How Hustle Clean Scores Big in the Booming Personal Care Sector
Justin Forsett, a former Pro Bowl running back for the Baltimore Ravens, is a prime example of a high-achieving athlete who has leveraged his prowess from the gridiron to the business arena.
After nine years in the NFL, Forsett officially traded in his cleats to become a full-time entrepreneur in 2017. Today, he runs the Fresno, Texas-based small business Hustle Clean, a personal hygiene company that produces and sells body wipes and eco-friendly mineral bath soaps, among other products. “They are sold to both men and women who are runners, gym goers, campers, hikers, and anyone on an adventure,” says the athlete entrepreneur.
At only 5’ 8” and 195 pounds, Forsett was not the usual hulking pro football player. However, his eagerness and competitiveness made up for his size. He would train three times daily but often didn’t have time to shower between workouts. “We were always taught to produce results at all costs, and that led to burnout, anxiety, depression, and bad hygiene practices within our community.”
But after observing name-brand products for hydration, apparel, and supplementation in the locker room, he focused on the need for an anti-bacterial body wipe to meet the personal hygiene and self-care needs of everyday athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Carving a niche in the self-care space
Filling that void led to Hustle Clean. He initially launched the company in 2014 as ShowerPill by Forsett, partnering with Wale Forrester and Wendell Hunter, his University of California – Berkley football teammates. However, Forsett says he found the ShowerPill name limiting and re-branded the business as Hustle Clean in 2020. His goal: Develop a line of convenient, time-saving products and find a niche for the company in the $87 billion personal care industry. “We took a deep look into our mission and our core customers and decided the name Hustle Clean provided us with the opportunity to gain experience and serve our community more authentically.”
Now, Forsett is CEO, while Forrester serves as president of the enterprise. (Forsett says Hunter is no longer active in the business.)
Launching a charity to provide young athletes with resources
Giving back to the community is a large part of Hustle Clean’s focus. Forsett says its global Shower2ThePeople campaign supplies products to communities hit by natural disasters and without clean water, like those in Flint, Michigan, Ukraine, Puerto Rico, and Haiti.
In 2021, Hustle Clean launched Free Play, a charity that provides resources for youth athletes priced out of competition. “We have helped kids all over the country participate in sports they love by providing scholarships so they can travel, register, or have the equipment they need to play sports because we don’t believe money should be a barrier for youth sports.”
Overcoming challenges and focusing on growing the business
It was no easy feat for Forsett to make it to the goalpost with the launch of Hustle Clean. Forsett says educating consumers were among the greatest challenges. “We spent a lot of time, energy, and resources on making sure our end users could truly see the value we were offering them.”
Another obstacle came in 2018 when Hustle Clean pitched its product line on Shark Tank but failed to gain even a nibble from the panel of investors. Forsett admitted it was very tough being rejected on national TV, but he and his team used the experience as a motivational tool.
“We took ownership of things that weren’t our strengths and had some realignment within the business,” he says. “At the end of the day, we view that moment as an inflection point for Hustle Clean because even though we didn’t get a deal, the show gave us great exposure. and refined how we operated.”
Most notably, Forsett leveraged his career with the Seattle Seahawks and the Ravens to get the venture off the ground. Early on, he also used access to media to build exposure and brand awareness, while. And his background helped with raising capital by allowing him to make more pitches than not. So far, he has raised $1 million from former and active NFL players, including Ronnie Lott, Steve Smith Sr., Kyle Juszczyk, Jonathan Stewart, Cliff Avril, and Prince Amukamara – all of whom are partners in the firm.
Now, his products are sold throughout Amazon’s store and at several big-box stores. Forsett says the business has generated more than $4 million in revenue over the past two and a half years. Asserts Forsett: “We’ve been able to grow with extreme focus, strategically expanding our product offering and successful partnerships.”
Collaborating with Amazon to boost customers and revenue
The athlete-cum-entrepreneur says Hustle Clean has developed a long-term partnership with Amazon since 2012, which included doing preliminary research before launching his business two years later. And he says next steps include product line expansion and using Amazon to gain access to potentially millions of new customers it might not otherwise have reached in a cost-efficient way.
He also maintains that Amazon has given Hustle Clean a competitive advantage with the recognition of being among the top brands in its category. “That has been a game changer because it allows us to stand out among other brands and helps increase our revenue,” Forsett says.
So what is Forsett’s revenue forecast for the business within the next five years? “I would love to see Hustle Clean as a 9-figure revenue business,” he says. “I believe we will get there by increasing distribution and staying obsessed with our customers.”