We had the good fortune of connecting with Frankie Holt and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Frankie, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
As a cyclist, I desperately needed a durable, weather-proof bag to fit my needs, so I started there.

Then by the time I turned 50 I was ready to venture out on my own. 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 “50 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 being part of a system that was designed for someone else.

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 studied photography and printmaking in college and went on to earn a MFA in sculpture from UCLA. 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 working as an Art Director for magazines, I grew to almost 300 pounds and struggled to find clothes that fit. Something I could wear that felt good, unique to me, personal—the freedom to be myself. Because fashion was not an option for bigger bodies, I would put my creativity into bags.

My life changed 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.

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. 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!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, first let’s assume my best friend is also a cyclist! We’d do a fun cycling tour of Los Angeles. First, we’d start with my typical weekday ride and loop up and around Griffith Park. There are a few roads that are closed off to cars so it’s a nice escape within the city. We’d hit The Trails Cafe for a bite to eat and probably Bolt coffee in East Hollywood on the way home for an incredible cookie and flat white.

There’s no doubt we’d hit Malibu! Ride up PCH and hit a few of my favorite climbs: Latigo, Piuma, Encinal, Rock Store, Mulholland… I often start from The Malibu Country Mart so we can get an incredible sandwich from The Country Kitchen at the end of the ride. It’s really the ideal place for a post-ride meal.

My absolute favorite rides are the ones going up into the San Gabriel mountains. There are two excellent options that both leave from Encanto Park in Duarte. Up Highway 39 is cycling heaven! The entire ride is about 50 miles with 6,000′ of climbing, but the main climb is an unrelenting up, up, and up! You’re paid off at the top when you find The Crystal Lake Cafe and eating the best brownie on the planet.

The other great climb staring in Duarte is heading up to Mt. Baldy Village. The cafe there is also super friendly where fries and a slice of pie is a must!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
By far, my husband has been my biggest supporter. I’m pretty sure he believes in me more than I do! He’s also an incredible photographer and has donated to the Fierce Hazel business more than anyone else.

When you’re bootstrapping a small business, it’s only possible to succeed with the support of many people. I’ve been fortunate to have so many friends who have given me their expert advice for free or at discounted rates. Things like showing up in person as a model, warehouse worker, or financial adviser. I quickly realized how little I knew after only a few months into it. You can’t read enough books to prepare you.

Website: https://fiercehazel.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fierce.hazel/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HazelFierce

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fiercehazel

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9QnwvifljiGwdJbKGSSDRQ

Image Credits
Photos by Michael Higgins

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.