When 24-year-old Founder of Hanesie Clothes, Ellie Haney, was finishing college in the spring of 2020, the world as we all knew it, came to a grinding halt. Like many college students who lived through the Covid pandemic shutdown, Ellie had her fair share of disappointment as she mourned the loss of what was. But for Ellie, it wasn’t a simple pivot, it was much more than that. A mental health breakdown sent her on a downward spiral—one that fortunately became a mental health breakthrough, as she came out the other side and is now helping spread an important message. Here, she shares her story with the hope it will resonate with those who may be suffering in silence.
What was the impetus for starting Hanesie?
At the beginning of Covid, I was graduating from the University of Delaware. My boyfriend broke up with me, every exciting end of the year plan we had was canceled, “real life” was supposed to be starting, and I couldn’t handle it. I needed to find something to keep me going so I jumped on the tie dye trend and fell in love with the dying process. My creations soon became the reason why I got out of bed in the morning. I started selling on Instagram and to my surprise, people loved them. At the same time, I accepted a corporate job because I thought that’s what I was “supposed” to do. But the way I felt when I was creating my clothing was too overwhelming to just have as a hobby. I knew I was meant for something special. After a lot of brainstorming alongside my astounding team, we came out with our first line and donated 10% of our sales to a nonprofit for suicide prevention.
Why is it important to you to spread mental health awareness?
If someone told me six years ago that it was “okay” to not feel “okay”, my life would have looked very different, and I probably wouldn’t have struggled for so long. At least not in silence. I talked about mental health to my therapist, but not to my family or friends. If it was normalized for me, I would have not felt so scared, ashamed, and alone. I want to be real and stand in my truth so someone else feels empowered to ask for help.
What inspires you?
The people in my life. The love I receive from my community. The support to keep going, keep talking, and keep creating. The people that see our message and need it to get though the day but don’t have the courage to say that yet.
Tell us about your current collections “Here For You and “Lovehard”
Every line that we create is inspired by my personal life. The ideas come from within, and they are vulnerable, making the pieces ever so beautifully imperfect.
“Here For You” was our first collection about feeling that you’re not alone. When you see a stranger walking down the street in a hoodie, it’s proof that someone else is standing with you and you are part of our community.
Our “Lovehard” line is our vulnerable, unapologetic take on self-love. Our hope is that when you wear Lovehard you feel warmth, allowing it to spark your journey toward self-discovery, acceptance, and eventually love. On every lovehard piece there is a heart embroidered in a different place, proving that the love is literally on you, in you.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve overcome?
Asking for help when I needed it. I never considered medication because I never wanted people to think something was wrong with me. When I launched Hanesie, it gave hope and confidence. I started feeling more comfortable in my own skin and I started sharing and felt less alone. I was ready to ask for help. A few months ago, my doctor prescribed anti-anxiety medication and I finally feel like I’m starting to live. Nothing is close to perfect, but I feel brave, strong, and free.
Any words of wisdom for someone struggling?
I put my heart into this brand every day because I believe so strongly in the importance of mental health awareness. Help is necessary and life changing. We deserve to live and feel alive. Don’t hide in your head, find a platform, a community, or one person to confide in, even just a little bit.