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Foolies Founder: I’m Most Creative When My Back Is Against The Wall

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
money & life

alex hanse foolies

The CreativeLive community is full of incredibly talented individuals, with inspirational stories of how they started doing what they’re doing. One of them is writer and entrepeneur Alex Hanse, who co-created Foolies, a t-shirt brand. Alex is one of our Honor Roll members, a group of photographers who we think really stand out. You can read about other Honor Roll members here.

“We cranked this brand or concept out in the wee hours of the night because we were feeling unfulfilled and wanted to do more for the world,” reads the Foolies origin story. “We were two young aspiring recording artists/engineers looking to do more than just music. We wanted to create a movement. A movement that would shake up the masses and push people pass their fears, doubts, and limitations.”

A copywriter with degrees in audio recording and applied physiology and kinesiology,  Alex had big dreams for the company he started with his friend, Billy Kennedy — and not a lot in the way of resources. Alex, who lost his mother at a young age, says he struggled with many obstacles during his early years, and even with the foundation of Foolies, which is both a t-shirt company and, he says, an inspirational movement. But, he told us, hard times are when he comes up with his best ideas.

“When my back is against the wall is some of my most creative moments,” he explains, “Or, when I am on the brink of failure and on my last leg.”

If anything, he says, that’s the biggest lesson he’s taken away from starting his own company, which became his full-time job last year.

“You don’t need thousands of dollars to make your dreams come true or impact lives. You need a purpose, a Twitter and Facebook account, and just a whole lot of guts to live below your means and help as many people as you can with every opportunity that you can get.”

With slogans like “Faith Over Fear” and “Dream Without Limits,” the t-shirts are designed to not only send a message to the outside world, but also to help the wearer feel confident and inspired. Foolies is also working to offer a scholarship fund, which means each shirt is also “an investment.”

“For everyone who supports the brand they make a big investment. This investment benefits you as the buyer and it may benefit a young man or woman who may be entering into college. Yes, one day we will be able to provide a lucky young man or woman a scholarship because of each and every purchase,” the website reads.

More than anything, Alex says, starting his own company has allowed him to focus on his own personal growth, as well as given him the chance to learn an important lesson: That having some people on your side is the most important thing.

“Create your own tribe,” he says. “Don’t worry about the millions of people. Make your tribe and then let that tribe bring others into the movement.”

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.