What started as simply as a logo that I had created to practice with while learning to screen print, quickly became my own personal motto. “Mean Hustle”. My silent motivator. I printed it on old t-shirts, jean jackets, posters, scrap wood. I’ve worn it proudly for almost a year, slowly brainstorming what this thing actually was. If it was actually anything at all.
At first, it was going to be just a line of t-shirts. In my mind, it evolved into accessories. Then, I thought it would be cool to offer basic “tools”. Things that I enjoy and that help me get through the long work days. Shop rags, bags, idea journals, carpenter pencils, insulated totes, water bottles, clip boards, coffee mugs! Eventually when the “help” I needed to get through the work day shifted from physical help, to more of an emotional help, the word “tools” took on a whole new meaning and Mean Hustle evolved again.
A few months back, I was exhausted, beat down, doubting myself, and scared. Going through major life and career changes, I wasn’t sure if I even knew what I was doing, let alone if I could actually do “it” when the time came. And then right when I needed it most, these little life rafts started floating by.
Time and time again when I’d start to feel life’s relentless waves start to pull me under, without asking and almost as though the universe knew exactly when I needed help, I would be pulled to safety by a chain of strategically placed women. I would receive a perfectly timed text message from a girlfriend with a meme about being a bad-ass woman! A phone call from a sister sharing stories about her own grueling day, spun hilariously. Once, it felt like even the woman cashing me out at the grocery store identified with the Pull-ups, Cheerios, and Red Bull I was buying, and offered me a pat on the back in the form of a knowing smile and an up-lifting, “Heh heh, me too girl. Me too.”
In these moments I could almost feel the support moving through and around me, propping me up. It felt like I wasn’t alone, I would be OK, and that all of us were in this together. They were proving to me that I wasn’t actually drowning. These were my instructors, my life rafts. And if I’d let them, they’d teach me how to swim.
Mean Hustle is a project that I’ve had on my heart for some time. The past several years of my life have been an almost indescribable journey. Learning to navigate hardships, divorce, deaths, births, addictions, triumphs, failures, family feuds, discrimination, career changes, relationships and more. All the while I’ve been hustling non-stop, trying to keep my head above water for my two little girls. And it has been soul-shaking.
I’ve learned to cling to the invaluable strength I gain by simply hearing that my struggles, while valid, are not entirely unique. And that I’ll be OK. Having another person verify out-loud that there are these very, very real hurdles posed to women, makes me feel sane and empowered. Sometimes these affirmations mean the difference between giving up, and grinding harder. It makes me want to pay forward the gift of confidence through acknowledgement, and strength through community. Through all of these things I have learned that the only tool in the entire toolbox that will fix for women what the world can break, is support.
Right now, Mean Hustle is still the original t-shirts I had designed so long ago. I am working towards the accessories and tools. But what I am most excited about, is turning it into a community of support. I want to speak with as many women as I can, tell our stories, and build a life raft should anyone need it. Eventually I’d like to add a discussion board, schedule meet-ups, links to women-owned businesses and non-profits, and so much more!
Right now, I am excited to launch the Mean Hustle blog! The first step toward building up a Utopian community of bad ass, hard-working of women! This is where we’ll do a Q&A with different women in our community, sharing their thoughts and stories about what hustling has been like for them. I’ll be posting the first interview this week, and I am beside myself! In a million different ways, we’ve got work to do. I am so ready to get started! So let’s do this.
If you need a life raft, I hope this helps.
Mean Hustle believes that the root of all change is hard-work, purpose, and passion. It aims to inspire confidence & community in women & girls whose hardest work is still ahead of them. Whether your grind is for passion or for progress, Mean Hustle is head-down right beside you, and wants to tell our story! Words work, so do we, and now is the time!
Mean Hustle will be bringing you stories of incredible women whose hustles are changing the world. Expect apparel that proudly displays our message, and “tools” that help hustlers get through the long work days. You can find select t-shirt designs here, on Etsy, and on Amazon! You can also find hand-made Mean Hustle “Idea Journals” in our shops!
A portion of Mean Hustle’s sales will be donated to select non-profit organizations supporting women & girls in our community. We will be sharing those stories as well! Our dreams are big, our ideas plenty, and we are just getting started, so stay tuned!
Hustle on, hustlers!