An entrepreneur, a professional boxer, a designer, a businessman—Giezwa Pierre, president, CEO, and founder of Giezwa Pierre Enterprises (GPE), is a jack of all trades and a master of most. Despite being only 28 years old, Pierre is very accomplished in many areas such as music, fashion design, boxing, and business. His company, founded in 2011, is a multifaceted business that focuses on making “the human experience gets better,” according to Pierre. GPE has its hand in many smaller companies, helping build technology, lower CO2 emissions, and clean up ocean plastic. With innovation and sustainability serving as the cornerstones of this company, Pierre hopes to continue to see substantial growth in the coming years. “There is no end goal for me—I believe that when you work hard and you build a company, the company will continue to pay. The goal is to continue to grow [the company] and … to hire,” Pierre said.
Before founding Giezwa Pierre Enterprises, Pierre spent a majority of his childhood discovering and fostering his passion for boxing. He excelled in his amateur career—winning over 78 championships—and became a professional boxer in 2017. Pierre was able to translate his talents in the boxing ring to the business world. His determination and motivation led him to create both Giezwa Pierre Enterprises and Giezwa Pierre Clothing, a clothing line that Pierre started in 2016 while attending the Art Institutes International Minnesota for fashion and design.
Communication Is Key
Pierre’s family is one of the biggest influences on his life; his grandparents taught him the importance of communication and how to foster and maintain a healthy relationship with his family, other businesses, and his employees. Pierre’s stepfather was always doing something, which inspired Pierre to take advantage of his opportunities in the business world.
He was also impacted by the negativity he faced when he was younger; however, rather than running away from it, Pierre faced it head on: “Those people trying to push me down only made me rise up even higher and work harder to be better,” he said.
Broken communication in the workplace can bring a business to a screeching halt, which is why it’s important to reiterate company expectations to your employees. Having weekly—or even daily—meetings can help facilitate the conversation and provide an open space where employees can voice concerns, ask questions, and share ideas.
Face Obstacles Head-On
Building a company from the ground up is no easy feat, and Pierre faced his own set of obstacles in the beginning. “Going into meetings a lot of those times [as this young guy], I was dealing with a lot of older people, and some people [were biased] with my age and experience since I was [so young],” Pierre explained. Another obstacle Pierre had to overcome was finding enough funding. “When I first started off, it was so hard to get funding, even from the banks … so starting off was very tough,” he said. However, filled with determination to make his company a success, Pierre scheduled almost 300 meetings in 2016 to find only two investors. The rest of the funding came from Pierre and the money he earned from his boxing sponsors, meaning Pierre funded 98% of GPE.
Pierre’s motivation comes from his desire to improve the human experience. “The main purpose of Giezwa Pierre Enterprises is to continue to build a sustainable business where we have a million employees—or family members as I would say—that we can continue to grow with,” Pierre said. His hopes are high for where his company could go in the future.
Believing not only in yourself but also in your professional aspirations can greatly impact your motivation and mindset. If you’re having trouble getting your business off the ground, look into getting a small business loan or save up and contribute some of your own funds. Remind yourself of why you started this business in the first place—having a positive mentality and trusting yourself can greatly benefit you and the growth of your business.
Take Advantage of Opportunities
As a “student of life,” Pierre’s goal is to continue to learn from his experiences and take advantage of everything life has to offer. His recommendation to aspiring entrepreneurs is to “continue to work in patience, and it will continue to pay.” He also encourages businesspeople to find the door that best fits their interests and skillset and then create the key that fits that door. “I encourage people to find out who they are and embrace it … that’s how they can find happiness in what they’re doing,” Pierre said.
Throughout his journey, Pierre has found that your success should not be compared to the success of others; instead, he highlights the importance of staying focused on your end goal: “Success can look different for everybody … you should always aim for your goals.”