Fired from Corporate America to Running My Own Business
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In 2008, Timothy L. Griffith was dabbling in the fashion business trying to learn the ins and outs of men's haberdashery. It was at that point that Griffith purchased a flight from Miami to New York. Boarded Cathay Pacific airlines to Hong Kong and flew Dragon Air to Shanghai, China. "I saw the manufacturing process in China where they had a huge warehouse, the length of two football fields. After seeing the manufacturing process up close, I designed my own suit," said Griffith.
A year later when the effects of the Great Recession hit, Griffith was terminated from Sprint/Nextel where he was a store manager. Griffith had a conversation with his then fiancé, who is now his wife and told her that he would go full-time and give TLG Fashion six-months instead of immediately going back into Corporate America.
What made you decide to go into men's fashion?
"I have always been into fashion and I have always been into dressing nice. People would compliment me on the things that I wore and they would always ask me where I got my clothes from. After leaving Corporate America, I decided that I would start my own fashion line and I named it TLG Fashion after my own initials."
What makes TLG Fashion different from everyone else?
"I am a stickler for customer service. I believe in going above and beyond the call of duty to please the customer and I believe in giving attention to detail. I want to make sure that every customer is satisfied."
Griffith once met the "Real Deal Holyfield" briefly in Miami years ago when he was the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World. While the Champ was walking over to him, Griffith pondered what he would say to him. He asked the Champ a question that would craft and tailor his work ethic for TLG Fashion for years to come.
Champ, what does it take to be #1?
Holyfield responded, "Commitment will out beat talent any day. You have to put the blind-folders of life on real early. I played basketball, I was good at football and baseball, but I was just alright at boxing. If I did not channel my energies into one, I would have been all over the place. I chose boxing, although I was better at all of those other sports. There were a lot of guys that was much more talented at boxing than I was. At 5 a.m., I would get up and train. The talented hit the snooze button. I kept waking up at 5 a.m. while the talented kept sleeping in."
"I'm committed to having the best cuff links, I'm committed to having the greatest designs, I'm committed to having the best shoes, the best belts and I'm committed to the customers. If a customer does not want to come to the shop, we'll take it to them," Griffith passionately expressed. "I tell young guys all of the time that are starting out in this business that you have to have three things; brick and mortar, click and order and haul it and hoard it. Everyone does not want to come to your store. Over the past 9 years, I have been able to service thousands of people that would never come to Miami and walk into my store. But I've been able to haul it to them and they have purchased my designs and fashions."
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"One-third of my clientele are pastors. I dress pastors in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and many around the country. I have been able to parlay my engagements into having clients in men's ministries, male choruses and by word of mouth," noted Griffith. TLG Fashion has tailored menswear for a several professional athletes as well. "I believe in supporting people that support me."
Along with having his "brick and mortar" location at 14135 NW 7th Avenue, North Miami, FL, Griffith travels vending at some of the largest conferences and events in the country. He said, "Every year we attend the Church of God in Christ Conference, the Magic Show in Vegas in February and August, the Cobb Show in Atlanta in January and in the summer and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Conference."
Griffith expressed "Starting TLG Fashion has been everything that I expected it to be and more." As Griffith noted, after he made the decision in 2009, to give TLG Fashion six-months, he has not punched a time-clock since.
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Fort Lauderdale, FL
A Risk Taker Makes Good
What a wonderful story. I have known "Griff" for the last 5 years but I know him better as a result of your article. Thank you for profiling him and encouraging others to make a similar move toward their own success. Kudos to the publication for letting us know about people like Tim Griffith.