Due to the rough conditions in Southern Italy, many Italians immigrated to America in hopes for a better future.
That is exactly what my grandfather, Giuseppe Scarcello, did when he immigrated from Calabria, Italy.
He met his wife, Adeline, and they settled down and began a family in America.
They worked hard labor jobs that paid very little money. They barley understood English, so it was very tough for them to accustom themselves to a new country. Italians were looked down upon and it wasn't easy.
All the hardships they faced their entire lives did not matter to them. They never complained. All they cared about was their children and their grandchildren.
HOW WE WERE RAISED
We were always raised to be proud of our background.
Our school sandwiches were made of Soppressata and Turano bread, not PB&J's like the other kids. We talked with our hands and were loud. We believed respect, loyalty, and hard work were important. We were shown traditions and recipes from the old country and they would involve us at a young age to be a part of it. They preached togetherness, family, and love.
We recognized we weren't "medigan" - there were differences that came with being raised from Italian parents or grandparents. We were always taught that this is something that should be celebrated.
It was this "Hardcore" passion for our heritage that led my father to create a Facebook page dedicated to Italian pride. He would occasionally sell a shirt or two on eBay and we were making posts for fun.
I always remembered my grandparents being there for me and supporting us.
You can see my grandfather in this video wearing one of the first Hardcore Italian hats.
Remember when I told you they had no money? That didn't stop him from handing me a $20 bill every time I visited!
The business was just another thing he was proud to support (even though he had no idea what "face-ah-book" or e-commerce is).
When my grandparents passed, I felt that if I ignored their story, lessons, and background. That their sacrifice would go to waste.
I wanted their story to live on. This is when I decided to take a major risk. I quit my job and decided to go all-in on Hardcore Italians.
I put all the money I had invested into buying more merchandise, leasing a warehouse, hiring employees, and doing whatever it took.
Although entering into the unknown, I knew my grandparents gave us opportunity for a reason and I felt a responsibility to take a shot.
Just like they did when they immigrated from Italy!
My father agreed to make me a 50/50 partner in the business. We work on it together as a family. We create the designs, pack the orders, handle customer service, go to festivals, you name it.
Our entire family supports us. My sister, mom, girlfriend, aunts, cousins, and family friends are the employees.
With the work ethic our grandparents gave us, and the close support of my family, Hardcore has grown tremendously throughout the years.
We bust our culos to make it happen.
We know that there are 30 million other Italian Americans who grew up with Italian grandparents or parents who made the very same sacrifices ours did.
We work to honor the Italian-American sacrifice by keeping the pride going. When we are proud of our heritage, it allows us to feel close to the ancestors we have lost.
I sincerely believe that their story can not only be something that does not die, but something that is carried on forever. They were the kindest, most generous, and most caring people I have ever met. It is what their story deserves!
When you wear our merchandise, we hope you feel a part of something bigger. We wear it because we are on a mission to keep this part of us going. We wear it proud because we are proud of them!
Thank you to all of you who show your support. It truly means a lot to our family. We appreciate every single order. We hope you feel a part of our famiglia.