Date: October 9, 2017 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek |
As the owner of Milk and Honey Tees, this Little Rock T-shirt maven makes fun, spirited apparel for fans nationwide
You’re a mom, a wife, and an entrepreneur. Where did you find the inspiration to start your home-based, online business?
Milk and Honey started in August of 2012, and it all happened pretty much by accident. I was living in Little Rock, and we had just moved into a new house that included an extra little room that had sort of unintentionally turned into a craft room. I had always enjoyed creating personalized tees for my sons and began doing more of that once I had a little space to spread out and work, but I had never really considered actually selling shirts or starting a business. I designed a shirt for myself for the first time, and when I posted a photo on Instagram, friends began asking if they could buy them from me. People were so encouraging and I thought, “Why not try to do this?” My husband, Josh, and I applied for a business license and set up shop completely on a whim!
What designs did you use for your first T-shirts?
Many of my first designs involved the state of Arkansas, and I also created personalized kids’ tees for holidays and birthdays. My designs have completely evolved over the years, both as far as the process and the style.
Today, your shirts can be ordered through your online shop, and you also occasionally appear at pop-up shops nationwide.
Yes, I have been to Dallas to do a pop-up shop with The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, and I’m getting ready to head to Austin for one with podcaster Jamie Ivey of The Happy Hour. I have designs in my shop that were created specially for these podcasters, who have turned into friends and great supporters of Milk and Honey.
Many of your tees also have faith-based messages or designs.
Yes, as a believer and follower of Christ, my faith impacts everything I do and every decision I make, so my work is certainly no exception. Our family considers Milk and Honey to be both a business and a ministry, and our ultimate goal is to use this business to glorify God and to bless others. One way I do that is by designing tees with words and images from scripture or inspiring quotes or song lyrics. Most of the time I like it to be very subtle, and I often hear from customers that their tees make great conversation starters, which I love!
We hear that giving back also plays a part in your business.
Do you partner with a specific group or charity? Overall, we run a give-back model with our business. More specifically, we help support a program in Rwanda through Africa New Life called the Dream Beauty Academy. This is a vocational training program for impoverished and under-educated women. Through the Academy they are taught a marketable skill, provided a safe and educational daycare program for their children, and set up to start their own businesses or become employed after completing the program. Every Milk and Honey purchase helps to fund the Dream Beauty Academy and even provides the women with lunch every day—which, for many of them, might be the only meal they have that day. I have seen and heard firsthand how Africa New Life and the Dream Beauty Academy are changing the lives of these women and their families, and our family is truly honored and humbled to be able to play a part in that through our own business.
Do you have any new collections rolling out this fall and winter?
I am loving a new line of products that one of our best suppliers released for this fall, so lately I have been hard at work creating new designs using that line. They have a high-end boutique feel, and I’m constantly on a mission to show our customers that T-shirts and sweatshirts aren’t just meant for the gym and pajama days! It’s also time to start thinking about Christmas, believe it or not, so I’m working on a couple of holiday designs and getting all of our collections fine-tuned for that season.