Keisha Greaves was born and raised in Cambridge, MA. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising from Framingham State University and a Master’s Degree in Business from Cambridge College. Keisha knew she had a passion for fashion and always looked up to inspiring Fashion Designer Kimora Lee Simmons.
Keisha began a fashion business called “Girls Chronically Rock” to celebrate Muscular Dystrophy and any chronic illness through inspired clothing.
What motivated and inspired you you start your own business?
While in graduate school I began to feel symptoms of repeated muscle weakness and kept unexpectedly falling. It was around this time that I was diagnosed with a muscle disease called Muscular Dystrophy.
Fast forward years later, I was inspired to create the t-shirt line called “Girls Chronically Rock,” because I wanted to make a product to inspire women battling something in their life, whether an illness or just a bad day.
Tell us about your business.
My t-shirt line consists of many different designs with unique logos and inspiring quotes; shop my designs here.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Each time someone buys a t-shirt, a percentage of the proceeds goes toward the Muscular Dystrophy Association to help people like myself find a cure.
I am the Massachusetts Muscular Dystrohy Association State Ambassador for the second year in a row.
Where is your business based?
Girls Chronically Rock is based right outside my home in Cambridge, MA.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I first did research on my potential competition to see their designs, target customers, and what hashtags they use to engage with their audience.
I then hired someone to help develop my logo and website design and researched possible theme colors, as well as what different quotes I wanted to use for my t-shirt designs.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I have been advertising with many different people, especially those with chronic illness, and using a variety of hashtags to engage with, and bring in, customers.
I also try to post videos and photos of outings with friends and family wearing my t-shirt designs. And I make sure to include my story of why I was inspired to make the t-shirts.
Another big draw is that customers know when they buy a t-shirt, a percentage of the proceeds is going towards the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Engaging more audience and bringing in the revenue I would like on a monthly basis is a challenge.
I am trying to bring in more of an audience and not just to have them like the t-shirt designs, but actually go onto the website and purchase them.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I am still in the process of overcoming these challenges and am learning every day. Connecting with other business owners on Facebook groups and different networking events has really helped me learn what I should be doing (and not doing) to engage with the audience I want.
I’ve connect with talented, helpful individuals in different Facebook Communities and have made some great connections over the past few months, so I feel positive that good things are about to happen for Girls Chronically Rock, and I am excited about the future.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Honestly, just the support from friends and family and even having strangers telling me, “Wow I love your inspired t-shirts and you are doing a great job. Keep doing what you’re doing!”
Words of encouragement like these definitely inspire me, and they remind me that you never know who is watching you and who is paying attention to you and your business!
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Compared to my competitors, I feel my design is unique. All of my t-shirts on the website are different; they have statement logos and different colors. And some of them are for both men and women.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
To engage with a larger audience by switching up my hashtags, making more videos of my t-shirt line with real models like friends and family, doing candid photoshoots of the models, and adding more to my Instagram Story. These are what customers are looking for now on social media, and it has brought a larger following.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Keep going, never give up, and believe in yourself. Just trust that whatever you put your mind to, you will get it done, because that is what you were destined to be.
Just like one of my t-shirt designs says “Trust Your Dopeness.” I made that design because one day I said to myself, “Keisha, trust your dopeness, and know that whatever you do and focus on will be amazing.” I just need to trust and believe in myself and my ability to do the things I want to do.
So trusting and believing in yourself is key.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
My favorite business tools involve connecting with so many different business owners on social media, because these business owners truly help me and give me great advice when I connect with the right people.
I honestly love Shopify. They have different business-resource videos on how to engage with more customers and attract them to see my website.
Another great resource is in the city of Cambridge. Where I live there’s a program with business networking events where I go to connect with other business owners in the city. They also have different classes I sometimes attend to learn the in’s and out’s of running a business.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I just finished a book by Lean Ries called The Lean Startup, in which he discusses what it’s like starting a business and the struggles he had encountered in the beginning (he is a successful business owner).
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently looking for connections with my business, possibly with boutique owners as well as other connections in the fashion industry—not only in Boston, but in New York and LA, where they can connect me with the right people to sell my t-shirt lines.
I hope that Girls Chronically Rock can grow and progress to lines in multiple stores. I honestly would love to have my t-shirt line sold in Macy’s department store in the juniors section, because with the different t-shirt designs they have in there on a regular basis, I feel my t-shirt would do well in Macy’s.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goals would be the same as above: namely, to connect with boutique owners/fashion industry individuals to get my t-shirt designs sold in different stores and get Girls Chronically Rock out there. I need people to know about my brand and get it to expand across the country.
Most importantly, I would want to start bringing in more revenue so I can live debt free, be able to support myself and my family, and just enjoy life like I am destined to with owning my successful business.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.