Today I'm happy to be sharing this space with Celebrate Always, a mamapreneur-run business by two best friends, Kristen and Allison. Today Allison shares a little more behind their business, friendship, and mamahood.
Tell me a little bit about yourself…what best describes you?
I'm a mom of two girls, Ella and McKenna. Ella is 8 and McKenna is 5. Kristen has four kids, 3 girls and 1 boy. Shea is 2, Ben and Sawyer are boy/girl twins that are 8 and Avery is 10. We have been best friends since the 7th grade. We love a theme party and homemade t-shirts so much! Some might say too much. We think you can never have too many tees and parties though!
What inspired you to start your shop/business?
In 2007, our husbands started medical school and we both moved away for 4 years and bought houses a couple of streets apart from each other. Kristen had a toddler and newborn twins and I had a newborn. We basically lived together raising our little ones while the husbands worked insane hours in med school. We would try to do at least one outing a day (mostly to Target) to keep our sanity.
One day I saw an advertisement for a Screen Printing 101 class and thought it sounded perfect for us! We were immediately hooked and stepped up our RIT tie-dying, iron on picture t-shirt skills. We taught ourselves different screen printing methods and before we knew it, people wanted to buy our shirts! It started with making shirts for our family, usually different themed shirts for whatever party or holiday coming up. After years of talking about it, we finally got it together and made it happen! It still shocks us that people buy our shirts and it makes us so happy that others share our love for a genuine handmade t-shirt.
How did you decide on your business name?
We started a blog when we lived in Lubbock, Texas. We called it Lullaby Lubbock and it was mostly about the days with our little ones. Once our husbands were done with medical school they both went to residency and we both moved to different parts of Texas. It was so sad to separate. We kept the blog going but decided it needed a new name since we no longer lived in Lubbock.
Celebrate Always was something that was just part of our lingo. I kept it written on a chalkboard in my kitchen as a reminder of how I wanted to live each day. We thought it was the perfect name for our blog and our business. Our shirt designs all have a celebrating theme. We like to make life a party and celebrate always –in good times and in bad!
What makes your product/business unique?
We design and hand print each and every shirt. We print on mostly tri-blend shirts because they are so unbelievably soft! Fun, genuine and original are the three words that we want to describe all of our products. If it doesn’t fall under those categories, we scrap the idea. We both have a manual screen printing press in our houses. We talk and FaceTime for hours coming up with new designs. We feed off of each other’s ideas and work so perfectly together. It is so much fun!
What’s your favorite part about running your own business?
Getting to print whenever we want! We love when an idea comes to us and we can have it on a shirt within hours. It’s so fun (and overwhelming at times) to do the whole process of prepping a screen, designing an image, burning it on a screen and then printing it on a shirt ourselves. It does make the business side much more time consuming for us, but we love each step so much that we wouldn’t want it any other way.
What’s the hardest part about running your own business?
Saying no. Our most stressful times come when we say yes to too many custom orders. We love doing them for others and we totally get the desire for personalized shirts for a family event or party (that’s how we started). Matching shirts is our favorite so it’s hard to say no to something we believe in so much!
What’s it like being an entrepreneur and a mother?
It’s so rewarding. And so hard! Doing two of our favorite things (printing and momming) all under one roof is a dream. It’s so fun that our kids know the screen-printing ins and outs. They support us and even give us ideas! Luckily they all love a homemade t-shirt just as much as their mamas! It is not always easy to find the balance between mom time and work time. We are still learning how to make it all work as our business grows.
What does a day in your life look like?
We are both night owls, so after we hit snooze a few times or our kids come wake us up, we pop in some frozen waffles and take them to school. We usually talk on the way home from drop off about what orders we have and who is doing what. If we aren’t printing we are either playing baby dolls or running errands. Our husbands are both done with residency and working now, so we both live in the DFW area. It is so fun being close again!
Where do you see your business in five years time?
Good question! We have no idea! We just love spreading joy to others one t-shrit at a time, so we will just keep on doing that until there is peace on earth I guess. If only it was that easy…a good t-shirt really can be life changing though.