Outfitting America’s Toughest Women

Similar to other businesses, the founding of TOUGHER came from frustrations I personally experienced. For women in professional trades or hardcore DIYers like myself, finding workwear that holds up to the abuses of hard physical labor is daunting. Despite the fact that women have been getting it done well before Rosie the Riveter, hard physical labor is still viewed as men’s work- leading to a chronic lack of focus on women as a consumer group among workwear brands.

Until now.


Beth getting it done on her organic farm. She wishes for better work pants that fit women.

Since enrolling last year in the Oregon MBA’s innovation/entrepreneurship track, significant strides have been made in launching our brand. Over 300 women have validated the need for a women’s workwear brand focused on comfortable workwear without the color pink or bedazzlement. TOUGHER was also selected as the regional winner and semi-finalist for the Small Business Administration’s InnovateHER Challenge. Lastly, our team comprised of Justin La Tempa (Finance, Class of 2016), Brawnson Adams (I/E, Class of 2016), and myself have been selected to compete in the 2016 Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge at the University of Louisville on February 13, 2016.

Starting an apparel brand has many moving parts and takes a special kind of crazy, as one of my advisers would say. However, it is the most alive and creative I have ever felt- hinting that we’re on the right path. Whenever I receive an email or grab coffee with a woman who is craving a better work pant or field shirt, like I am, it fuels me through any hardship experienced at the moment. After all, I founded TOUGHER not as a vanity brand unto myself, but to unite a community of women long ignored and inspire a new generation of young girls to get dirty, grow, build, and make.

Written by Stacey Edwards

Stacey will be graduating in June 2016 from the Oregon MBA's Innovation/Entrepreneurship track. Her past career experience include more than ten years of service in public health. She has successfully authored and passed local and state-level statutes, mentored more than 700 college students in professional development, taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Oregon State University and conducted assessment on client satisfaction and programmatic learning outcomes.