“I want to be remembered as the one who fell down but got back up higher”
Grade 12 senior high School student Gelo Souza watched a documentary on Chris Brown’s life, which showed his unlawful behavior and his decision to relaunch his music career. “I discovered everyone was opposing him, and the media was criticizing him at interviews,” Souza recalled.
He remembered a quote from Brown in the documentary—”I want to be remembered as the one who fell down but got back up higher.”
That quote struck Souza the most. He said, “Chris Brown drove me to continue bouncing up even though the world seems to be against me.”
Souza started selling thrift clothing at first, but it was challenging to find distributors that could best represent his shop. Then the idea to start his own clothing line came. “I was motivated to learn product development, including the creatives, marketing, and developing different strategies to become a unique brand.”
But then the pandemic came when he was about to put his plans to action. “I realized that launching a business during a pandemic is daunting due to various restrictions. However, this did not prevent me from chasing my passion.”
He finally launched his brand, “Breezy Apparel,” in August 2020.
Impatience has posed a struggle for him. “I’ve always desired instant results,” he said. “I am anxious for my brand to improve. However, I realized if we strive diligently toward our business goals, we would maintain our momentum and gain complete control of our fate.”
Souza added, “I realized that moreover, we allow ourselves to have an opportunity to assess how to respond to a given situation with patience, rather than being emotionally overwhelmed by our feelings. It enables us to maintain our composure in the face of adversity.”
As the pandemic ranged on, he continued to learn new skills, growing both as an individual and a leader. Learning from notable individuals like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffet, he said, “I realized that we can still pursue our learning even outside of school to establish essential skills to assist us well in our careers.”
This graduating senior high school student from De La Salle Zobel Vermosa (Cavite) campus manages his business alone, but he counts on his girlfriend for ideas and feedback when he needs them. At first, instead of the usual photo shoot he opted for anime-inspired artwork as models for his pieces. “I didn’t have much talent in digital editing so I tried to be resourceful.”
“The current collection was more of a testing ground. I was only exploring and learning how to make and design clothes at the time.”
Some of his notable pieces include tie-dye shirts and incorporated graffiti elements; overall they are Chris Brown-inspired designs, “They have a special significance for me,” he added. “The items were designed to be plain and simple, to be paired with any wardrobe and would not go out of style.”
But Breezy is just the start for Souza, “There’s so much potential that I cannot unleash at the moment.” He believes that he still doesn’t have an official team to assist him. But since he’s a hands-on owner, the brand’s growth is definitely his top priority.
Souza admits that it is essential to keep an optimistic mindset and not lose hope when a business problem arises. He has a morning routine—staying away from your phone, having a cup of coffee, stretching, and meditation. “This routine benefited me because it relaxes my mind and gives me a positive outlook, which allows me to come up with creative ideas for my brand.”
Definitely Souza has come a long way even if his brand is fairly new, “In the past, I was constantly chastised for being childish, someone who won’t go anywhere.”
Many doubted him, “but the Chris Brown quote sparked a part in me to rise and show everyone what I’m worthy of. It is essential to believe in yourself and your capabilities. Enable no one to underestimate you, as your success is ultimately determined by how you perceive yourself and whether you trust in yourself.”
Check out Breezy’s Instagram