the birth of a dream
of a dream
Baby Gassy Gooma....a story of passion, purpose, and perseverance.
In the beginning, it
just began with a silly name. According to my mother, "Gassy Gooma" is the name I called myself
as a baby when I was yet unable to say my name, "Gretchen." A Northern working girl with a good heart
and self-deprecating humor, I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, yet have lived most of my life in the South,
in North Carolina and Florida. Growing up, my first fashion influence was my mom. I thought she was the most beautiful
woman I had ever seen who had a wonderful sense of style, classic, yet glamorous, and complete in detail with
the perfectly placed brooch or 3-strand pearl choker. She worked at a fabric shop before working at Jack Winter clothing
factory up North and I would love to go there and see all the pretty fabrics and it was so fascinating to see how clothing
I was a creative girl who excelled at Art and did well in English. I went
to college for journalism and aspired to be a reporter but instead built a well-diversified career for what would prepare
me for today including clothing retail management for various retailers (Casual Corner, Wet Seal, Clothestime), working in
merchandising/display, working as a freelance makeup artist at fashion shows, and working for an established advertising firm
in Clearwater, FL.
In my 20's, a career restlessness set in. Something began to
dramatically change. I was working for an employer where I had great job security, but to me it was simply a "job". Honestly,
I was there to collect a paycheck every week. But, I felt there had to be something more fulfilling in life so I started
talking this over with the One who made me. I started a simple but consistent, heartfelt prayer to God. I
remember asking Him to give me purpose and to use my life to do whatever He would with it. I simply desired one
thing -- a life to be used for His glory, with whatever talent He had given me.
years later, He birthed this creative dream inside of me to start designing clothing. It helped coming from a creative
family of skilled seamstresses but this was really an odd idea, since I was not one of them, and since I was never formally
trained in fashion. I was always the girl who had a sense of style and the go-to-girl when one of my friends or sister
needed a great look for their dates. I am inspired by so many different feminine and beautiful things. I remember
going to fabric stores and upon seeing a fabric that would catch my eye, would have the finished look envisioned
before I left the store. Then, I would rush home to sketch my ideas, to put them down on paper, and
would start developing our first samples from that. Sometimes I had good ideas and some weren't as great.
I remember some of my earlier designs with much amusement and ask "what was I thinking?", but I have never been
afraid to experiment, ever.
In 2002, I quit my secure job, stepped out of my comfort zone
and began this creative dream with nothing but faith and a whole lot of passion. We launched our first website as a
design portfolio for individual customers to place custom orders, which were sewn by seamstresses throughout
the Asheville, NC area. I testmarketed my first designs online and they got a pretty good response. Within
a month, I was contacted by a boutique who requested a wholesale catalog.
In 2005, we transitioned to factory production to handle our growth, and we relaunched our
line on a national level and began hiring reps to market our brand around the country. In early 2007, we hired a
couple international reps for marketing our brand worldwide.
With the start
of 2008, as I reflect upon my earlier aspirations, it is becoming more clear to me the bigger purpose behind
the dream. I really believe designing is the vehicle that is leading me to my truest passion of all.
I believe that we are blessed so that we may bless others and I want to experience the kind of joy that comes by giving,
by helping kids who have no hope, and inspiring them to reach for their dreams. In the coming years, with a generous
portion of our net profits, my focus will be centered around helping those children that have been placed on my
heart to help. I look forward to being a blessing in their lives.
we are honored that over 500 boutiques worldwide have chosen to carry our line. We have had celebrity moms and
wives of famous athletes shop with us. We are grateful for everyone's support of our brand and patience with us
as we grow. We have had our share of problems in building our business. We have made many mistakes along
the way, had to learn how to handle obstacles beyond our control, experienced several setbacks, some personal misfortunes,
but we have tried to learn from them. If we never had any difficulties, then how would we grow or learn how to persevere?
I am pursuing a dream God gave me and I could not possibly think of giving that up, no matter how difficult the circumstance.
The ultimate goal is not to be the biggest boutique brand in the industry, but to make myself useful to God by serving people.
This is why I don't mind talking of my inexperience in this industry because I want the spotlight to be on Him and what He
can do, not on me or anything I have done. I have honked my own horn enough in my lifetime and can do without it. I really
I enjoy reading about underdog success
stories and am inspired by overcomers -- stories of people who against all odds, fought hard, and reached their goals. Even
as a child, I was inspired. Remember that story "The Little Engine That Could?" where the little blue engine says,
"I think I can, I think I can." Great story! Until then, I continue on doing what I love with much passion knowing that I am just a whisper but He is the thunder. (Much
Of You, Steven Curtis Chapman)
- To provide fashion forward products of the highest quality and consistent
- To provide superb customer service.
- To deliver our products quickly and
within our customer's timeframe.
- To have happy, repeat customers year after year, not just for a season.
- To use a generous portion of all of our profits to give back to children in need and make a difference
in their lives, by inspiring them with hope, and by encouraging them to reach for their dreams.
Our business went national in 2005 when we decided to transition from a custom clothing business
to a wholesaler. Response was immediately overwhelming. We began 2005 with only one rep
in Atlanta and a handful of store orders. Within a couple years, we have grown to eight reps and our brand
is carried in over 500 stores worldwide. We continue to grow at a rapid pace, by the overwhelming grace of God.