amount of time appealing for these things to raise the funds they rely on. I believe we can change this model by using for-profit business revenue to reinvest in the world around us.
I wanted The Gentle Pit to reflect that. I wanted anyone-even someone who doesn’t own a dog- to be able to come to our site and find something they like. And they can feel good about their purchase because it’s supporting social change. As we grow, I want our product offerings to become deeper and more expanded, so that we can reach more consumers and ultimately raise more money to give back to animal rescue.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
That’s a tough one because I think most entrepreneurs will tell you that it’s the series of little wins along the way that keep you going and make you proud, not necessarily one big win.
That said, I’m really proud of our new wholesale partnership with The Healthy Spot. We don’t have a physical storefront and mainly focus on direct-to-consumer, but it was a big win for us, having our products go into all 17 of their locations. Being able to work with a retailer that aligns with our values and mission is such a great feeling.
Also, I think that win is so special to me because it was born out of something that I was resistant towards: cold-calling. I had put off physically going to retail accounts to ask to speak to buyers for months because I just didn’t want to have to face the big ‘NO’.
But when I finally just did it, good things resulted. I’m proud of myself for pushing through that fear of rejection and just going for it.
- Address: 4858 W. Pico Blvd #310
Los Angeles, CA 90019
- Website: http://thegentlepit.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: thegentlepit
- Facebook: thegentlepit