We had the good fortune of connecting with Sturdy Barbie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sturdy, how do you think about risk?
Risk is a funny concept for me. There was a time when I first started my business that I thought about ‘taking the risk’ to do so, but very quickly the idea that I was taking a chance on something dissipated and it just became – this is going to happen – whatever it is that I decide I want to make out of this brand, will happen. The idea of risking my money and time to pour into Sturdy, evolved into – this is an investment because I have that level of certainty that I can see this through to fruition. Once that mindset changed for me, things started falling into place and that’s where I am now.
In short, taking risks to enable a dream are highly necessary at first, then the idea is that it becomes so real in your mind that the component of ‘this could fail’ is no longer on the table. And that is where the magic begins.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I kind of feel like a late bloomer. I started my brand, Sturdy USA, in my thirties. It had been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember but it took my divorce and the period of self-discovery thereafter to inspire me to actually take the ‘risk’.
I started Sturdy USA to give one woman’s perspective on streetwear. The brand is about longevity, resilience and the tenacity we, as the black community, have as a culture. We prevail by any means necessary.
Initially, it was a creative outlet solely, away from the corporate environment in which I’ve never felt seen. Sturdy quickly became so much more. The brand allowed me opportunities to share energy and experiences with so many like-minded people that my world expanded tenfold. It’s led me to hunt my purpose and to challenge myself in ways I’d never considered.
A lot of my brand is naturally inspired by my personal style with heavy influences from 90’s East coast hip hop. So some of the most humbling moments have been the support I’ve received from influential figures of the culture. The first artist to support Sturdy (completely organically) was Havoc of Mobb Deep. Imagine an artist I listened to since I was a child, finding appreciation in my art… An incredible feeling. Since then, I’ve had the honor of having my designs on hip hop artists such as, Conway the Machine, URL Rap Battlers Cortez and Loso, a few NFL athletes and more.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ll be honest, when I’m not traveling, I’m really a homebody even though no one will believe that! I’m very protective of my space and who I let enter. But if you know me, you know I love do two things: 1. EAT and 2. go to the gym (…so I can eat).
So of course we have to hit the gym. I go to this dope private gym in Centennial called 212 Performance. Then… We eat!
Denver has made me love Mexican food. I’m originally from the East coast, so enchiladas to me, had marinara sauce on them. Ha! But now that I know better, I do better.
I have a lot of foodie friends so we’re always looking for new spots to try, but a few of my favorites are in Cherry Creek. Specifically Toro Latin Kitchen which has a fire small plate brunch and so many amazing dishes on the dinner menu it’s hard to choose. Machete Tequila + Tacos is another staple… Their Kona Margarita is what started my love affair with margs. Out towards the Tech Center they have Shanahan’s Steakhouse that makes my favorite ribeye in Colorado.
Denver is one of those places where your apt to meet amazing people and end up on an unplanned adventure. It’s hard to go wrong.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I think about all of the people that have influenced me, or have created space for me to be who I am, authentically… It’s difficult to just pick out one. I feel like God has strategically placed people in my life, at various times, to teach me a little about myself. I’m immensely grateful for that. Collectively, I’ve had a great deal of incredible people that have loved on me, and even those who have brought me a great deal of pain because that’s equally important and influential on the journey that has brought me here.
Other: Sturdy USA Instagram: @sturdyusa
Conway the Machine by Agin Kazbai