Chase McAnulty is the founder and CEO of vintage T-shirt brand Charlie Hustle. He is a young and ambitious entrepreneur with a passion for vintage tees and textile design. He grew up collecting classic throwback sports and concert T-shirts while attending classes at the Kansas City Art Institute. After starting his first business at the age of 20, a T-shirt subculture and lifestyle blog, he quickly became interested in creating designs of his own influenced by the T-shirts he had come across over the years.
Linking up with his close friend Josh Riesgo, they launched Charlie Hustle in 2012, a refined version of their original business. Many of their designs derive from childhood experiences growing up in Kansas City. It's a collaboration between design elements of the past and an homage to their hometown culture. Their top-selling tee, the KC Heart design, seen throughout the city, wasn't even on the initial roster of T-shirts when they first launched, but it has quickly become a signature piece of their brand. Chase's most ambitious goal is to be a part of bringing back the Kings (NBA Basketball) to Kansas City.
What is it about KC that inspires creativity in you?
The collective spirit of our community. Kansas City is such a great hub for young entrepreneurs and small businesses, and it's something that is encouraged throughout our early education. As a vintage T-shirt company influenced by the stories built in history, where better to start than in a familiar place that we grew up in and experienced throughout our youth? Whether it was going to the Blades games as a kid or trading baseball cards with your friends, those memories from our childhood are what inspires our brand every day, and those were memories that spawned from growing up in Kansas City.
What is your favorite spot in Kansas City?
That's tough. I think it's important to continually explore what your city has to offer. Whether it's the next culinary concept, a hot new social club or a pop-up boutique, there are people willing to take risks on their own creativity and passions. That's what creates commerce and is the foundation of our city. In an effort to not cop out of the question, I'd say I'm very fond of the Westside North and Crossroads District, but home is out south. I enjoy new experiences daily and sharing them with the people that matter most to me.
Where's your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
Well, we just recently got back from San Francisco, and as a first-timer visiting, I must say it didn't take long to fall in love with the city. Being of an entrepreneurial mind, it oozes with techie startups and economic potential. I also feel that the secret to happiness is weather. I think it's vital to keeping your mind and body active and healthy and that can go along way for a young ambitious business owner. It's not too hot, it's not too cold.
What's your most treasured possession?
To no surprise, it's a vintage T-shirt. There's nothing better than finding a pristine, well-worn classic T-shirt that fits snug on the torso and has been well-preserved over the years. I have a deep obsession with vintage Nike gear, especially pre-Jordan era. My pride and joy is a simple heather grey blue tag (early 80s) T-shirt with the red Nike Swoosh across the front. I also own a life-size Bo Jackson stand-up from the BO KNOWS Nike campaign back in the day. It sits in my office and is a fun conversation piece when newcomers roll through.
Who's your favorite fictional hero?
This might seem like a strange answer, but I got to go with Fievel Mousekewitz from “An American Tale.” He was a resilient mouse, small in stature but had the heart of a lion, and no matter how many obstacles he faced on his journey, he pushed through and overcame them. I was never a big super hero guy growing up, so Fievel it is.
Who do you most admire in real-life?
My mother. For anybody that knows her, for anybody she has touched, knows what an amazing woman she is. She's been my main influence in life without question. Her understanding of people, her compassion and her will are qualities that I admire most. Much of my own personal talent and ability come from her, and her strength is unlike anybody else I know. If I could be like anybody or share similar qualities with someone, it's definitely my Momma.
When and where are you happiest?
On the golf course. It's a challenge, it's peace of mind and it's a getaway from personal and business matters, a time to focus on yourself and be clear-headed which is something that's hard to come by these days, but vital to mental health. Outside of that, a bottle of wine anywhere, anytime shared with the woman I enjoy most.