The Bravo Zulu Company “The 3 Why’s” to this journey. This is a long read but as I push, as I risk it all, rally a team to entrust in the vision, as the naysayers hate, I want each person to know what this company will represent no matter what outcome of the failure or success. #allgritnoluck #itsonlyfailure
Family- I was raised by a single mother who with her bare hands built a salon business treating every client as if the world revolved around them and never sacrificing quality over quantity. I grew up sweeping those floors and at times being able to have the latest trends in haircuts long before they were trends (love you mom). As this taught me to be bold and confident, taught me that you and your actions as the individual, the human being, have the power to impact people. How a true man, a gentleman will see there is beauty in that, true power and it is at times as simple as just reminding folks of not what they can be, but what they already are. She’d say that a new hairstyle, a fresh cut or even a wash will make someone feel new and ready to take on the day and this road of life.
Dad- A true surgeon under the hood or anything that turned horsepower. He worked 65 hours a week and was never scared to bust knuckles and find ways to take a wrench, feed the family and fix someone’s problems. At times, I’d see it was therapy for him as well. I watched him organize his toolbox like a surgical tech sets up for surgery. He would clean his tools and organize what he would need prior to and after each use. I used to ask him why not just grab what you need as you need them? He said son” when someone entrusts you to be their problem solver, their go to, you must respect your profession and your customer to be prepared at all times.” He would explain to me that a good running motor, good tread on the tires and a radio can fix all problems. He would go into detail how a man takes his profession as if it’s more important than any other as it is. Your profession should be an extension of who you are and who you are is your profession. He’d laugh and say that the dammed part, a craftsman never stops growing and learning. Good luck young buck he’d say.
Uncle Mark/Ant Kelly- I had the honor to spend a couple of years around some of the most loving, caring and hardworking people of my life. Mark was a Police officer and till this day is the man’s man. Any Kelly who will never let you go hungry, places everyone in the room, friend, family or stranger above herself. She is a head of nurses and always cares for people making it look as easy as breathing. I spent time working in their cabinet shop “Wooden It Be Nice” building, crafting and learning how to take some of our natural resources and not misuse but mold, craft, and use. I saw them meet with every client asking questions like they were looking for a specific ingredient like a chef looks for items to complement each other. My first eight months I found myself again sweeping the floors and cleaning the machines. I’d ask mark, why can’t I run the saw, the molder, the press? He’d say “Zach, the day I see you clean these floors and clean this equipment as if it’s your own, you will not only learn how to use every piece of our machinery, but you will learn something about humility and honor.
Poppy- A career Navy man and a true hard hitter. Best way to describe Poppy is OLD SCHOOL! Poppy was a golden gloves boxer; a World War II and Korea vet and you’d never know it. He’d give me a chore to do then follow it with a payment of 1 quarter. I used to ask why just a quarter? He would proceed to tell me that a man’s wages are determined by his quality of work, a product of that work and ability to display GRIT in getting it done. I later learned it was the same chores each time and he’d have to tell me what order to do them in. One day, I showed up early and got the chores done before he had to ask, that day he gave me $25. This taught me you can put a price on leaning forward, digging deep and just getting it done.
Military Service- I joined our nation’s military at 19 the month of 9-11. I went to every branch and decided to follow Uncle Marks path into the US Army. I wanted to see what I was made of and if I could take the “grit and get it done.” With that, Infantry was the calling. Hard work, physical and mental, and a deeply ingrained sense of pride and till this day my comrades some I haven’t seen since 2005 still push me till this day. I got to see Jordan, be a part of the Liberation of Iraq, Patrol and do humanitarian work in the southern part of the Hindu Kush, be a part of a Department of State mission to Ethiopia and till this day still can’t take the uniform off. I’ve been Active Duty, got out came home, was recalled back to service and mandatory Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) reclassed to Civil Affairs. What’s crazy is the day I was told I had to remove my blue cord as I was no longer a grunt but now a P.O.G. (Personnel Other Than Grunt) felt like my sense of being an honor was removed. That self-pity session lasted a few days, but then I said to myself “No More.” Call me what you want, but I made that cord just as it made me. One of us is gone so the other must double up! Our Army has changed as much as the uniform, but the comrade and how you always put the Solider first will be a fundamental we must NEVER allow shifting 1 degree. The more inconvenient, the better! Everyone I have been privileged to serve with has taught me something, I learned from good bad and indifferent and till this day deeply respect these great Patriots. I haven’t always been the best Solider, not even claiming that right there. It took some time, but one day I realized the key ingredient. It didn’t matter how much I knew the battle drills, memorized every aspect of my weapon or pushed to graduate with honors at every school. It was and still is all about one thing and one thing alone. It’s as simple as your battles. The fellow human beings, the brothers and sisters in arms that you embrace the suck for. You don’t have to be perfect, professional and proficient yes but not perfect. All you must do is show up! Be on time, look professional, represent your squad, unit, platoon but most importantly your battles. You walk and conduct yourself as what we call a hard target. (someone you don’t want to cross or anyone your around.) In today’s world perception is more real than ever. With that, the embodiment of our grooming standards, the “showing up “and being that hard target is what we will bring to our products and support for our customers and supporters. EVERY TIME!
Love & Loss - Combining all experiences, great, bad or horrible it has taught me love & compassion. Loss of battles, loss of my little brother, loss of love, loss of life, and loss of the ability to fix the things that simply turn my gut. As part of the human condition, we tend to drive and focus on loss and suffering. I decided at an early age to not balance this scale but tip that fucker over. I decided all that pain and loss wouldn’t drive hate but drive love and compassion especially when’s it’s inconvenient! It’s a sense of never-ending love to make a difference. For every one bad thing on the news, on social media, or experiences in life, I’d take it and do three small good deeds to offset the balance. There’s not scoring scale just a ratio to ease it in my heart. With this, I will find a way for our company to give back with unwavering consistency! As I simply jumped off a cliff and went for this, I am still researching and looking for good reputable organizations to support. With this, we are currently planning and calling this, for now, the “Show You Care, Square Away Your Hair Commitment.”
I decided to go live, green light this roller coaster on Labor Day weekend because into today’s world I feel we have lost a sense of who we are as Americans. It’s like we have forgotten all the pain, sacrifice, loss and victories it took to be still standing today. How all the grit built the foundation. As our motto is All Grit No Luck- Labor Day felt ideal for this launch. Labor Day is not just meant to close out summer with BBQ and beer at the lake. It is meant to honor and celebrate the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of our great country.
In closing, I want to humbly say thank you for reading and even giving this part of your time. This rant, confession or mission statement (Hell I am pulling those entrepreneur hours) I don’t know what to call it. Simply thank you, be safe, products are live and have a blessed Labor Day weekend. #allgritnoluck
Zachary M. Warters