Kortney Olson is the founder and CEO of GRRRL, a company that goes beyond athletic wear to create a new paradigm of empowering women. Olson’s story began like most women’s, marked by hatred and dissatisfaction of her body. Her long and difficult journey to self-acceptance led her to sell everything, move, and create a brand that addresses the media’s harsh programming that has held women back for far too long. In her company’s rags to riches story, Olson has dedicated her life to being in the trenches. She provides support to young girls and women alike, while making GRRRL a revolution in awareness and acceptance. GRRRL is more than clothes and events, it is a truth movement. GRRRL lets women know that the world is not what we think it is. You are not a victim of society or your circumstances. There is a place for you no matter what you look like, believe in, or choose and that place is with GRRRL. By bringing women together in sisterhood, GRRRLs everywhere can change the world because in the words of Beyoncé: Who run the world? GRRRLs
1. Who is GRRRL?
GRRRL is an online, value-based retailer for active wear for women. More importantly, we are a revolution. Our clothing is simply the flag to fly. The flag of “we’ve had enough of the bullshit”
2. What is your ultimate mission with the brand?
Our ultimate mission is to take over the world. All kidding aside, we see ourselves on every single square inch of the planet. Creating abundance for women through employment opportunities, educational programs, and products in every way imaginable. Whether it’s lathering up with GRRRL warrior shower gel, or attending a live conference, GRRRL will be there to empower women.
3. What was the original founding goal of GRRRL?
The original goal has always been to create a truth revolution. SO many clothing brands are wolves in sheep clothing. Male ran, ego driven, profit hungry bags of dicks. Acting like they exist to empower women, yet continue using the 5% body type. Along with photoshop and airbrushing models, they carry on causing the other 95% to feel “not good enough” and “different than”.
The original vision was and always has been, to create a sisterhood, which we warmly refer to as the “grrrl army”. You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us-
4. How do you believe this company is making a difference in the world?
We’re creating a platform for women, old and young alike, to be, say, and do whatever the HELL they want, free from judgement. We offer a safe space within a community of likeminded women, whom all operate from the same principles. We’re also rolling out experiences where our grrrl army can meet in ‘real life’ and not just social media. A place where we can all come together and learn from amazing role models and teachers, such as Jean Kilbourne of “Killing Us Softly”.
5. How does GRRRL attempt to combat body shaming?
We are combating body shaming by educating the public as to what truth advertising looks like. We refrain and refuse to use photoshop, of or on- any of our models. We also do not require our models to look a certain way. If they want to show up to a photoshoot without makeup on, then so be it. We celebrate ALL body types, because women are unique and miraculous in all ways imaginable.
6. I love the fact that you don’t label your clothing. What is your purpose behind making that choice?
The purpose behind not using traditional sizing is to simply do away with the stigma of what we associate with the label of “large” or “small”. As women, most of us want to be something that we are not, because that’s what advertising tells us we should be. Be something you’re not, so you’ll buy more shit. We’re stuck constantly trying to fill a void of emptiness that will never be fulfilled by a shallow image of “I’ll be happy when…..”
Furthermore, women’s sizing was created by a white man in the 1940’s who worked for the department of agriculture. He was quoted saying “if it doesn’t fit, she can sew it”. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t sew-
7. It seems that you guys try to break the habit of women competing with one another and rather uniting together. However, sports are typically an outlet for competition. What are your thoughts on the difference between healthy and unhealthy competition among women?
Competing in sports is great. But we do it with humility. We understand that we will always be better than someone else, and someone else will always be better than us. At the end of the day, it is only ourselves whom we are truly in competition with.
We’re breaking the cycle of competition between women in general because it is the key to our success when it comes to winning the war pertaining to equality. We believe the reason we are held back as a gender is because we are programmed to see each other as competition from an early age. This thing we call life, is a “we” program, not an “I” program. Until we can stand together, despite our ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, political alignment, or any other potential dividing factor, we’ll never make it. Hence why we exist.
8. How can women support the mission of becoming stronger and more united in their every day lives?
Our closed facebook group is a great place to start! https://www.facebook.com/groups/GRRRL/
Our goal isn’t to sell t-shirts. That’s boring. Our goal is to continue growing the grrrl army on a massive, global scale. The power of a united group of women with a common purpose, is untouchable. Everything in life is so much more enjoyable with a sister supporting you, and you supporting a sister. We don’t expect everyone to buy clothing- the threads are simply the platform for us to all identify with one another.
As far as becoming stronger in everyday life: We suggest doing the basics.
Clean house: Unfollow all of the “fitspo” fake accounts on social media. Stop buying fashion mags and watching mind-numbing programs. Read a book instead.
Give yourself permission to be in the now: Take time off of everything but yourself, for at least 10 minutes a day.
Learn to be assertive: Speak your truth. Just like working out, speaking assertively is like a muscle that needs working out in order to get better.
Employ acceptance in your life: Accept wherever you are with your journey. It’s 100% OK to be lost, miserable, or sad.
Employ forgiveness in your life: Life is one big fuck-off learning experience. You are simply here to learn, to love, and to laugh.
Come to Las Vegas May 19-21st, 2017 for our first global GRRRL convention!
You can follow Kortney and the GRRRL movement on Instagram and Facebook. To support their efforts in changing the paradigm, visit their site at www.grrrl.com