Behind the Suit: Five minutes with Guy Wood Jr.
Photo credit: Erica Reade
“It is in the stories and hearts of others where we find some of our greatest inspiration.”-Anonymous
We took a moment to get to know Guy Wood, Jr. of Harlem Haberdashery Boutique and Billionaire New York a little better. He’s the guy behind the suit. You may have seen the likes of Fat Joe, Fabolous, and others rocking his pieces. In getting to know Guy, we learned it’s definitely a family affair at the heart of his brands. It’s always nice to be able to put a face and story with the brand. Here’s what Guy had to say.
As a man, what three things are part of your core values?
When it comes to being the man that I am, family, hard work, and honesty are part of my core values. Family is of fundamental importance as well as maintaining a healthy work/life balance. My family plays a major role in my success, therefore it is crucial I am there for their milestones as well. When it comes to work you get out what you put in. If you are not willing to give it your all and do what it takes for your business to thrive, then you are just wasting your time and resources. Having a good work ethic develops character, aids in mastering your craft, and produces better products for your clients. When it comes to honesty it shows your true character and builds confidence. When you are comfortable with the truth for good or bad, people will trust in you, trusting that the best outcome will occur regardless of the situation. Trust is earned not given, and in business honesty is the best policy.
When it comes to growth, how do you push yourself?
When it comes to growth, I push myself by setting goals, and having a strong support team. Setting goals helps to keep you focused and on track to achieving what you want in life. Without goals you can get caught in the routine of life and potentially waste valuable time. The satisfaction of reaching goals is what keeps me pushing forward to accomplish other goals, while creating new ones to achieve. Having a strong support team is just as important as setting goals, as my support is comprised of family, close friends, and clients. I am part of my family’s business, as we all have a common goal that we strive everyday to reach. We are all in this together so we all play a major part in keeping one another focused and on track to reaching our individual goals as we grow the family empire together. My close friends play a key component as we are all on the path to success, just in different fields of work. This keeps me aware that I am not alone; everybody is on their own path just moving at different speeds. Success comes at all ages, but you have to be willing to work for it. I work with a majority of my clients on a one-on-one basis to create their desired looks. Whether it’s for a wedding, red carpet event, or a birthday celebration the satisfaction I receive from my clients motivates me to keep pushing forward. Knowing that my hard work and dedication to my craft is not only received, but is appreciated, keeps me wanting to produce more while pushing my creativity further.
The satisfaction of reaching goals is what keeps me pushing forward to accomplish other goals, while creating new ones to achieve.
My father gave me the confidence to also chase my dreams and climb my own success ladder.
When it comes to being “out-of-the-box”, what do you enjoy doing that only people close to you may know? And why do you do it, what satisfaction does it provide?
When it comes to being "out-of-the-box" I enjoy driving on a open highway to escape. When I am behind the wheel of a car I get a sense of control and freedom that allows me to escape and clear my head while I enjoy the road ahead of me. It gives me alone time to figure out situations or even just relax and listen to my music on a beautiful day. The daily grind can get intense but when time permits, I like to take advantage of the freedom to just drive and go wherever the road takes me.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is my father, Guy Wood, Sr. who has helped developed me into the man I am today. My father instilled in me my core values from an early age. Whether business or personal life related, my father is always there to guide me and help me with my decision-making, and keep me on track if I am slacking in any area. He showed me that with hard work and dedication all of my dreams are possible. He built his fashion house from the ground up by being a man of his word, delivering quality product, and going above and beyond for his clients. He took great risks by venturing out on his own leaving the security of his job to chase his dreams to better provide for our family, and I truly commend his courage. My father gave me the confidence to also chase my dreams and climb my own success ladder.
Can you tell us what a day in your life looks like? How does your day unfold from the time you wake up in the morning?
My day varies from day to day, depending on which projects I am working on. When I first wake up I tend to go for a morning run to help get my blood pumping and my mind ready for the day ahead. After I freshen up and get dressed I head to the New York Garment District to buy any fabric and supplies I need for the day or upcoming projects. After everything is purchased I head to the design studio where we produce all of our garments to make sure our tailors are organized, and on the correct projects that need to be completed. Then I meet with any new clients placing orders, do fittings with clients picking up orders, and deliver garments to any local clients. By the end of the day any garments that have to be shipped to out of state clients get packaged and picked up. When all orders and fittings for the day have been fulfilled I attend any evening events that are on my schedule.
We all dream and sometimes share similar dreams without knowing… Care to share your dreams with us? Where do you see Harlem Haberdashery, Billionaire New York, and yourself five years from now?
Everybody has dreams and aspirations, some of mine are to grow Billionaire New York to be a major contender in the fashion industry, as well as expand into a full lifestyle brand. The goal is to receive mainstream recognition with brick and mortars in key locations throughout the world. Beyond fashion I want Billionaire New York to be able to purchase the property as well branch off into other industries such as jewelry and furniture. With different divisions we will be able to tap into different markets where we can still satisfy our current customers with a variety of products while attracting a new client base. Five years from now I would like to be opening my first Billionaire New York store and be in the process of expanding into a full lifestyle brand with fashion accessories, footwear, home decor, and fragrance.
What’s in the top three of your bucket list?
The top 3 things on my bucket list are to run a New York marathon, travel the world, and learn professional photography. I’ve never been a fan of working out and lifting weights but I’ve always been good at running distances when I’m in good shape. I always wanted to run in a marathon to prove to myself that I could do it but never had the opportunity to truly train for one with my work schedule. It would be amazing to truly commit to training and to be able to cross a marathon off my bucket list. I also love to travel to new places and experience different cultures but haven't taken the time to truly travel yet. Now is the time I am laying the groundwork for Billionaire New York so later on I can truly travel how I want, without the daily pressure of building from the ground up. Photography and videography have always been an interest of mine and I plan on getting professional training to let my creativity flow in ways other than fashion. Not only will it add another check on my bucket list, but will also aid me in capturing and creating beautiful visuals for my brand how I see fit.
Taking a lesson from Guy, we would do good to remember honesty, hard work, and family as we reflect and refine our own values and principles. We appreciate Guy sharing with us about his passion for his brand, his dreams and building an empire with his family. The way they roll is definitely squad goals.