How Break The Stigma Came to Be- Behind the Scenes

How Break The Stigma Came to Be- Behind the Scenes
I’ve had anxiety so bad that at one point I curled up on my bed and froze. Couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. 
It was a scary day for me because up to that point, I think if you would have asked me if I had anxiety, I would have said no. Getting to the point of feeling completely debilitated was a huge wake up call for me. 
Luckily with the awesome spouse, family, and people I have in my life, I was able to realize that I could actually get help and work through it. 
When we came up with the idea of Stele Hats. We wanted to accomplish two things. 1. Work with incredible people to share their stories, and 2. Create a community to help people feel hope. 
In fact a “stele” in our definition is a marker for hope. 
Working with Tanner Mangum has been such a privilege and an honor for these very reasons. Reaching out to him on a wing and prayer when we started this company, I was so impressed how he publicly talked about his mental health during the biggest time in his life when he was likely discouraged from doing so—while he was a college athlete. 
He helped all of us come a step closer to realizing that you don’t need to “tough it out” or ignore the pain. Tanner and I didn’t know each other but because my own story felt similar to his, I reached out and proposed the idea of collaborating on a hat that would promote how he got the courage to talk about his mental health. 
I was excited about his response and we were off and running. In fact, learning to deal with my own anxiety has made his story more personal to me than I could have imagined. 
See attached image from the proposal. Ive included the text below for clarity. 
Thoughts: Collaboration with Tanner Mangum representing mental health, awareness of it, and overall positivity. Helping tell the story of how its ok to have struggles, to need help and support; break the stigma; we are all in this together. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others. 
Design vibe goals: clean, simple, minimalist 
  1. Waves
  2. Stop Sign/Octagon/No Symbol
  3. Brain-mental health and balance, power of the mind
  4. Positive Symbol. Plain and Simple 
Hat Style:
    Trucker/6 panel, flat brim, medium panel.
When this all came together, we were able to meet Tanner, we filmed his story, and we got the hats completed (even for those of us who had the vision of what Stele could be) our minds were really opened to what Stele could come to represent. 
Through my years of wearing hats, I’ve made connections with complete strangers because at the time I happened to be wearing a Dodgers or Yankees or Red Sox hat. I wore the hat cause I liked the look. They wore the hat because that was their team. It represented them. 
So what if we could only create a community where the hats we wear reflect the moments that have shaped our lives. Moments that have helped us to make our mark. 
That is the dream of Stele. For each customer to join our “neighborhood”. To make their own mark. Then when two complete strangers find themselves crossing paths and both are wearing a Break the Stigma hat, there will be an immediate connection. 
One that says you and I are on the same team.
Tanner’s story helps us get one step closer to that world we at Stele are dreaming of. 
See the hat and watch the full story at