Every time an arena blasts “This Girl Is on Fire” by Alicia Keys as Heather “The Heat” Hardy makes her entrance I get chills and tears.   I’m going to ask that you set aside whatever preconceived notions you have about boxing, women in combat sports, etc. and read why.

I get that boxing and MMA aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.   They’re violent; participants get hurt.   That’s true.   And it’s also true for a litany of other sports, but I digress.   So I baited you into reading this post with a more “socially acceptable” illustration of her on our homepage rather than leading with the below victory shot.  If you know me, you know it pains me to conform to social norms like this, but I wanted to reach a bigger audience than usual, so humor me please.

MMA: Bellator NYC-Hardy vs Yauger
Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Heather Hardy (red gloves) reacts to fight against Alice Yauger (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve been following JLEW and reading our posts, you’ll notice there’s a fierce undercurrent that runs through the brand focused on empowering women and embracing contrasts: strong + pretty, smart + fun, #GirlsWithGuts.    People seem to remain confused about how it all comes together so we figured what better time to explain than now when Heather is front and center (along with that JLEW logo on her chest) across so many media outlets from The New York Post to The Wall Street Journal.

At least twice a day people bark: “You’re crazy if you think you can champion female fighters and think that will help drive sales for high end bags!”  Why, I ask?  “Fighters can’t afford your bags and women who can don’t have anything to do with fighting.”   I see two issues with this statement: 1) Why don’t these fighters get the pay they deserve which would indeed allow them to afford these bags? and 2) Women have EVERYTHING to do with fighting.

Ever have a goal . . . have someone tell you you can’t achieve it . . . and persevere despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles?  

That’s what fighters do.  And moms.  And entrepreneurs.  And students.  And divorcees.  And . . .  I’m willing to bet if you’re reading this that that’s YOU too.  Watch this snippet from the post-fight press conference and try not to see the connection.  Imagine day after day, year after year, fight after fight, persevering WITHOUT getting your fair shake and NOT getting bitter . . . and how incredible it would feel to get not only the win, but also the recognition and respect you worked SO HARD to earn.  I’m pretty sure she got the attention of the promoters last night too!

We hope you’ll fall in love with Heather as passionately as she’s fallen in love with this sport she pursued as a “backup plan” because despite having an undefeated record of 20-0 in boxing, she wasn’t getting paid enough to make ends meet.

We’re so happy to see Heather so happy!   She’s a single mother, a survivor, a beautiful person inside and out . . . oh, yeah, and she’s a fighter.  An amazing one at that, look here.  If you don’t appreciate the qualities she represents (loyalty, determination, dedication, perseverance, helping others, integrity, confidence, passion and patience) that’s okay, but we do and we will keep up our fight to support amazing women doing great things.

Do you get it now?  JLEW makes BIG bags that help women like Heather pursuing HUGE dreams get through their day a little easier.  They’re worth the investment and so are you.