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Meet Frankie Holt of Fierce Hazel in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Frankie Holt.

Frankie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Fierce Hazel started as a business idea that turned into a passion project! Usually, it’s the other way around. I started Fierce Hazel because I spent way too much time preparing for a bike ride and often worried that I would lose something.

As an avid cyclist and gear lover, I felt that much of what’s out there is not designed with a women’s needs in mind. A simple ride wallet or a cool backpack that anyone can use is often marketed in a very macho and exclusive way. I naively thought I could produce something similar and have it be for everyone.

I started to design a light-weight, multi-function ride pouch that keeps my things safe. I sometimes needed a tampon, so it has a long skinny pocket that can hold a tampon, pen, lip balm, tire lever, or any number of things. Fierce Hazel’s products have an intended use, but that use isn’t necessarily gender-specific. Inclusive design is about giving all kinds of people independence. Functional design means it can be adapted to many uses.

It turned into a passion project when I learned about the enormous impact the fashion and accessory industry has on the environment. (“Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, which is now the most commonly used fiber in our clothing. But it takes more than 200 years to decompose.” – Forbes) I figured if I’m going to add more stuff to the world, I might as well use materials that already exist. I am determined not to add more garbage to the landfill.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
So many struggles! The main one is not enough time in the day.

I trained as an artist made my career as an art director, working for such magazines as Men’s Fitness and Architectural Digest. I have advanced degrees in photography and sculpture but zero experience in gear design and manufacturing.

The first problem is most factories require a high minimum order quantity and encourage companies to order more product than needed. But what happens to the unsold product? It gets thrown away. I was happy to find a factory that took my small order. Despite the fact that the price is a little higher, the benefit is less waste.

Another obstacle was sourcing materials. Textile mills often require a minimum purchase of 300 yards of fabric, which is A LOT of fabric! My solution was to use material that was already on the factory floor (deadstock). Honestly, it would have been much easier just to buy the exact fabric I wanted but this way is a lot more sustainable. This means working closely with the factory so they can save the best fabrics and remnants for us to use! It’s tricky but when it comes together, it’s magic.

Finding an ethical factory that manufactures high-tech, light-weight, seam-sealed gear? Not so easy. I eventually found myself in Vietnam where I found a factory that not only delivers a high-quality product but pays a living wage with reasonable working hours and a good work environment. I am also the first woman the factory owner has ever worked with.

Please tell us about Fierce Hazel.
Fierce Hazel is an independent, Los Angeles–based company founded by a woman cyclist and artist. Functional, sustainable, and unique are the core for everything we make. We make high-quality and eco-friendly backpacks, bags, and wallets for cyclists, travelers and outdoors people.

We make gear inspired by the love of cycling and offer a range of products that includes a backpack, handy pouches, and a wallet. Our sustainably made designs are lightweight and weatherproof and built to meet the needs of not just cyclists but on-the-go people who want an ultra-functional carry-all. Athletes, travelers, urban adventurers—all put Fierce Hazel to use.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Ugh. Probably nothing. There are a lot of things on my “wish list,” like more funding, but the restrictions and limitations are probably a blessing. Working with less supports my minimal design aesthetic and also means I need to be more creative—which is the most exciting part.

Being a small business is awesome because I get to build things the right way from the ground up. Being self-funded allows me to focus on our product without the pressure of churning constant profit. I want Fierce Hazel to appeal to everyone without harming the planet.

Pricing:

  • Echelon All-Conditions Ride Pouch, Featherweight, $25
  • Echelon All-Conditions Ride Pouch, Ballistic Black, $29
  • Tour de Fierce Ultralight Cycling Wallet, $39
  • Evolution Convertible Backpack, $139

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Lifestyle by Michael Higgins; Still Life/Product by Frankie Holt

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