Trauma from a brain injury after an auto accident last fall left Joy Broils downshifting her Type A personality and ambitious drive to a few hours of work each day, the entrepreneur said.
The incident, however, prompted her to slow down and focus on a new startup idea: Hustle & Ground, a monthly subscription box service.
On the go, time to slow
Broils initially found it difficult to switch to a slower-paced lifestyle. She wondered what to do with the other working hours of her day.
“I tried different things to ground, rest, and unwind. It occurred to me how many people that I meet on a daily basis who have a similar approach to life,” Broils said.
She’s long been devoted to a hustle lifestyle.
Earlier in life, Broils ceased practicing law as a corporate attorney in Atlanta after deciding to stay home with her first child. She launched an online retail business and led a busy life as a mother and entrepreneur. Broils operated that business until her children were school age. Her work life involved leaving one meeting early to attend another meeting, scheduling multiple events with conflicting schedules, and allowing no time to pause.
The recent auto accident created an opportunity to reevaluate and reset her life.
“As I was recovering and going through concussion treatment, I had a clear vision and purpose of what I needed to do,” said Broils. “Conversations with close friends and new acquaintances resulted in recurring themes.”
She discovered other people like her who needed to slow down, based on feedback from friends, significant others, or doctors, she said. Many people turned to medicine to cope with increased anxiety, stress, feelings of being overwhelmed, burnout from constant activity, hopelessness, and not knowing what to do next.
In response, Broils developed Hustle & Ground as a subscription box and gift boxes containing local products intended to induce balance.
“Each of the products in the Hustle & Ground line either focuses on the hustle side or the ground side of life,” she said. “I respect the hustle, the on-the-go approach to life, and I still like to be busy.”
Nudging people to adjust their behavior is another intention.
“One of the purposes of Hustle & Ground is to encourage people, who are seeking harmony and ways to unwind, to explore different activities,” she said. “By making a few small tweaks, say turning off notifications for a day, a person can see if that tweak makes a difference.”
Broils tweaked her personal and professional habits to not resume a full-time hustle lifestyle. She revised her meeting schedule, set her phone to vibrate, and turned off most notifications. Broils checks her email several times a day rather than immediately respond to a notification. She also consciously sets time aside to pause and unwind.
“My health and self-care are always on the top of my mind,” Broils said.
Miles Brown of Microline Design helped Broils develop the business name and branding after weeks of brainstorming sessions. She sought to have the business honor both the urge to hustle and the need to be grounded.
“I want people to embrace the on-the-go part of life,” Broils said. “The ‘Ground’ part of the name has multiple meanings – the activities a person does to unwind, rejuvenate, and be present. It also means to get in touch with nature, actually grounding yourself by being in touch with nature.”
She advises others to “give yourself permission to step away from technology for a weekend, turn your notifications off on your phone, and don’t check your email for the weekend.”
“When we were grounded as kids, or when we ground our kids now, it is always seen as a punishment,” Broils added. “The result of being grounded is a person who is more present in the moment and someone who finds a new activity to do.”
Time to unwind
The Pause subscription box is mailed to subscribers during the second week of the month. Products in the box change monthly and “are carefully curated to help you explore different ways to pause and unwind.” Subscribers who sign up before the 25th of the month will receive their first box during the second week of the following month. Every item in the Pause Box is a product from a local Kansas City area small business.
To offset the increasing cost of shipping, Broils is building relationships with local shops, such as new Westport boutique Becoming, to be a pick-up location for the Pause Box. Subscribers may opt to ship the Pause Box to their doorstep or visit a partner boutique to pick up their Box.
Themed gift boxes in development include an employee (or client) appreciation box, a self-care box, and a “Dude” Box. The boxes are available for single orders outside of the subscription model. Broils is also able to curate boxes for special orders.
Hustle & Ground partnered with Maps Coffee and Chocolate to develop a branded line of coffees available through the website. Visitors may also purchase a citrus lavender candle online. Broils plans on launching a tea line this summer.
As an entrepreneur, Broils is committed to working with her community. Earlier this year, Hustle & Ground donated 15 Pause Boxes to teachers in the Kansas City Public School District.
“You need to be active in the community rather than just being in the community,” Broils said. “We are just getting started. I look forward to what we can accomplish to give back to our community.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.