For the second consecutive year, Kansas City-based Charlie Hustle has partnered with the University of Kansas Alumni Association. The apparel company, which offers distinctive collegiate and KU-themed designs, will serve as a presenting sponsor of the 2018 Rock Chalk Ball, the Alumni Association’s largest annual fundraiser, April 28 at the Kansas City Convention Center. The event raises funds for Association and Student Alumni Network programs.
Charlie Hustle also returns to work with the Alumni Association on its 2018 Member APPreciation program, a month-long promotion that celebrates member loyalty with a unique Charlie Hustle KU T-shirt, available exclusively through the Association’s mobile app. In addition, the relationship includes marketing of the Charlie Hustle KU Collegiate Collection throughout the year in alumni communications.
“Charlie Hustle is a great Kansas City company, and we’re delighted to expand our relationship through their support of next year’s Rock Chalk Ball, a KU tradition in our largest community of Jayhawks,” said Heath Peterson, KU Alumni Association president. “We also look forward to working together on the second year of the Member APPreciation campaign. Thanks to Charlie Hustle’s sponsorship, the Alumni Association continues to expand programs and services for our members and KU students.”
“We are excited to partner with the KU Alumni Association and showcase our distinctive KU Collegiate Collection to Jayhawks worldwide,” said Chase McAnulty, owner of Charlie Hustle and a Presidents Club and Life Member of the Alumni Association. “We’re also proud to support the Association’s programs for alumni and students—especially here in Kansas City, our hometown.”
Learn more about the Kansas City-based company and its staff of Jayhawks, including what inspired its founder and CEO, Chase McAnulty, to create the company and where the name came from.
Kansas City-area alumni and current KU students gathered Oct. 18 at the WeWork shared-office space in downtown Kansas City for a networking event and panel discussion with three of the city’s top entrepreneurs.
The panelists included Chase McAnulty, assoc., founder and CEO of vintage T-shirt company Charlie Hustle; Paul Francis, a’80, founder and CEO of OYO Fitness; and Hillary Philgreen, g’97, chief operating officer of Hantover Inc. and ARY Brands Inc and founder and creator of StinkBOSS. The discussion was moderated by Tyler Enders, b’11, owner of Made in KC and partner in five other retail concepts in the Kansas City area.
“These sorts of panel discussions and industry connections are a big focus for the Alumni Association right now,” Peterson said, explaining that the Association plans to launch a new career initiative, the Jayhawk Career Network, in 2018. “Programs like this in major metro markets across the country are part of that plan.”
What worked and what didn’t
Throughout the evening, the panelists answered a series of questions from Enders, as well as from several participants in the crowd, about their processes for product development and marketing, including how they secured funding, who they enlisted for help, how their prototypes were built and, ultimately, what worked for them and what didn’t.
Philgreen, a mother of two teenage boys who inspired the creation of StinkBOSS, a machine designed to dry, sanitize and deodorize shoes and athletic gear, relied on her extensive business background and made connections with other industry professionals, which proved invaluable to launching her product. She reminded participants that Kansas City offers a wealth of resources and networking opportunities for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
“You need help, there are people in this city that will help you,” she said. “You just need the concept and you just need to step forward and try.”
“Reverse engineer” what’s already been done
Francis and McAnulty used the popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to help fund their concepts, and they stressed the importance of having a captivating, informative video for product campaigns. Both entrepreneurs recruited local business-savvy professionals to help create their videos.
“You don’t have to do anything new,” said Francis, who patented SpiraFlex, the exercise technology that powered strength-training equipment for NASA, and also developed the Bowflex Revolution. He watched several other campaign videos before creating one for his latest product, the DoubleFlex portable gym. “You just have to reverse engineer what’s already been done, then just improve upon it.”
McAnulty, whose passion for vintage tees and textile design inspired him to launch Charlie Hustle in 2012, reminded participants that the most important lesson in starting a new business or launching a new product is to keep trying. His brand’s most popular tee and signature piece, the KC Heart design, wasn’t even on the initial roster of T-shirts when Charlie Hustle first launched.
“You learn from everything,” he said. “You learn from your mistakes, you learn from your little successes. Try to expand and grow on those. We failed on a lot of different products. Just keep going, do it.”
Watch our video below to hear from the panelists. Pictures from the event are available on our Flickr page and may be downloaded for personal use.
We partnered with Charlie Hustle for a fun opportunity during Member APPreciation Month: Association members have access to buy an exclusive KU gameday T-shirt for just $20 through the KU Alumni app. It’s only for members, and only in February.
Who is Charlie Hustle?
Jayhawks in the Kansas City area have likely heard the name or seen Charlie Hustle’s vintage-style T-shirts around town—especially its signature KC heart shirt. But the company’s products are visible worldwide, as evidenced by the stream of Instagram photos tagged with #CharlieTravels.
Watch our new video to learn more about the Kansas City-based company and its staff of Jayhawks, including what inspired its founder and CEO, Chase McAnulty, to create the company and where the name came from.
“Out of the 16 or 17 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never seen so many people in the waiting room waiting to hear a word about how the patient was doing,” said Dr. Emmanuel Daon, thoracic and cardiac surgeon with the University of Kansas Health System. “Not even close.”
Dr. Daon was talking about the friends and supporters of Dr. Scott Ward, d’91, g’94, g’96, better known as “Scooter” to those he counts as friends, and if you’ve ever met him, you’re a friend.
“What it tells me is that this is somebody who’s special.”
In October, Ward suffered an aortic dissection requiring emergency heart surgery. The procedure was needed to repair a partial rupture in Ward’s aorta, the largest blood vessel in the human body. Ward, who was already paralyzed from neck down since breaking his neck in 1986, faced long odds, including a survival rate under 10%. But he had something else working in his favor: an army of supporters, led by his superhero wife, Robin, g’03.
“They can tell you what the odds are,” she said. “They can tell you how bad this is. They don’t know Scooter.”
Family, friends and former student-athletes descended on KU Med from all over the country and took over the waiting room. There they held vigil for Scooter, sharing updates via text, Twitter and Facebook, and soon after a movement was born. With KU volleyball still in season, and men’s basketball getting underway, the rallying cry #rootforscoot took over social media.
“That initial support was so amazing that I don’t think there was any other choice than to survive,” Ward remembers.
Incredibly, Ward survived the initial surgery and was on his way to recovery when he suffered another aortic tear and a more perilous prognosis. A second surgery would be needed, and the success rate, according to Dr. Daon, was more like one-in-a-million. Scooter remembered taking a deep breath before adding his trademark lighthearted humor and hopeful optimism.
“Quoting a bad movie, I said ‘so we have a chance,'” he recalled in a recent interview, just months after surviving a second, life-saving heart surgery.
A heartfelt tribute
February is heart health awareness month, and our friends at Charlie Hustle are helping raise awareness and funds to support the American Heart Association in Kansas City. Charlie Hustle’s chief marketing officer, Katie Martincich, b’10, d’10, g’13, also played volleyball for KU and worked alongside Scooter as an academic and career counselor for Kansas Athletics, so she helped the Kansas City company connect with the Wards to share their story.
Scooter’s journey, told in this video below and posted on the Charlie Hustle Facebook page, is a touching tribute to a Jayhawk so beloved, you can’t help but root for him.
Member APPreciation Month is a way for us to show our members how much we love them. Why the emphasis on “APP?” Because we want to encourage you to keep KU in the palm of your hand by downloading the KU Alumni app! During our inaugural love fest, members will have access to buy an exclusive Charlie Hustle game day T-shirt. You might have seen a famous face wearing one at the KU vs. Texas basketball game last week…
Members will be able to buy this shirt for just $20 in February, only through the app. You can’t get this shirt anywhere else, and you won’t be able to buy it after February. And did we mention it’s only available for members?
Wait, what if I’m not a member …yet?
That’s okay, you can still join! The KU Alumni app has an easy two-step process to join the KU Alumni Association, and once your membership is processed you will also be able to buy the exclusive T-shirt.
And, to reward new members who join through the app, we’ll also send you a free iWallet for the back of your smartphone! This Rock Chalkin’ accessory will securely hold your credit cards, ID or cash on your cell phone while also showing off your Jayhawk pride.