Keisha Greaves Follows Her Dreams as Owner of Girls Chronically Rock
Women entrepreneurs are writing their own history
March is Women’s History Month, and we’re recognizing the occasion with stories about some of the inspiring women participating in FedEx-sponsored empowerment programs.
FedEx has been a sponsor of Babson College programs for women entrepreneurs since 2017.
For as long as she can remember, Cambridge, MA native Keisha Greaves has had a “passion for fashion” and wanted to be her own boss.
She held onto that dream as she graduated from college with a degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising, but it was while she was in grad school in 2010 at age 24 that she got the news that would change her life – the sudden unexplained falls and arm weakness she’d been experiencing for months was diagnosed as Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (MD).
“So many thoughts ran through my mind - how soon will I have to be in a wheelchair? What does my future hold? What’s going to happen?”
Family support helped her come to terms with her “new normal,” and she pushed on to follow her dreams. She started her business – “Girls Chronically Rock” – in 2017.
“I’m big fan of graphic shirts, and inspirational quotes. I wanted to design something that was meaningful for me and also raise awareness about the disabled. I knew I wanted something with the word “chronic” in it to reflect chronic illness. I liked the way “Girls Chronically Rock” sounded.”
Her shirts have motivational messages like “Trust your Dopeness,” “Walk with a Twist,” and “Chronically Dope.”
She started out selling her t-shirts on Etsy and eventually launched a website. Her shirts have even been featured on network TV like the Today Show and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” She’s doing it all by herself - and realized there are aspects of running a business that she needed to learn more about. When she heard about Babson College’s Black Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (BWEL) program – she knew she wanted the training and resources the program provides, and was accepted into the 2022 cohort which began in January.
“It’s unique --- you don’t hear about a lot of accelerator programs especially designed for Black women. I love it when we break into groups and share problems and solutions. So far, I’ve already learned a lot. I’m learning about the importance of marketing and sharing my story, financial literacy, and I’ve been paired with a fantastic mentor.”
Despite the challenges of her illness (“I wake up every day not knowing what this body’s going to do.”), her spirit and determination remain constant. She started a non-profit, “Trust Your Abilities,” and she’s a motivational speaker. In 2021 she expanded her clothing line to include adaptive swimwear - swimsuits that are easy for disabled people to get on and off when they go to water therapy. She would love to collaborate with major designers on more adaptive apparel.
“In five years, I would love to see my clothing in major department stores and retail outlets, even globally. I want to build a Girls Chronically Rock empire!”
***Photo credit Keisha Greaves