In order to find the right path in life, Megan Hyte first had to remember what she loved as a child.
Hyte, 33, spent years in various jobs during her post-graduate life, but always yearned to break out of the corporate world and do something individual and creative.
Soccer has had a major impact on her life. At 4 years old, it was the only sport her family could afford to have her play. As a Navy child, she moved around a lot. Hyte was born in Jacksonville, Fla., and lived in several locales before landing in Poulsbo. But no matter where she went, her natural talent continued to blossom.
Hyte spent years playing for Kitsap Alliance (then called FC Kitsap) and was a star goal-scorer at North Kitsap High School through her graduation in 2005 under then-head coach Teri Ishihara. Hyte led the Vikings with 16 goals and 39 points her senior year and was selected multiple times to the All-Narrows League first team.
She was also a top-flight forward for FC Royals, with which she won two state select championships, and the exposure she received there helped her move on to play at Washington State University.
After living for nearly a decade in the southern United States, Hyte left Florida in December when her lease expired and moved back to Washington. She spent time with her mom, Lydia Rush, watching one of her favorite shows, “Shark Tank,” when she decided it was time to take on a project she was passionate about.
“I just thought back to when I was a kid,” Hyte said. “Soccer was everything to me.”
Hyte, now living in Arizona, always had the entrepreneurial spirit. As a child, she would call companies asking for advice on how to get a book published or phone television stations asking about how to get her own show.
She took inspiration from one of her favorite possessions growing up – the ubiquitous yellow LiveStrong bracelets – and created the 110 ring as part of the 110 lifestyle brand and fundraising platform. “110” refers to giving 110 percent all the time, whether you’re on the field, in the classroom or pursuing goals, she said.
Ideas for apparel offerings started with the simple silicone ring, but has expanded to various T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts.
“I want kids to look at [the ring] the way I looked at [my bracelet] and use it as motivation to go harder,” Hyte said, adding she co-founded 110 with New Orleans Saints running back Dwayne Washington, a former Washington Husky.
The company was given a boost when the Saints signed Malcolm Jenkins, a well-known safety who had previously spent five years in New Orleans and went on to win a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles, before the 2020 season. Washington wore Jenkins’ familiar No. 27 jersey and, as happens frequently in the world of pro sports, the veteran Jenkins offered Washington a donation in exchange for the number.
Between the money Hyte and Washington had saved up and the donation, it was enough to get 110 off the ground. Having to quarantine and limit travel during the pandemic gave the duo time to develop the company’s infrastructure.
Although there are a couple of high-profile names attached to 110, including former WBC welterweight champion Regis Prograis, thus far some of the company’s most important work has come at the local level.
Hyte is giving back to the program that gave her so much, as 110 is now partnering with Kitsap Alliance to help them fundraise.
Most sporting programs were put on pause for many months due to the coronavirus and have disrupted just about every aspect. Hyte saw an opportunity to help bring some of these organizations back to life.
“I saw how much soccer impacted my life,” Hyte said. “My ultimate goal is to help give kids that chance, kids like my son.”
Hyte said 110 offers customizable merchandise and a special purchase code to each organization and gives them 50 percent of what is sold. In the case of Kitsap Alliance, the company is giving 60 percent. And the fundraiser is COVID-friendly as everything is available online at 110ring.com.
The goal is to expand the platform to be able to help organizations or individuals across the country get support from their community through fundraising.
“We want to help any organization that aligns with our values,” Hyte said.
Hyte also hopes to partner with larger organizations, such as charities, so she can help less fortunate people as well, recalling how her parents had to make sacrifices to keep her playing soccer at a high level.
“Our main goal is to let anybody and everybody know that we’re here and that we can help them,” Hyte said.
With her company beginning to find its footing, Hyte seems to have found her true calling.
“When I’m working with 110, I tell my friends I feel like I’m playing rather than running a business, because it’s fun,” Hyte said. “It represents who I am and what I’m most passionate about. I think this is my way of being creative; there’s so many different ways you can be creative.”