By Dylan Deprey
There’s living up to the family name, and then there’s fully embodying it. When times get hard for Trevis Hardman, he works even harder.
The We Got This community garden’s secondhand man has never stepped down from adversity. His work ethic is unmatched, and his admiration to tackle a challenge is almost addictive.
Between helping out with the day-to-day gardening and overall expansion on Ninth and Ring Streets, he’s also owned and operated his own landscaping company.
Over the summer of 2020, everything changed while working on a project.
“We were doing a groundbreaking on Sixth and Meinecke for a church plot,” Hardman said. “Some people down the street were arguing, and we didn’t pay any attention to it.
Next thing I know, shots were fired. I was hit, a young lady inside her house feeding her kid was hit. I honestly didn’t even know I was hit at first until somebody was like ‘Hey, you’re bleeding!’”
He was struck in the wrist on his dominant hand. While his determination was admirable, he eventually made the decision to hang up his landscaping equipment.
As he rehabbed his hand during his time off, he’d stare at the unused trailer sitting in his garage. He knew there was something else he could do.
His love for fashion was always present. He’s the creative mind behind the “53206” brand. His hats showcased all the positives in the infamous ZIP code, which had been labeled as the most incarcerated community in the country, among many other negative statistics in the Black community.
“I’m a fashionable guy, and people know me for it, so I decided to make it a retail trailer,” Hardman said.
He stripped the trailer down and converted the dressing-room-sized-space into a full-fledged mini market. The Hardman Kollection Company was born.
“Most of the products I provide are what make up Trevis Hardman,” he said. “It’s a small boutique and we’ve got a bunch of things for people to check out.”
Whether it’s a pair of shades, a watch, fresh threads, a new scent or specialty homemade beard oil, the tiny trailer offers a little bit of everything.
He first showcased the mobile boutique at the Heal the Hood event in early July.
“We did phenomenal,” Hardman said. “The neighborhood was totally interested in the trailer.”
He has always been a role model for neighborhood youth, and his new project was another example of making life’s trials into triumphs.
“Most of the things we’re looking for in life, we already have, we just need to capitalize on that or learn how to utilize it in the right way,” he said.
He added that every time he pulls the trailer up to the We Got This garden, the community always shows out.
“It’s almost a need,” he said. “We just want to bring a little class to where we are.”
Hardman also extended the spotlight to other small local businesses in the neighborhood. He partnered with Ashley Harrell’s Boujee Coffee and hosted the Brochert Field Neighborhood Community Market Pop Up. The event was set up as a way to bring awareness to the city that Burleigh can become a business district.
“We’re just trying to showcase the greatness coming out of these hidden streets people don’t go down,” he said. “There’s a lot of jewels here and they can bring some light to our area.”
As he continues to travel around Milwaukee, he plans to hit different festivals on a tour across the United States. He said it’s about pushing the Hardman Kollection Company as far as it can possibly go.
“This is really for my three boys, they’re part of the Hardman Kollection Company,” Hardman said. “If I can sacrifice some things now in life for them to have a better life, I’ll do it.”
Visit The Hardman Kollection Company online or on social media Facebook: @Trevis Hardman