Grant Harris - Owner of Image Granted

[quote style=”boxed”]The only way to truly enjoy winning and being successful is to fail. If you never fail, then you’ll never know the pain of defeat, which means you’ll never understand the passion and hard work it takes to stay on top.[/quote]

Mr. Grant Harris is the owner and chief style consultant at Image Granted, a Washington, D.C.-based image consulting company dedicated to solving the complex image, style and fashion issues of today’s professional man. The company provides local and international corporate branding, private style consultations, editorials, speaking engagements, event planning and other value-based services for men and organizations in need of practical and affordable style advice.

Created in 2009, Image Granted is the brainchild of Grant, who is an entrepreneur, consultant, and blogger. Grant was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, and has built a sterling reputation through his domestic and international business and community involvement. He has been successful in reaching individuals and corporations domestically and abroad through private consultations, editorials, speaking engagements and event planning.

What are you working on right now?

There is always something going on. Whether it is short-term or long-term, I’m always looking for the next evolution of business. Here are some the most prominent opportunities at the moment:

  1. Menswear summit event in D.C., (in conjunction with a luxury apparel retailer and a high-end footwear brand) where menswear enthusiasts gather to discuss the ins and outs of the intersection between business and fashion.
  2. Art gallery showing at a major D.C. art gallery for a new menswear artist from Toronto, to introduce her and her work to the D.C. art and culture community.
  3. Speaking engagement with major D.C. non-profit organization, during which time I conduct a course on fit, fabric and function to instruct students on how to present themselves during interviews.
  4. Creating a business model for a menswear market research company, which assists international menswear brands and retailers in gaining exposure in underserved markets around the world.
  5. Leading the training, education and product development for a major U.S. sunglasses brand across its retail locations in the U.S.
  6. Launching product collaboration with U.S. leatherworks company offering custom designed slim wallets.
  7. Collaboration with a major U.K. heritage brand and coordinating an overseas trip for a U.K. tradeshow.

Where did the idea for Image Granted come from?

I consider myself to be a serial entrepreneur. I had two businesses before launching Image Granted, but unfortunately, I was only in them for the money and they didn’t turn out well. I knew that I had the entrepreneural spirit, but wanted to do something that I could be passionate about for the rest of my life while still having the opportunity to make money. I always presented myself well and dressed as well as I knew how and could afford. I was never a “fashionisto” so to speak, but enjoyed looking my best. I came into the fashion and style world rather late, but I look at that as an advantage. I had to learn everything I know now on my own by reading, listening, interning, etc. with some of the top resources in the industry.

Back in 2008, there weren’t many bloggers or style consultants to speak of in the D.C. area. There were a few, but you had to dig for them. I was reading one of the blogs and it listed an internship with a custom clothier. At that point I was graduated from college, had an MBA, and was working in a professional career nowhere near the fashion world. However, I was interested and applied. Subsequently, I was accepted into the program and interned for nearly nine months. This is where I was indoctrinated into the menswear world.

What does your typical day look like?

I spend most of my time, reading, writing, speaking and connecting with individuals, brands, organizations, and other menswear-related businesses online and offline. I am continuously reading sources online and trade publications offline to keep abreast of current events and future trends. I take several calls, emails and/or meetings daily to build my reputation within my local community, on a national level–and in some cases on an international level. I read several style sources in the morning. I update my social media accounts regularly and enter blog posts at night. I regularly mentor other people interested in my career field, and I give them advice on what I’ve done and what my experiences have been. Many of the projects I work on take weeks, months and even sometimes years to come to fruition, so there is always something to do on a daily basis.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas come to me from seeing what other people have done and trying to do it differently or more efficiently. I’m not the most creative person in the world, so original ideas don’t flow through me as easily as I wish they would. Instead, I look at a current situation that I may not have been previously involved with to see where I can add my expertise and/or where I think something can be improved upon to make the outcome different–which effectively creates a new solution. While many of my ideas come to me individually, none of them could be accomplished without the help and support of those in my style community.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I try my hardest to stay away from trends. Trends come and go depending on the whims of society and who’s in office at the time. I prefer to stick to long-lasting customs versus fleeting trends.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I can’t say that I’ve had my worst job, because I haven’t had all of the jobs I’ll ever had in my life. However, I have had some jobs that wouldn’t have been my first choice. Overall, a job is just a job. You work, and you get paid. Whether you like the job or not, you need to work to get paid–if you want to eat. This means the end result is more important than the process. If you focus on the positive end result, then the negative process doesn’t seem so bad.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I choose not to live with regret. Even if I could change something I did, that doesn’t mean that the outcome would be any different. I try to do everything I can within my control in the moment, to ensure that I won’t have to look back years from now and wish I would’ve done something differently.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Fail and fail again. The only way to truly enjoy winning and being successful is to fail. If you never fail, then you’ll never know the pain of defeat, which means you’ll never understand the passion and hard work it takes to stay on top.

What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Many corporate employers who have the “worker bee” mentality are either afraid of or don’t understand entrepreneurs. They think, somehow, that one can’t be an entrepreneur and a corporate man at the same time, which I was for years. I saw it as the best of both worlds to have the ability to think like a business man and an employee, versus the ability to think only as an employee. This caused problems for me in my corporate days, because I wasn’t satisfied with the status quo and wanted to change things, and the “powers that be” were afraid of my aggressiveness. This is what ultimately has led me to pursue the entrepreneur’s lifestyle.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Everything. Nothing is a secret. Every entrepreneur or business person worth their salt will tell you there are no new ideas under the sun. Everything has been thought of before in some shape or form. The only reason you think your idea is new is because the person who had it before you couldn’t make it happen in their lifetime for some reason. Nothing I do is new, and withholding information from others is a quick way not to earn their trust.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I would change the stereotype that being too young, too inexperienced, too green, too “uneducated,” etc. means you won’t succeed in business and in life. For the majority of my life, I’ve been the youngest to do things. I have no formal education in fashion, and have only been in the industry for less than five years. To some people, this means I can’t perform as well as someone who has 30 years of experience. I think this way of thinking is antiquated, and again, based in fear.

Tell us a secret.

I don’t have any. Keeping secrets is the easiest way to begin down a trail of lies to cover things up to save face. I may not spread my business around voluntarily by my own admission, however, when asked a straight question, I am upfront and honest. People only have secrets if they are ashamed of something they have done. I try to live my life without shame, therefore I don’t keep secrets.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

I’m not much of a tech geek. Twitter and Facebook are what I use on a daily basis to stay connected with my audience.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I just finished reading The Millionaire Mind by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley. The book isn’t about how many millionaires there are in Beverly Hills or how many millionaires got their riches by playing the lotto. It discusses how real millionaires think about wealth, how they go about earning it and keeping it over time, what types of vocations they engage in, what type of activities they get involved with, etc. It’s more about the behaviors of real millionaires versus the behavior of want-to-be millionaires.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

  1. @AandHMag (A&H Magazine) is dedicated to timeless style, art, design, culinary approaches and culture. They are a lifestyle publication that focuses on original and unique content, bringing light to not only cultural interests and issues, but also the never-before-told stories of the individuals behind the brands we love. They represent that person who is well traveled, well dressed, well spoken, and most importantly, who is passionate about living a lifestyle like no other.
  2. @TheBlackManCan (Brandon Frame) has the motto, “Be Different, Be Great, and Never Stop” that he not only lives by, but also embodies. Hailing from Hartford, Connecticut, Brandon has always had a vision for achieving his goals. His path to greatness started early, but some of his most distinguished experiences were cultivated while attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. While at Morehouse, Brandon’s affinity for developing young black males into positive black men was formed, in addition to his love for marketing, business and education.
  3. @BBEsquire is a guide to the 250 most interesting, exciting and alluring places in London. It’s a resource for gentlemen with personality, style and a sense of adventure. In your pocket or at home, the guide is here to help you find where to go. From the best barista in town to the bespoke tailor steeped in centuries of tradition, the journal seeks out what makes modern life all the more enthralling. The journal also features an intercontinental mix of contributors. With observations, interviews and reflection on subjects of style and equipment to cultural theory and urban exploration, the journal provides direction and commentary on the modern city. B.B, Esq. draws its name from a man of exceptional and extravagant tastes, the original dandy of them all: Beau Brummel.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Last night watching sitcoms. I love re-runs of Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond.

Who is your hero?

I don’t really have one. I guess that makes me un-American, but that’s okay.

What is the best way to make a positive professional impression?

Be yourself and look your best.

What is the meaning of life?

Only God knows what your life is meant to be. This is the ultimate journey in life: finding what God has put you here for and then pursuing it with every fiber of your being.

Connect:

Grant Harris on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grantharris
Image Granted on Twitter: @ImageGranted
Image Granted on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Image-Granted-LLC/204497327026
Image Granted’s blog: http://www.imagegranted.com/