Today we’d like to introduce you to Chad Hurst.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Chad. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
From an early, I remember stealing my grandma’s hand sewing machine and sister’s wigs in order to help create my visions. Even though they often ended up in failure, I had a desire to create fashion and make bold statements. My creativity and personal expression were lost, however, when I entered the foster care system. I struggled with finding my identity and lashed out when people didn’t understand my point of view. I began to imitate toxic masculine personality traits in order to protect myself but ultimately lost my true self. By senior year of high school, I had lived in 6 different foster/group homes and was ready to be free of the system. I didn’t begin to fully blossom until I came out of the closet a few years after that, because I no longer had to hide my true identity and my love of drag.
My first public performance was a freeing experience, but I quickly knew I had to work on my skills if I wanted to compete with the other girls. After getting my first sewing machine, I began to practice endlessly with outfits for myself and friends, which increased my techniques and gave me endless projects to attempt. After four years of drag and working as a customer/stage dresser, I felt comfortable quitting my day job in order to pursue a career as a full-time designer and creator. I never expected this hobby to turn into a business, but in just over two years half the girls in LA are wearing my costumes, hair, and pads.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest struggle I’ve encountered is having to create a business from the ground up by myself. I didn’t have someone to show me how to navigate myself through life so I have ultimately had to pick up the slack alone. While I have had some incredible help along the way, I often feel scared because the business’s success and failure ultimately fall on me. I didn’t have parents who could bail me out. It can feel daunting as a small business owner, but I like to use this fear as motivation to succeed. Even without a car, I make it work!
The Drag Stop – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Drag Stop specializes in costumes, wigs, and pads for Drag and Cosplay. We are known for braids you can whip around on stage and the Body Pod for quick hips! The Drag Stop does custom orders while also having sporadic auctions for my designs. I’m most proud of how far this business has come in the past two years. I never imagined when I started that I would be working with Rupaul Girls, Pop Icons or YouTube influencers. This whole journey has been a test of my creativity and I have loved every second of it. What sets me apart from others is my dedication to my craft despite the obstacles life has given me. I learned from an early age that it was my responsibility to make my dreams a reality and I have worked diligently to accomplish them since then. I live by the motto be better than yesterday so as long as I’m doing that then in my eyes, I’m succeeding.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Being successful to me means being able to support myself without the help of others. Not having a lot as a kid has shown me that material possessions do not bring success or joy. Instead, I try and focus on personal growth. I know I am being successful when I can look back in the past and see the ways I have changed from that point. This allows me to stay focused on my craft while not being distracted by shiny objects.