Grace Gallo

Name: Grace Gallo
Company Name: 

What does your company do? Last year, I was running three different businesses, today I have two, my international consulting business and I have a Jewelry brand, which I am very passionate about. A couple of years ago, I had a client from my international pool of successful business men, ask me, how is your hobby going? I said what hobby, he said your jewelry making. He seemed to think it was a hobby, I told him it’s a business and as I admit it has been baby steps so far, happy to say, it’s now starting to walk.In 2001 I started my company providing manufacturing and product development and working mainly with brand names for their private label manufacturing and sourcing along with my background in marketing and communication for the Fashion, home, cosmetics and jewelry industry.  16 years later we have evolved and our international consulting and marketing business has offering of below services

Business Development / Marketing and communication / Project Management / Account Management / Contract Negotiations / Control Planning & Execution / Start-up Operations / Sourcing your product and services / Design + Branding + development / Event planning for business and personal / Your launch party or Destination wedding.

With a passion and dream to start my own fashion brand since I was 12. I decided to take that leap and first started with a Jewelry brand, two years later I added the Fashion clothing brand. The fashion brand, I sadly had to close last year due to lack of cash flow to continue.

Now I juggle between My International Consulting and Branding for my Jewelry collection.

When did you start your first company and what made you make the leap into business ownership? I started my company in 2001 and truly cannot believe I am still here. I recall a discussion with a hugely successful NYC client, who later became my mentor, I asked him, when can you call yourself a successful entrepreneur in NYC I thought for sure it would be five years of survival, which I had just passed and certainly thought I would qualify for that honor, he said, no way, five years you’re still just a baby, it’s ten years or more in NYC and he continued to mention that in business you’re not an entrepreneur if you have not gone broke at least once. LOL, He was 86 years old at the time and admitted he had gone broke twice.  That advice helped me a lot when I had to close my fashion brand last year. As failure is a hard pill to swallow. I would never change the experience even though it did not work out and I lost my shirt, literally. Have to have humor, sorry could not help the pun.

To be honest I had no real ambition or desire to start my own company, sometimes life takes you where it takes you, I could say I am the accidental Entrepreneur, though having said that. I have always lived life with adventure and passion in everything, I think that comes from my Italian genes, as I was born in Italy, grew up in Australia, lived and worked in Hong Kong for seven years and now have been blessed to live in this amazing city for nearly 18 years.

I first arrived to NYC  after working in Hong Kong for seven years, the company I was working for at the time transferred me to NYC for two years agreement to set up their USA operation, which was a fantastic learning experience, (I used that experience  to start my own company), two years later, after successfully  setting up the USA operation and office for them, they wanted me back in Hong Kong, they would not hear my staying in NYC they insisted they needed me more in Hong Kong than NYC, but I tried to tell them, I had fallen in LOVE with living in NYC and I did not want to go back to Hong Kong.  We had to part ways, it was then I decided to take the leap and go out on my own, many times, I have asked myself WHY! I gave up a huge pay check, when that stopped coming in the first few months and lots going out, you start to panic, so fear makes you hustle and move your ass and think outside the box to get customers. An Entrepreneur’s life is not for the faint of heart.  It’s for the passionate, brave, patient and persistence which gets you to the next phase.  BUT. It’s all worth it and I would not and probably could not go back.

How did you get your first customer?  I was blessed to have retained my many great relationship with my clients in the USA the likes of Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Liz Claiborne, Izod to name a few, I provided production options and sourcing for their labels.

Who is the right person to book your services? 1/ As a small Boutique international, consulting marketing firm and branding business: Anyone wanting to take the journey into starting their own brand and needs designs, product development, sourcing or business development.

2/ Or any company or brand wanting to take their services or brand on an international level, we have many connections in Europe and Asian market place which has been my playground for over 25 + years.

3/ For my Jewelry brand, our continued exponential growth is creating opportunities in virtually every area of our business.  We invite you to join our industry-leading direct selling company as we combine our talents and continue to grow and succeed on both the professional and personal level. So many benefits: Business opportunities for entrepreneurial women just like you. At “Style and Grace Jewelry” we don’t just recruit Consultants we sponsor, support, and mentor them.  If you choose to join our team, we will be your personal Sponsor helping you every step of the way as you launch your new business.  At “Style and Grace Jewelry” we are so much more than a fashion Jewelry brand we’re a company inspired by, and created for, strong, savvy women from all walks of life.  When you join us, we’ll be standing by you with all the training tools and support you need to create thriving businesses of your very own.

What does owning your business allow you to do? The first and foremost is your time and I think Thomas Edison said it best, “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he/she can’t afford to lose” As you get older you realize how precious our time is and having your own business gives you that freedom to choose when and how you work and the flexibility to have your time fit into your schedules and lifestyle.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

This might sound strange given my fashion brand did not make it, the fact that I took that scary plunge and risked a lot financially will always be an achievement for me, I loved it, every step and miss step and mistakes, I learned not only a lot about e commerce, but a lot about myself and my courage and strength, which I will always be proud off and when I get to 95 years’ young.  I will be smiling and know I at least tried.

What has been your biggest challenge so far? 

Learning to live and cope with failure and moving forward against all odds and survive the recession which undaughterly I was ill prepared for the advent and impact of the recession and the uphill struggle to keep sales levels up and costs down while maintaining our standards of customer service.  It was an unsurmountable challenge while I certainly did have a tough time of it, we successfully rode out the recession and are still here stronger and better for it.

When you look at your business in 5 years, where do you hope it will be? 

My love of my birthplace has never diminished and only increased, this year I am actively looking at expanding our business to include Italy and currently working on projects in Florence, Venice and Milan, the next five years I will be going back and forth and eventually and hoping in five years, it will all be successful enough that would enable me to take two or three months off and relax on a beach in Australia with my family there for the summer whilst it’s cold here. I know after all these years in NYC you think I would have climatized to the weather. Not happened.

I have realized this plan hinges on the successful implantation of loyal hard working teams in both countries, at the moment actively looking for leaders to help me achieve this goal.

How do you define success? 

Firstly, success is a passion and a drive that lets us use our imaginations to positively affect your life and your team on the ride with you. Do what you love. Sometimes money is a reward that comes from doing or creating something really great, but wanting to do something great has to be at the center or everything else will fall apart. People can see through pretense and they know quality when it’s in front of them.

Secondly. The cultivation of abundance and human flourishing., and a global common good. create enough abundance to go around, and to strike an equitable balance between the surplus of that abundance and to the many other associated beneficiaries.  This means that I want good gains at the lowest cost for myself and for my customers at every transaction. But I also want to see abundance, health, and flourishing for each of us and our descendants into the future. For my work, specifically, I want to see gains and not costs in abundance to my family, neighbors, and whomever else that I work with. we are not con-men/women, and we are not charities.  It can be a tough balance.

Finally, what advice do you have for other entrepreneurs? 

Wow, where to start. As this is another passion of mine and I really want to help young bright minds archive success through my experiences of the good and the bad of being an entrepreneur. I decided to answer this question from my book which I have been writing for years, at some point I will publish.

“At times being an entrepreneur can feel like jumping off a cliff and building your airplane on the way down.  It’s learning that struggles are not failures and failures are not permanent.

As humans, we are naturally curious; I feel entrepreneurs activate their curiosities through innovation.”. If you were asked what was your greatest strength, what would you reply?  In the case of John F. Kennedy, he said “My curiosity.”  Now, that’s an answer you wouldn’t expect.  And then there’s Albert Einstein protesting, “I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious.”  And even Eleanor Roosevelt said, “I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”

What’s so great about curiosity?  Actually, it’s something we humans share with the entire animal kingdom.  It’s a necessary urge to find out about our environment, find food, to survive.  But for humans, it’s so much more.  Curiosity leads you to explore new ways of doing things, solve problems, and investigate possibilities.  It keeps the sense of wonder that you had as a child alive.  When your curiosity is keen, you can grow and expand your life to fit your dreams.

And don’t worry that “curiosity killed the cat.”  Remember the rest of that proverb – “but satisfaction brought it back”.

I feel that the true nature of entrepreneurship is to envision what might be possible. “Successful entrepreneurs have to have equal doses of creativity, resourcefulness, energy, optimism, curiosity and unshakable faith. They must also be active listeners, willing to stop and ask for help, directions and be willing to accept changes.

“To truly be an entrepreneur you have to possess a crazy amount of passion. That is the first step to creating your own path in life. Even if you don’t have certain skills or knowledge, you find ways to solve problems and make things happen. Being an entrepreneur means you are willing to lose sleep, take risks, and commit to what you love.” And it is best described as a roller coaster seeded with moments of exhilaration and fun with anticipation, fear, determination to overcome the unexpected mentality. The best entrepreneurs have the courage, self-awareness, team orientation and stamina to outlast their greatest, value creating company milestone and then do it again…maybe.”

“The hallmark of any successful entrepreneur is flexibility, and agility is the ability to be flexible fast – to know when to pivot and to do it quickly.  Entrepreneurs should recognize and admit what they don’t know, and then surround themselves with people who do know.  knowing when to listen to advisors.  Entrepreneurs need to be comfortable living with ambiguity – nothing is set in stone in the entrepreneurial world!”

Entrepreneurship’s nature is: Long hours, hard work, constant self-exploration and reaffirmation that you are doing the right thing at the right time. A balance of keeping up with trends and technology, yet not compromising on your mission to do what you love.

“The Nature of Entrepreneurship is looking at the world identifying a way to make a positive change and create value for others. It is looking for ways to increase efficiency in a market, effectively and making a career out of it for yourself, while creating jobs for others as your entity grows.”

Lastly but not least. “To quote Willy Wonka ‘If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.’

Date:  February 7, 2017

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Grace Gallo | Smart Women. Smart Hustle.