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Trever Gray is likely a name you haven’t heard of. But, Gray will soon be well-known across the business world. At only 20 years old, Gray’s company Back Shelter has recently partnered with the world’s largest military exporters to assist in bringing the Back Shelter into military & commercial spotlight.
Things weren’t always an easy decision for Trever. After just one semester, Gray dropped out of college. He packed his belongings and moved to New York City with a mere $500 in pursuit to grow and expand his company. Here’s his amazing story.
City where you’re from: Waterville, Maine.
Favorite quote: “It’s OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket.” – Elon Musk
What are you working on with Back Shelter? How did you come up with this idea?
Trever Gray: At Back Shelter, we were originally working on modernizing the hiking & camping industry with our revolutionary patented products. But, the market is much greater than that solely. We’ve expanded from strictly commercial avenues to military application and humanitarian aid.
Was it tough to leave school behind to pursue your dream?
Trever Gray: For me, I knew it was the right choice. It was an easy decision, but it wasn’t easy for my family and friends. If you want to be successful you have to take big risk and believe in what you’re doing.
What were your biggest failure and biggest success? What did you learn from them?
Trever Gray: I was rejected many times, but I never saw that as failure or loss. It always motivated me to move forward and prove my worth and knowledge. There’s going to be people that try to shoot you down, just work hard and believe in yourself. Success will come, embrace the rain. My biggest success would have to be finally striking a deal with our military exporters. That was certainly a proud moment.
Is it true you moved to NYC with only $500? What were the tough times like?
Trever Gray: Yes, but it wasn’t an easy first few months. I found an apartment off Craigslist for $500 a month in E Harlem. It had a twin bed and enough room to open the door. No windows, no AC, nothing. I spent my entire savings on the first month rent, and was left with no money for the remainder of the month. I was washing my clothes in the sink, and eating Ramen for almost every meal. I began job hunting immediately. I got a job interview with a brokerage in the financial district, they were filling a new floor and had 23 positions available. Out of 2700 applicants, I received a seat as the youngest broker to ever enter the firm. I worked at the brokerage while growing my company. I would go on “lunch break” and run to a meeting on the other side of Manhattan for Back Shelter and get back before my lunch break was over. I always knew I was going to be successful, I was just waiting on everyone else to see it.
What do you think you do better than most people?
Trever Gray: Self-actualization, I’m particularly good at. I know my full potential, and how to achieve it. When you run a company, you need to learn to trust others. It’s incredible important to trust your partners and their abilities. If you aren’t good at finance, find a partner who is. If you aren’t skilled at mechanical engineering, source an engineer or two. Moral, you can’t be good at everything. But, you can build a team that is.
What do you recommend a new entrepreneur to focus on?
Trever Gray: DON’T QUIT.. Most people quit and get discouraged when results aren’t immediate. Remember, your business could take many years to build and become sustainable. If this was easy, everyone would do it.
Who are some of the most influential people for you?
Trever Gray: Elon Musk, is hands down my biggest inspiration. He’s doing so many revolutionary things, Tesla, Solar City, SpaceX, and OpenAI. Each of his ventures are focused on benefiting quality of life and the environment. Bill & Melinda Gates are another huge inspiration for me. They’ve given away BILLIONS in search of cures and vaccinations for developing countries. They have saved millions of lives through their philanthropy work.
Where do you see yourself and Back Shelter in a couple years?
Trever Gray: In a few years, Back Shelter will have become a household name in the hiking & camping industry. Expanding our product line beyond our signature build. Back Shelter will begin live military implementation. As for myself, I plan to grow Back Shelter, and broaden my business ventures into other avenues in the near future. You’ll see more of me, trust that.