A Convo with Terrance Truitt of G + Co.
G + Co. Apparel is a fashion brand run by Terrance Truitt and his partner, Will Dennis, that specializes in bringing high-end designs to the Black community at an affordable price. You may have seen them featured in the latest CRWN zine or at theBOM pop-up shop over the weekend. We caught up with the Terrance to learn more about life as an entrepreneur at the intersection of fashion and ecommerce.
How do you describe G+Co. & what prompted you to start it?
G+Co. Apparel itself is a brand that caters to people of color in the categories of streetwear, and a subscription box for formal wear. It was founded by myself in December of 2015 and officially launched in April 2016 as a way to combat the negative images of people of color in mainstream media in the wake of highly publicized killings of people of color. I wanted to show the world that we are more than a hashtag, we aren't thugs, we aren't criminals, we are professionals , educators, we are doctors, we are descendants of royalty.
What is your mission?
Our mission as stated is to promote the image people of color while giving back to the communities in which we serve.
Do you have items for the ladies or is it purely menswear?
When G+Co. Apparel first launched it was purely an accessory subscription box for men under the name of Gentlemen & Co. As we approached our first year and with the addition of my business partner, Will Dennis, we began to rebrand and expand our offerings to move into the space of women and children with our apparel line. We anticipate the launch of our women's and children's boxes around Q1 of 2018, so stay tuned.
What did you do prior to G+Co to prepare you to run this venture?
Prior to G+Co. I was an investment banker for a regional bank in the northeast Ohio area, and also received my MBA with a focus on Entrepreneurship and Operations. Many of the challenges that we have faced and will continue to face as we grow, I've worked through within those two parts of my life. Understanding how to make it easier for the customer to do business with us and how to streamline the processes of the business both play a huge role for us as an e-commerce company. Those two things are to me are the foundation of any great business.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced as you've grown this venture?
The biggest challenge to date for our business has been exposure. I liken our company to that of a hidden gem—once discovered, people instantly fall in love with it. Much of the feedback we've gotten has simply been that they've never heard of us before. So in the age of social media, we've taken tremendous strides to penetrate markets via advertising, or doing events that not only let the people get to know the company, but to get to know the men behind the company.
we are more than a hashtag, we aren't thugs, we aren't criminals; we are professionals, educators, we are doctors, we are descendants of royalty.
Image via Instagram
What is the best advice you've ever received and what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
The best I advice I ever received came to me from my high school principal. I was in an early college program, a program that only accepted the top 100 students every year, and during my senior year I was having a problem with a teacher so as a frustrated young man I marched into her office and told her I quit the program and I just wanted to go to regular high school. She sat back in her chair and said, "Ok, that's fine—there's the door." I sat there dejected that she'd let me walk away so easy after I'd given 4 years to this program, and as she saw the look on my face, she told me that if I quit every time I faced adversity that I would be quitting for the rest of my life. She proceeded to tell me that life will be full of road blocks and obstacles and I had two options: to either find a way around it or to turn around and give up, but that the choice was solely mine. To this day I refer to that conversation when it comes to adversity.
What song do you have on repeat right now?
Right now it's not necessarily a song, but the whole Jay-Z 4:44 album. If I had to pick a song on there it would be "The Story of O.J."
A motto or quote that you live by?
This is a particularly hard question for me to answer as I tend to be a man that lives by many quotes and mottos. One that's on my mind currently would be, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." I'm consistently placing myself in new positions and places that may scare me but will ultimately help me, not only in business development but also self development.