Hung Dao and Alex Kozub, founders of Vital Apparel, would like to raise awareness and help change the stigma around mental health. Their passion to raise awareness is fueled by personal experience.
Hung unknowingly struggled with anxiety and depression for the majority of his life, not knowing those conditions even existed. In his early 20’s he was officially diagnosed, but was reluctant to seek help, and thought he could battle the illnesses on his own. After graduating college, Hung’s depression and anxiety worsened. He suffered from loss of appetite, sleeplessness, weight loss, and he even had suicidal thoughts. He started to see a counselor to understand more about his mental illness and develop coping mechanisms. Although those were helpful mentally, he still didn’t feel physically well.
Alex is a fitness enthusiast. He grew up with a very active lifestyle playing hockey, skateboarding, and BMX biking. He began working out consistently during college and it had become a passion and way of life for him. Alex pursued a business degree at St. Cloud State, worked part-time in the corporate world, and completed an internship between his junior and senior years. When the internship ended he was offered a full-time position, but by that time he realized the ‘9-to-5 grind’ and working for other people wasn’t for him. Against the advice of others, Alex made the decision to leave school and follow his entrepreneurial spirit.
Alex and Hung have been friends since high school, and Alex saw Hung’s struggle over the years. He thought exercise would give him something positive to focus on and help him deal with his stress levels so they started hitting the gym together. Alex guided him through workouts and gave him healthy eating tips. Not only did Hung put on 30 pounds of healthy weight which made him feel better about himself, he felt his stress levels decrease, and he even slept better at night.
Seeing the positive physical and psychological changes in Hung, it was then they realized they wanted to help others live healthy and fulfilling lives. This led the two of them to create an athletic apparel brand dedicated to helping others live healthy, active lives while raising awareness for mental health.
Percentage of our profits will be donated to Brain & Behavior Research Foundation to further explore mental health research. They are located in New York and is the nation’s top non-governmental funder of mental health research grants. With more than 4700 scientist in more than 557 institutions we felt that they were the most suitable organization to team up with.