Entrepreneur Crush of the Week: Russ Hutto
Happy Wednesday all! I hope you had a great Easter weekend! Mine was spent traveling to see family - so worth it, as it was Emmerson’s first time hunting Easter Eggs!
Despite my lack of social media activity, I can assure you I am staying quite busy - so many projects in the future and I can’t wait to show them all off to you!
But for now, it’s time for me to roll out my weekly Entrepreneur Crush of the Week! I’m pretty excited to share this specific business venture (for so many reasons)!
Russ Hutto is a dear friend of several years (alongside his amazing wife, Lydia), old CrossFit buddy, and inspirational business-man. He started Marching Band is Awesome (MBIA) as a hobby Facebook page in 2014, as a way to unite teens with an affinity for all things marching band. As a member of his high school and college marching bands - a total of 8 years marching - I’d basically say he knows what he’s doing. That “hobby” page now has over 100,000 likes worldwide and is a full-fledged, successful business that sells uniquely and specially designed t-shirts, hoodies, and other goods exclusive to marching band! (But don't worry, if you are looking for something more specific, you can find apparel that represents winds, percussion, leadership, color guard, majorettes, dance line, and even parents/grandparents of marching band members. His top-seller? A tacky Christmas sweatshirt!) MBIA not only allows teens to fashionably express their love and pride for marching band, it is a social platform through which they can connect, show off their merchandise, exchange accomplishments and stories, and gain inspiration.
MBIA seems to be a movement, a gathering of souls who, like Russ, will always have some emotional stock in the art; he has taken his passion, shifted it from a hobby to a business (seemingly overnight, as I remember when MBIA was but a wee baby!) and has found a way to give back (thousands of dollars) to the community annually in the form of scholarships and charities, both organized and on a case-by-case basis. The main purpose? To promote and support music education.
Russ has accomplished one more (MAJOR) thing with MBIA: he has fulfilled his dream of writing through his Amazon best-seller, Because, the first book in a series about teen Rigby Raines, a talented musician who is faced with some harrowing decisions.
As an entrepreneur, there is MUCH to be taken from my friend, Russ. First, he honed in on a passion and found a way to monetize it. (HHEELLOO??? Every entrepreneur’s dream!) Second, there is a strong community that is the very foundation of his business. Though this community is genuine and not for the purpose of driving sells, emotion does drive sales and to say his audience, customers, and followers are emotionally committed is the understatement of the year. Every kid (and adult!) who purchases and flaunts MBIA commodities is proud to do so because it’s not just a group on social media - it’s a way of life. Finally, Russ has this lesson to share: “…a good idea at the right time also requires persistence to see it through to fruition.” There was never a truer statement. At times, most of us have been faced with the choice of giving up on our dreams but good things come to those who wait and I’d say Russ has got this whole entrepreneur-thing down. I am nothing short of honored he allowed me to feature him this week and I will continue to follow him closely - because I’m not done learning from this guy!
Connect with Marching Band is Awesome!
Be sure to keep an eye out for Russ' weekly Facebook and Instagram live-streams where he gives away free t-shirts and hoodies!! Also, Mother’s Day is coming up so check out his mommy-inspired tees!