Interview: Annie Anzaldua
Can you start by telling the readers a little about yourself?
Hi, my name is Annie Anzaldua and I am the CEO & Founder of The F Word Gift Shop (an online feminist retailer) and the Co-Founder of Gloria Collective (a brick and mortar collective and co working space for female makers based in Austin, TX.) I currently live in Austin with my Husband Antonio, our two rescue cats Winston and Bighead, and our pitbull rescue Yolonda. I am also a vegan and a zero waste lifestyle advocate.
You are the founder of the F Word Gift Shop. Can you tell me a little big about your store and why you started it?
So, in 2016 I had just left working corporate design for Abercrombie in Fitch (a job that literally sucked my soul out). I was so angry about so many things, a lot of them personal and family related, but mostly about the election results. I had always known I wanted to be a fashion designer, but I despised the idea of having to work for another corrupt and racist corporation so for the first time in my life I felt lost, I guess? So I decided to throw myself a Pity Party – literally. I hosted this big fundraiser for Planned Parenthood at a local bar I loved called the Pity Party where everyone came in PJ’s and ate ice cream and pizza. To help make more money at the event I decided to make custom shirts. The event was a really big success and I got to donate a few thousand dollars in Mike Pence’s name which was great. After that friends starting asking if they could still buy the shirts and somehow the idea just clicked to start doing this for a living.
What factored into your decision to give part of your profits to Planned Parenthood?
Mostly just my personal experiences with Planned Parenthood. They were always where I went to get cancer screenings and regular check ups when I was in college in San Francisco and to be honest I didn’t even know that people were so enraged by them until I moved to Ohio. Now, living in Texas I see so many people trying to defund something that provides a basic need for lower income people and it just rubs me the wrong way. I wanted to do more than my little monthly donations—and getting to put them in Pence and Trump’s names is just icing on the cake!
What has been the hardest part about running your own business? The most rewarding?
I think the hardest part about any entrepreneurial endeavor is just knowing what to do next. At a normal job someone tells you “hey these are the most important projects, when you’re done with that do this next thing,” but when you are doing your own thing there is no right answer. Should I use this revenue to buy a new printer or hire an intern? Should I do this big event or several smaller ones? There isn’t a real answer to any of it so that can really get my anxiety going.
As for the most rewarding part, I’d say seeing my product randomly in real life! Like sometimes I see my shirts on people at protests, or people post about wearing them cool places like the Louvre and that feels awesome. And also having total freedom over my day is amazing. When I worked corporate I had to get EVERYTHING approved and most of the time they’d say no. It felt like being in high school and asking permission to use the bathroom. Now if I wake up anxious I can go do yoga and just be late to work!
Do you have any advice for other female entrepreneurs?
Just when you think you are ready to give up is when the magic happens. I swear, I have seen it happen with a few friends and I felt it myself. Also, I HIGHLY recommend getting an accountant.
We are never really done growing up. What do you hope to do in the future?
I love this question so much. I actually have some top-secret projects under my belt, but what I can say is that I really love writing and while I have published a few essays for Bust, I would love to become a real author and publish a book one day!
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Can I say anxiety? Haha, no but in all seriousness I am normally really happy to go to work because I am usually making art or painting things…just doing things that I would want be doing anyways, but I get paid to do it which is amazing!
Do you have advice for girls growing up today?
Oh boy, I would say to have a really strong understanding that what you see on social media isn’t real? I grew up before Instagram was everywhere and I know the impact it can have on my self esteem as a successful adult woman, I can only imagine the damage it could do to these young girls who see it from 3rd grade on. Also, just live your life and ignore men, not like in a sassy way, just don’t let the weight of men’s opinions alter the choices you make.
Do you have any female figures that you look up to? (real or fiction)
I think Leslie Knope is my go to girl for inspiration, I love her character so much and relate to her a lot. Mainly I think I look up to the people that I have surrounded myself with here in Austin. I have so many talented friends that keep me going!
Why do you think it is important to tell our stories?
I think for centuries the erasure of women and their accomplishments from history has been manmade and it is a vicious cycle because now men’s excuse for not letting women into important roles is that we have no track record of succeeding in those roles. I think allowing women’s spaces to share our stories and essentially remind the world that we are people with experiences and feelings is good for everyone.
What is something in life that you are most proud of?
Professionally- probably my newest endeavor Gloria Collective! It is a 1500 sq ft maker’s collective that sells products, but also functions as a community space for workshops and events!
Personally- I ran my first marathon last year and I am training for a second one this summer!
Do you have a favorite:
a. Book: A picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde.
b.Band/Song/Music Genre: Mexican Dogs by Cold War Kids (they are awesome feminists and I have some of their lyrics tattooed on my ribs!)
c. Quote: “Don’t dig up in doubt, what you planted in Faith” Elizabeth Elliot
What is your life motto?
Don’t think about it too long. Seriously, the longer you let your wheels turn and stress, the less likely you are to do things. I married my husband at nineteen because I knew he was perfect and I was right, even though people kept trying to talk me out of it. I’ve had this kind of thing happen all the time and I’ve just recently realized that the worriers of the world are not smarter than me, as I had previously thought, just more afraid!