Affordable housing and eco-friendly living are in increasingly high demand, especially in Atlanta’s booming real estate market. Majesty and Elize Gayle are emerging leaders in these spaces through their
business Evo Group Holdings. The couple strives to deliver affordable, sustainable housing to the Atlanta area through the use of shipping containers and flipping of neglected properties.
This project has helped address housing insecurities in the form of modern, cozy living spaces that are made with shipping containers, and recycled materials. They are built with speed, quality, visual appeal, and utilize renewable energy sources.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Majesty and Elize Gayle about building their business and the impact they have had on the Atlanta community.
Goldiee: How did you decide you want to start a business together?
Majesty Gayle: We decided that we wanted to start a business after working in the real estate business for a while and learning enough to venture into it ourselves. We saw that gentrification was at a high rise
and strived to find a way to curb this while aiding members of our community. We like to think we’re the Tesla of housing as we’re forward-thinking people with innovative ideas.
What did you both do for work before starting the business?
Elize Gayle: I left my job doing marketing for a credit agency in Atlanta to join [Majesty] to build our first consulting business before getting into real estate by way of one of his mentors.
MG: I was working at a fintech company in 2017 but due to some regulation issues, I left the job and we decided to venture into real estate where we were successful headhunters for real estate companies.
When and how did you meet?
EG: We actually met each other on Tinder in 2017. He saw that I was a marketing executive and the first message that he sent me was to hire me for his business. We’ve been working together since the day we met. It’s been a combined marriage and partnership with both our skill sets coming into full motion.
What was it like starting a business as working parents?
EG: It’s 24/7 all the time. We’re never off the clock. We just merge the two parts of our lives even if it means we have to include the kids. We believe it serves as a healthy early exposure for them to the entrepreneurial world so they have core skill sets to help them in the future.
Why do you use shipping containers in your construction?
MG: We use shipping containers because of its multiple advantages. They’re saturated, easily accessible, and popularly known as one-trip containers. Their durability also comes in handy as it makes it easier for us to create these homes in-house.
What has been your biggest challenge in starting Evo Haven and what has been the biggest reward?
MG: I think our biggest challenge so far was Covid-19 as everything shut down and it was challenging not knowing what to do. It also affected our rentals as a resident got sick and we had to quarantine people and deal with the situation, but we’ve been able to adapt.
One of our biggest rewards is that we’ve been able to work with Black businesses and create a community of like-minded people. So far things are looking good as we’ve grown so much in this experience.
Navigating the landscape as African Americans Millennial entrepreneurs has been tough but rewarding.
How has your business impacted the families you work with?
MG: We have a non-profit fund that we use to aid the community and a mutual relationship with grocery chains that allows us to redistribute food back to the community. We also offer clothing and services for senior citizens to rebuild their homes. Basically, we try to uplift families in whatever way we can while fulfilling their dreams of customized housing.
How has your business grown since its beginnings?
MG: Our business has grown due to our hard work and staying focused in challenging situations.
EG: We take a lot of things for granted because we’re so busy building that we don’t look back but early on in our careers, we were headhunters looking for deals for funds. Now, we’ve single-handedly created our own funds. I’ll say that’s a sign of significant growth.
What are your goals for the future of your company?
MG: The goal is to build a master-plan community that has housing and supporting services like groceries, laundry, healthcare and continue to do this across the country and the globe.