Meet Susie Moschkau, the CEO/Founder of Flip’em the Bird, whose products are featured in our December box. Now, if you’re a long-time member, this brand may sound familiar. That’s because we included their totally rad fingerless gloves in our FBC box way back in March 2019. Their stuff was such a hit, we couldn’t resist working with them again. Here’s the lowdown on this amazing brand.
What inspired you to create Flip’em the Bird? What is your villain origin story?
Picture it. It’s 2017. I am 39 years old and recently laid off. Bingeing Game of Thrones like nobody’s business. Thinking to myself: What the fuck happened? Rule follower Susie did what they told me! I got a job, got married, had kids, and bought a fierce picket fence. Yet here I am, still trying to figure it all out with a shitload of mouths to feed.
Ripe from a mid-life crisis and fresh out of Thrones, I watched Jim Carrey’s commencement speech at the Maharishi International University of Management. Who knew the guy that gave me the most significant punch line for talking out of my ass would also inspire me to get off that ass and create Flip’em the Bird?
With the help of one of my closest friends, Natalie Buckman (YogaBird, LLC), we brainstormed, prototyped, and purchased a set of products that have something to say. A good set of fingerless gloves that gave us the opportunity to swear at work felt like the perfect fit for phase one.
When was the last time you watched Jim Carrey’s commencement speech and would you (still) recommend it?
It’s been a while since I watched it, but I recommend watching things that inspire you or make you feel badass. Find things that level up your energy. Watch them, listen to them do things that make your body move, make your soul move… things that give you the kind of good feelings that you want to share with the world. You can find these anywhere, including nonfiction. [For example], the scene in Wonder Woman when she is crossing no man’s land gives me huge feels.
[But Jim Carrey’s] speech just struck a chord that pushed me out of a rut, giving me a different perspective in a moment where I was struggling for any direction. He spoke of how his dad took the “safe” path and then had to watch that safe path result in a layoff and have retirement celebrated with the gift of a wildly underwhelming watch. It was a powerful message. Especially for someone like me, a people pleaser who tends to dive in head first and give their all to other people’s dreams. It gave me permission to take some needed time to step back and dream of mine.
How do you go about designing Flip’em the Bird clothing?
Right now, I have a Pinterest mood board of powerful sayings that I look to when I need to be inspired again. I find things that give me that same feeling of “yup, that’s it” and then go.
More specifically, the infamous finger gloves?
These were invited as a solution to a problem I had direct experience with. At the time, I was going into an office and was always very cold. I am also very sweary at work; there is a level of bonding you have with your co-workers who deal with corporate bullshit all day. Obviously, these types of gloves aren’t for going to the tundra, but they are for people who are always cold. You can use them driving or running errands. I wear them at my kids’ outdoor games, so I can still tap on my phone.
Why were the finger gloves the perfect launch?
While it required a huge investment on our end to get this started, as these gloves were custom-made to our particular specs, they were an item that because of their size and applications gave us a lot of flexibility for where and how we could sell them, as they were lightweight and great for shipping. But what really makes them the perfect gift every time [is that] as soon as someone notices the bird on the finger, they laugh and know someone “who would be perfect” for this.
How do your products reflect you as a creator/CEO and how do they reflect Flip’em the Bird’s mission and purpose as a company?
In the past, when I had something that made me anxious, I would put on my Princess Leia underoos or wear a Marvel T-shirt. Really anything that would allow me to feel confident and powerful. I am not a person who feels powerful in a suit, so I needed to create my own way to tap into that power without disrupting the corporate apple cart. While I see the world changing vastly from the suit and tie culture, I want to create products that carry that sleek modern feel that people will feel proud to wear.
What do you feel you represent as a CEO and company?
I think in 2022, companies have an obligation beyond just the bottom line. I strive to ensure that I am employing fairly, giving back in more ways than just “job creation,” and building resources that can be shared with others who are looking to build a new dream for themselves. By sharing how my story started, I hope to give other people inspiration that they can do this, too. The more people put their dreams out, the more diverse our markets become instead of the default generic marketplace directed to the masses today.
How do you hope to resonate with buyers/your community?
I want my products to be that ray of hope, that giggle that breaks anxiety’s hold that can help people take the next step as they’re fighting their own battles. If nothing else, hopefully, they’re a little bit warmer.
What is feminism to you?
I don’t want to make it overly complicated. For me, it’s just the idea that feminine attributes need to be elevated to be on par with the masculine with the goal being equity in all things. The needs aren’t the same between all groups, but all groups provide value and need their own types of support.
Why partner with Feminist Book Club?
I believe in the idea of continuous learning and FBC digs into topics that I’m passionate about. Moreover, the community building that FBC is doing is something I want to support and add my voice to. Community is what gets us through and the stronger the community we have, the better off we all are.