The founder's story. Grab some popcorn; this is feature length.

 

Frankie biking on Sullivan Ridge 

Hey! I’m Frankie and I started Fierce Hazel because I like to be super organized. I don’t like chaos, and I can feel overwhelmed when things aren’t in the right place. I treasure everything I own, and when my things are in order, my life is in place and I feel calmer. 

I also like to ride my bike, travel, and drink good coffee. Okay, I also love my dogs, avocados, bourbon, and all those other cliché things. Except for kale. I hate kale.

My 20s: I studied photography and printmaking in college and went on to earn a master’s degree in fine art in Los Angeles. I was a big girl who shopped in thrift stores for men’s clothes—not to be cool but to find something that fit my XL body.

This taught me to create what I need, and I learned that there is a certain satisfaction in taking control and solving a problem.

 

While thrifting, I found a pack of sewing tags that read Specially Fashioned by Hazel, and my art-school self thought using those labels would be perfectly ironic, so I stitched them into everything I made.

My 30s: Growing to almost 300 pounds, I was struggling to find clothes that fit. Something I could wear that felt good, unique to me, personal—the freedom to be myself. I found that freedom in a bag. Bags, wallets, purses—they were always the right size. They always fit and kept my things safe. A few years before I hit 40, I left an abusive relationship, and I had my first taste of real freedom.

Finally…I took control of my life. It felt so good. 

 

40s: My life changed again when my sister took me on a bike trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway for my 40th birthday. Cycling became a place of exploration; I discovered new athletic challenges and the real freedom I’d always sought.

For the first time, I was a happy kid.

On my bike, I can choose where I want to go, for how long and who with. I am in control and living in the moment. There are no rules.

So I ran with it. Freedom took center stage. I biked the Alps in Italy. I explored Southeast Asia. Danced the streets of Havana. Fell in love with Paris.

It was while traveling that I returned to my first passion, the camera, for a photo book that investigates global consumer culture. Mall life in Singapore. Villages in Myanmar. Town squares in Iowa. Luxury shops in Hanoi. Photos of detergents, groceries, clothing, toothpaste… Then, as I edited thousands of images as an artist in residence at the Cité des Arts in Paris to finish the book, I began to see the pervasiveness of plastic around the globe.

I began to understand how enormous the problem is.

50s: By the time I turned 50 I was ready. Ready to own my age. Ready to work for me. Ready to leave the desk job. Ready to take control of my life. Ready to be fierce.

Determined not to age gracefully, I painted “Fierce AF” on the back of a thrifted jacket and started life anew. 

 

On the bike, I wanted a pouch to keep my stuff safe. I need to be prepared and have fewer things to worry about. I could never find a pouch that was quite right, and I was tired of living in a world designed for someone else. That’s when I remembered what worked for me in college—just create something of my own. It was time to make something for me. I wanted to create the lightest, most functional cycling wallet possible. Something eco-friendly, sustainable. Unique. And I did it.

Something that can help you take your journey anywhere. Find your own freedom like I found mine.

I'm committed not to adding more waste the planet so I'm using rescued material from the factory floor to sustainably produce everything. It’s how I wanted do it, because it’s the right choice for me, for us, the workers, and for the planet.

 

 Simply Fierce. Specially Fashioned. Fierce Hazel.