American Mule is proud to feature and sponsor Danielle Yox for her upcoming National Strongman Competition. She is the definition of a hard-working American Mule. Find her on Instagram @danielle.yox and give her some support from AZ!
Featured American Mule. Mr. March 2017: Austan Found.Read More
We are picking it back up with a very special Featured American Mule. We have found “The Mule Spirit Within” with our Miss February 2017. Meet Andrea Holland!
Her name is Andrea but she is known mostly by her friends and close community as Drea. She traded in rainy days in Portland, Oregon and now resides in sunny Arizona which we often call "The Copper State." When Drea is not spending time as an involved mother of two active boys, she works as a personal trainer and Specialist in Sports Nutrition helping others reach their personal fitness goals. She told us her favorite activities besides spending quality time with her two boys are hiking and “talking walks.”
We were impressed with Drea's vibrant and uplifting personality shown through her social media account on Instagram. We asked her why she believes people may be attracted to her talents or what she has to say online. She said, “I am still building my following and trying to find my voice here on social media, but I believe people are attracted to my talents because I don't hide my struggles. People can relate to the things I go through. I believe we find strength in struggle and we overcome to help guide others through. So I love being there for and helping others find their way!” Drea is one hard-working “mule-motha” with the desire and heart to put others first before herself. She believes in the importance of being a physically strong individual in order to help others. She inspires us because she puts in the work both in and out of the fitness room to show for it.
We asked Drea, “How did you get to where you are and what has made you successful in business and in your life?” She responded with, “My faith and personal relationship with Christ is the reason for any and all of my success. I grew up 3rd in a family of 11 children, so finding my place has always been tough. I moved out at 15 and worked while completing school. I am newly divorced and again finding my way. My desire to provide for my children and hope for them to see me successful drives me to do my best each day.” She is also inspired by her father who worked hard daily to provide for the family. Drea believes life is a gift and chooses to not let a single day be taken for granted.
Drea believes the American Dream exists more in society today than ever before. She believes there are opportunities all around to create your own life and future path. She tells us that the bare bones interpretation of the “American Dream” is the ability to dictate your own future and live however you choose. Drea also tells us that one way to head in a positive direct towards your goals may be to surround yourself daily with people who have-your-back! She suggests finding people who believe in your silliest, off-the-wall ideas and who love and support you no matter what.
We asked her what future plans she is working towards. She said, “I plan to compete in bodybuilding in attempt to become a pro. I am blessed with a coach who sees potential in me and I hope to use that as a podium to help others transform their lives and reach their health and wellness goals.”
To follow Drea’s hard-working American Mule journey, be sure to follow her @drea.hollandfitness on Instagram and “Andrea Holland” on Facebook
WE HAVE FOUND "THE MULE SPIRIT WITHIN" FROM A MUSICIAN WORKING IN THE COPPER STATE, USA.
This month's featured mule is all about pure mule stubbornness with a determination to never give up.
Born in Phoenix, musician and lead singer Cori Rios puts in the hard-work for the kind of life he desires. Watching a performance by Rios, one may think it's all fun and games to be the lead singer of an original music group. Afterall, Rios and his group- The Hour Glass Cats can 'bring the house down' with an upbeat party for hours. Rios wants to set the record straight by telling us that he has been working relentlessly for over five years to get to the point he is now.
As a working musician who receives regular compensation for his work with the band as well as his solo work, Rios wants to inspire new musicians to never give up. Claiming to be a musician is one thing... getting paid on a regular basis for being a musician is another. Rios tells us: "I'm a working musician. I play a lot of Corporate events, weddings, restaurants and hotels to fund my musical addiction. I occasionally work as a server when I need the extra cash flow. I'm an avid adventurer. I travel as much as possible and like to get my nature on. Snowboarding, Skateboarding, Hiking, Gardening, Camping are some of my favorite activities outside of music." Rios firmly believes that stubbornness has helped him. "If you want to be a musician, or even an entrepreneur , you kind of have to be stubborn. Lots of people would normally give up after years and years of things not working out or not getting the appreciation you think you deserve. Stubborn people will not give up. It's in their blood."
When taking a break from weekly gigs, Rios is inspired daily by nature and the outdoors. "Going on a hike and finding a giant tree or a saguaro growing on the edge of a mountain cliff with no stability has always reminded me that things can be hard but you can't let that affect you." He also leans on his friends and family and says they are the most supportive people in the world.
Rios has a different view of the "American Dream" driven by the idea that a person's happiness in life is more important than the level of their income. He believes happiness and the "American Dream" go hand-in-hand and that the dream should not be defined or measured by a person's bank account.
Rios was asked to give us some words of advice to pass along to people that may be starting out with a passion for music. "Don't give up. Don't work that desk job that you hate. If you want to work a desk job, cool then love what you do. It's never going to be easy, in fact like 90% of it is really hard and not that fun. It's that 10% though that makes it all worth it. Also, Don't choose a career based off of what others want you to do. You will never be happy. Do what YOU want to do. Even if you end up old and broke you will be a happier person than the one who never did what it is they wanted to do."
This year Rios plans to release his first full-length album with The Hour Glass Cats as well as a full-length album as a solo artist. He tells us that he plans to get on the road to promote his music nationally during the hot summer months. At American Mule, we wish Cori Rios and his band great success. Be sure to follow Rios and his music to catch him performing in a town near you this summer.
We have found the “Mule Spirit Within” from a hard-working American business owner working in Saginaw, Michigan.
This Featured American Mule is all about pure mule determination that resonates note for note when you hear the strum of one of his resonator guitars. Meet Matt Eich of Mule Resophonic Guitars.
Originally from Alama, MI, Eich builds steel and brass body resonator electric guitars for well known talent and famous musicians from all over. These guitars are unlike anything we have seen or heard before at American Mule. They amplify deep sounding weeps of astonishing character with the strike of a slide. The unique sound from Eich’s resonator guitars speak loud and clear for the hard-working American business owner. You can literally hear the talent and determination that went into creating each unique piece.
Words from Matt Eich:
“I build steel and brass body resonator and electric guitars. Resonator guitars were developed in the 1930's. This was before amplifiers and the John Dopyera and George Beauchamp came up with this design to give guitar players more volume. They eventually split into the National guitar company and Dobro guitars, and from what I understand went out of business. Because of that the resonator guitar remained unchanged since that time. Here at Mule, I'm trying to do the resonator guitar a bit differently. Instead of thinking of it as a totally different instrument, I use what I know about building normal wood body acoustic guitars to building these.”
Eich took over the Mule Resophoinic Guitar store and has built it to a flourishing and profitable success with shops all across the United States. We are thrilled to feature his story of small business growth as an inspiration to new entrepreneurs starting out in the U.S.
We asked Eich, “How long did it take for you to build a following and why do you believe people are attracted to your talents or what you have to say?”
“I went to a guitar making school in 2003. I graduated and didn't really feel like I was capable of building guitars in anything other than a hobby capacity. I wandered around a bit afterwards and ended up in Virginia at Huss and Dalton Guitars, which is where I learned just about everything I know about building quality instruments. I left there for Chicago because life happened. I was back to working in a warehouse, something I had done for about 5 years cumulatively up to that point. I lost my job during the recession. Now what? I ended up going to see Kelly Joe Phelps play and he was playing a resonator. I left wondering if I could make one, but instead of the typical chrome or powdercoat make it look like the natural steel. It wasn't a business idea. It took me a full year to build the first four, after making a ton of scrap. Ran out of money and went back to factory. Worked there for two weeks and got 12 orders, then 20, then 40 ... I've been running Mule for about four years now. I think people feel connected with my work because that sort of story is more universal than we are led to believe by most craftsmen. We are just as susceptible to hyping ourselves as anyone, even though we like to believe we aren't. I don't try to convince anyone that my guitars can do something others can't, I don't use precisely crafted sentences, or try to convey to people that I was born to do this and am part of some elite club of tradesmen that have achieved perfection. I just build them. They are what they are. I love the act of the work. It's been brutally hard and awesome.”
Matt doesn’t try to embellish or sugar coat his skills with some cliché pitch stating that he was born to do this or that he is spiritually connected to building these amazing guitars. He simply builds them and he trusts his knowledge and skills to build a guitar that is long-lasting and strong. This is the attitude that has made it easy for him to achieve successful results in his journey.
Matt believes you can climb any wall as long as you stack up enough work. We can all agree that this is elemental for success and it should inspire us to move forward and persevere.
In his Fall months of free time, Matt enjoys coaching JV football and encouraging the youth in his local community.
We asked, “What inspires you? How do you keep moving forward when the going gets tough?”
Response from Eich:
Inspiration is something I try to stay tempered about. For most when they talk about inspiration it comes from an outside source- someone else, a positive experience, a hope. I'm a professional which, for me, means I'm not driven by that kind of inspiration. If I was, how's my work going to be when it doesn't show up at 7 am? When I want to quit? When something outside my control dumps on my parade? I'm driven by the 'just keep showing up.' I've seen the real effect that has- four years ago I didn't even have a resonator guitar, and now we are finishing up our 205th guitar. When I see someone play one of these guitars and they go into their little zone of listening and hearing new things... there isn't really a word for it. Thats one of those positive moments that remind me theres a bigger picture here than employment taxes and sanding guitar necks. It's not about buying 'things', they aren't objects. It's about people, and the shared experience.”
To Matt, the definition of the American Dream is to have a life that is self-determined. The dream is about being able to do what you love and being able to avoid falling in the category of the individual that does what is “safer” to do even when that is no longer a certainty. At American Mule, we certainly agree with that, don’t you?
Matt Eich plans to continue making more Mule guitars in the future and believes that it works because it’s a very straightforward job. He is excited to see what the future brings and so are we! Cheers Matt! We hope to jam on a backyard porch one day with you while sipping a cold one from our American made copper mugs!
The best way to keep up to date on his shop happenings is on instagram @muleresonatorguitars Main site http://muleresophonic.com
FEATURES CRAFTED IN COLLABORATION WITH:
Our September feature has arrived! Meet Carli Weber. Carli is from Dubuque, Iowa and currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. We discovered her on Instagram and we were dazed by her breathtaking photos.
A note from Carli:
This was the year (2016) when I started posting pictures of my adventures on Instagram. I love being outdoors.
I hike. I rock climb. I camp.
I’m always looking for the next place to explore. Shortly after posting some photos, people started reaching out to me and asking for hiking recommendations. They said that my pictures inspired them to start or get back into hiking and climbing. Others were inspired just to get outside and experience what’s around them. I was floored by the positive effects of these pictures. It opened my eyes to see all of the people who just need a little boost or advice to have the confidence to get out in the world and explore.
Like many others, I wanted so badly to learn how to climb, but I didn’t have anyone to go with. I started reaching out to other female climbers on Instagram and would ask them how they got started. I kept making new contacts and started surrounding myself with people who were doing the same things that I wanted to be doing. I was way outside of my comfort zone. But, I knew that I needed to conquer my fears. I had a fear of reaching out to other climbers and I feared that I would be embarrassed by my skills, wondering if they weren’t as good as the others.
I lost one of my best friends, Sam, to cancer over 2 years ago. After I started climbing, I found out that Sam tried getting into climbing too. He had purchased a bunch of gear and he was a natural. His biggest challenge was the same challenge that I was faced with. I was told that Sam didn’t have people to climb with, so he didn’t pursue his passion beyond the way he wanted to.
I often think about how lucky I am to be able-bodied and able-minded. When Sam was sick, he wanted to be out living, but he just couldn’t. I was given Sam’s chalk bag and lo and behold it still had chalk in it from the last time he climbed. Call it a coincidence or meant to be that I could carry on his dream. I had lost my chalk bag on my first outdoor climb. His chalk bag replaced my own. I love having something of Sam’s to take with me on every climb. It’s almost as if he gets to explore all of the cool places that he wasn’t able to see. It’s a constant reminder of how blessed I am to be able to go on so many adventures.
I’m reminded that there are people like Sam, who just need a little help and a boost of confidence to get out there and do it. We’re all hard on ourselves and it’s easy to talk ourselves out of experiencing the wonders of life. You’re not too old, too young, too big, too small or too out of shape. I want to encourage people like you to stay true to yourself and to surround yourself with people who push you and not pull. To continue being you and do what makes you feel alive! Never quit and keep pushing yourself regardless of what everyone else is doing.
As for me, I plan to continue experiencing, growing and learning. I want to keep being inspired and continue to live a life that inspires others. If I ever have a day where I’m tempted to pass up an opportunity for no good reason, I remember how lucky I am to have the opportunities presented to me. I’ve let too many days go by where I didn’t do anything to better myself or someone around me.
NEVER. QUIT. DREAMING.
I am proud to call myself an American. I’m fortunate to have the life that I do. As Americans, we are lucky to have freedom to have our own dreams and explore them. Don’t let anyone discourage you from not chasing your dreams and be willing to let your dreams evolve as you grow and experience more of life. Make yourself proud and give your future something to smile about.
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It all began with a customary round of whiskey shots, chased by most party-goers with the well-known “shot face”. That’s when we knew the world needed something better. A lot better.
JD and Chris grew up together near Montclair New Jersey and were conjuring up big ideas at a young age. JD’s Dad started multiple businesses in pharmaceutical branding and put the entrepreneurial bug in JD since his first lemonade stand in elementary school. JD’s mom, as he describes her, has always been the backbone and support system since he was born and she’s arguably the nicest person in the world (ask anyone).
Chris’ mom worked her way to the top of the beauty industry all while raising three boys as a single mother. His stepfather dropped out of high school at the age of 15 to start his own company, which is now one of the largest fruit distribution companies in the tristate area.
Needless to say, Chris and JD have entrepreneurship and business in their blood.
That “shot” night, JD and Chris started visualizing what would become Misunderstood Whiskey Co. Not entirely new to business, they knew what they were up against and were ready for a challenge. They both have had many experiences, from the world of finance all the way to launching start-up companies. Misunderstood Whiskey Co. has been a consistent and steady focus for them and a full time job.
The company has been developing for the past 3 years and they are going strong. Their goal is to be different, relatable and bring something new and refreshing to the market. They hope to create something that is unique, fun, quirky, and something that still pays tribute to whiskey heritage. Their tagline “Craft Your Legend” proudly embodies the American Dream. It emphasizes empowerment, individuality and action.
“Our parents taught us that life is what you make it. Success is earned, not given and the best things come from hard work and sometimes even initial failures. The most amazing part of the American Dream is that everyone has their own definition. To us, it’s about leaving your mark. How will you be remembered? And empowering individuals to make the lifestyle they want and having the freedom to chase your dreams.” – JD & Chris
In their three-year journey of development, JD & Chris have learned to:
1. Be adaptive. This helps navigate circumstances out of your control, and open your mind to new ideas.
2. Put the product above all else - because if you have limited time and resources, then you better hope the product can speak for itself.
3. Hustle your face off - we would never get to this point without hard work (and we have a lot more to go). We realize this brand can’t be successful without a lot of hustle and boots on the ground. Work ethic shows in everything we do. People appreciate that more than anything.
Misunderstood Whiskey Co. has been getting a lot word on the street. People from all around the world are showing them love, which keeps them motivated and thankful. They’ve put so much work into perfecting their product that we know their hard work will pay off. Their vision for the brand is exciting and we look forward to seeing it on the market Fall of 2016!
As for JD and Chris’ words of advice for young Americans who have big dreams and are just starting out …
Give it a go – and don’t listen to anyone who doubts you. If it’s not fun - DON’T DO IT. If you see an opportunity, then run with it. Always surround yourself with good people that have similar goals and aspirations - especially people that are smarter than you. These people will keep you motivated and driven, give you new ideas, and will help build your network. Lastly - don’t take people for granted. You never know who’s going to step up when you need it most.
JD & Chris are avid dog lovers. Chris is a “wannabe” world traveler who plays guitar in his free time. JD loves to ski, fish, and cook… when he’s not eating. JD currently lives in Manhattan and Chris resides in New Jersey. You can find them online at www.misunderstoodwhiskey.com and on Instagram @misunderstoodwhiskey
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When I was 15 years old, I experienced a life threatening accident. I was on a family vacation at Lake Powell in Arizona. I had helped my family make a zipline and we all thought it was going to be a lot of fun. While riding it, my hands slipped and I fell almost 30 feet- shattering my lower body and breaking 17 bones in 30 different places. I had three compound fractures where multiple bones had exploded out of my ankles and legs when I hit the ground and made impact.
I was told at the hospital that my right ankle may need to be amputated and that I would probably never walk again. I spent many long and devastating months in bed, followed by multiple surgeries and three years of intense physical therapy.
Through all of the pain, I knew that I had to take control of my dominating thoughts and strengthen what I knew that I believed. I believed that I could walk again. I believed that I could use my experience to dig deep and set daily goals. Quitting was never an option.
Sure enough, I painfully learned to walk again and eventually, I was able to re-learn everything that I did before my accident. I even took up several new hobbies like wakeboarding and downhill skiing.
Today, I am business owner, a husband and a father of 3 awesome kids. I own Lifetime Leather Company and operate it full-time alongside my beautiful wife Shaina and 7 hard-working USA employees. When “things” start to feel hard, I look back on that experience that I had. Overcoming that hard trial and learning to walk again makes almost everything else manageable, including going after my dreams.
I believe in the American Dream and that it’s alive and well! As an American, I feel like it’s my duty to support and contribute to that great dream. I believe that it’s a state of mind and a belief that calls to all souls who yearn to be free. It’s an idea that any race or creed who desires greatness can partake in the abounding wealth and opportunities that reside freely within this great nation. Through hard work, integrity and determination, you can create and build your dreams no matter how big or impossible they may seem to others.
As for my words of advice, for any young Americans who have big dreams and are just starting out ….
1. Write your top ten goals down everyday.
2. Write them before you go to sleep and read them first thing when you wake up.
3. Carry your goals around with you and review them often throughout the day.
4. Grasp into your mind that no one is smarter or better than you. I believe that every person born into this life is born with the same level of intelligence and that it’s actually our own limiting beliefs and self that holds us back from accomplishing our dreams.
5. Be fearless and don’t be afraid to look stupid, try new things and roll with the punches.
6. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Imagine that every failure comes to you with a greater lesson- one that could make all the difference.
7. Don’t be afraid of being you! There has never been nor ever will be another you with your talents and abilities. Follow your dream. It’s yours. You came into this life with it and the desire to accomplish it.
8. Trust your intuition.
There was once a man who dreamed of diamonds. He diligently dug for them everyday on his claim. Finally, years later, with no results, he became frustrated and overwhelmed with doubt. So, he quit and sold his claim for pennies. the man he sold his claim to discovered one of the biggest diamond cashes ever found under a mere 3 feet of soft soil in the very pit he dug for years. He came so close to the finish line, only to quit. The lesson here…don’t quit! You never know when you’re 3 feet away from diamonds. The true champions in life are those who learn the ability to endure. -Ty Bowman
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We are featuring talent made right here in The Copper State. Hannah Lopez is only 19 years old but you would never be able to tell when listening to her mature vocal tone along with her bold strumming on the acoustic guitar.
Lopez is one hard working Mule. She performs out numerous nights weekly overcoming the grind of local musical exposure with a diverse blend of covers and groovy originals. She not only sings....she entertains a crowd with her fun and engaging rock style and presence. You will find Lopez jamming in Scottsdale, Phoenix, and as far south as Chandler. She most often performs solo on acoustic guitar but she does have a full band for supporting a louder arena rock sound when needed.
With many bright years ahead, we expect big things from Hannah Lopez here in The Copper State and beyond. You can find some of her sounds on her main site. Be sure to find her on Facebook or Instagram for her next gig. Chances are you will find yourself singing along.