Like the best leaders, Patrice Hull gives her all in every role. “When I worked for corporate America, I did my job to the best of my ability, but I always wanted more,” she shared. “I always wanted to feel like I could make a difference and not just a paycheck.” The opportunity she longed for presented itself in an unexpected way—after being laid off for the third time in her career, Patrice decided to take her professional destiny into her own hands and founded Stuff We Wanna Say in 2012.
Stuff We Wanna Say (SWWS) is a clothing store for the outspoken: based in Atlanta’s historic Little Five Points shopping district, the store offers screen-printing and t-shirt design services for occasions big and small across the Southeast. In addition to a large collection of goods at affordable prices, SWWS carries Patrice’s custom-made Created2BeNoticed backpacks, whose smooth, eco-friendly leather and signature teardrop shape design are guaranteed to draw eyes from all who appreciate style.
What they don’t realize is, I haven’t really survived COVID-19. I’m silently suffering the aftermath of COVID-19. I reached out to everyone I knew, I applied, for every grant that came my way, and I took on extra jobs.
—Patrice Hull, owner of Stuff We Wanna Say
Having recently celebrated her 11th anniversary as a business owner, Patrice is rightfully proud of all she has accomplished—but it has not been without its struggles. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill, Stuff We Wanna Say was heavily impacted like many small businesses. With little revenue as people sought safety through social distancing, keeping business afloat was an unprecedented challenge for Patrice. “People often say how lucky I am to have survived COVID-19,” Patrice shared. “What they don’t realize is, I haven’t really survived COVID-19. I’m silently suffering the aftermath of COVID-19. I reached out to everyone I knew, I applied, for every grant that came my way, and I took on extra jobs.”
It wasn’t until March 2023 that she was introduced to the IRC in Atlanta’s Community Navigator Pilot Program—a two-year initiative to support up to 600 diverse small business owners across Georgia in recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic—and was connected to opportunities to protect her business financially. “Patrice engaged a Financial Coach to address her COVID-19 impacted credit health and actively participated in workshops and applied to grant opportunities,” shared Kendall Souders, Microenterprise Development Supervisor at the IRC in Atlanta. “Her remarkable resilience and determination to revitalize her business from the pandemic have been truly inspiring. Within just a few months, Patrice has made outstanding progress.”
I didn’t know where to start, I didn’t know how to find help. My business is stronger now that it has resources to choose from and counselors to talk to
—Patrice Hull, owner of Stuff We Wanna Say
Now being connected to the IRC in Atlanta, she says she is thankful for the access to resources she didn’t have when starting her business and recommends the CNPP program to other small business development organizations and entrepreneurs. “Eleven years ago, if I had more working capital and more business savviness, I probably would’ve been able to avoid some of the pitfalls. I didn’t know where to start, I didn’t know how to find help. My business is stronger now that it has resources to choose from and counselors to talk to.” And as a board member of Little Five Points Business Association, Patrice has dedicated herself to ensuring other small businesses in her community are supported through networking opportunities, organized events, marketing and promotion. “One of my biggest accomplishments is staying focused and relying on my fellow entrepreneurs to help me. Also giving back to the neighborhood that allowed me my start.”
With 11 years behind her, Patrice is optimistic for the next 10: “I see my business growing 10 times larger than it is today. I see my brand as being ubiquitous, known to more people than ever before. I see myself retiring from this business and leaving it to my nieces and nephews, as I don’t have children. I see this, as a way of life for someone with the same style and talent as myself.”
You can enjoy Patrice’s designs by visiting SWWS at 417 Moreland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 in Little Five Points. SWWS is open from 11:30am – 5:00pm on Thursday through Saturday, 11:30am – 4:00pm on Sunday, and available for online services from 9:00am – 5:00pm on all days of the week.
Are you a business owner or aspiring entrepreneur in Georgia? To learn more about the IRC in Atlanta's Microenterprise Development (MED) program, or to access our MED services, please contact [email protected].
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Senior Development Manager, Heloise Ahoure, at [email protected] or 678-636-8941.