Wednesday, August 5, 2015

shop share: the Blue Envelope

This week we are putting the spotlight on Mandy and The Blue Envelope!  I am so excited to share this incredible shop with you!  Mandy is one of the nicest, most genuine, generous people I have come across in this blogging experience and I am so happy to have met her and become friends with her!

What is the name of your shop and how did you get started? 
I am the owner of The Blue Envelope. We started 5 years ago as an invitation and graphic design company. After the birth of my twins, my miracle babies, I wanted to find shirts I could put them in that portrayed positive messages as I want them to grow up to be kind and courageous. I started making shirts for them and in December of 2014 we opened up our apparel line.


What do you make in your shop and how can we find you? 
We are a custom kids apparel shop. We create tees inspired by kids and the ones who love them.


Tell us a little about yourself and your family.  
My husband and I have been married for 5 years this August. We have known each other our whole lives as our moms graduated high school together and our dads have been great friends since they were younger. We are also only 27 days apart in age. I moved away when I was younger and although I'd see Kevin here and there when I would come home to visit, we didn't keep in touch that much. It wasn't until I live 1,000 miles away in Houston, Texas that we reconnected one holiday weekend at the age of 23. We were both single, both had full time jobs and both in a really good place in our lives. For some reason it just clicked. We traveled back and forth for awhile and within 6 months we were engaged to be married and I was moving to Indiana to start my life with him.  It hasn't been all kisses and hugs every day (LOL), we've had our challenges just like any normal family but we make it through. He is hands down the love of my life and my best friend. As cliche as that may sound, I really have found my soul mate - the other half that makes me laugh until I cry and who has believed in me through everything. He encouraged me to start my own business and has been there every step of the way. 

After years of trying to start a family and the loss of our first two babies, my husband and I were in search of alternative methods. After several visits to a fertility doctor and throwing around the idea of adoption, we had a very dear friend offer to be our surrogate. We decided to give it one more try and, if we were unsuccessful at starting our family, we would try surrogacy. It was an amazing miracle in itself that we got pregnant with twins a month later. I was actually on a medication that would reduce our likelihood of having twins. Because of my condition, our doctor did not want us to get pregnant with multiples as it would not be good for me or the babies. These two babies had another plan for us and I'm so grateful for that. We did not have a typical pregnancy experience. We were in for ultrasounds every week to check on the twins progress and every week we were told our chances of making it another week were very slim. My emotional state was one of constant worry and heartache for fear of losing them both. At 35 weeks they were born at 5 lbs each, which is amazing!! My son Benjamin was taken to the NICU for breathing issues while my daughter was doing well and we would soon be allowed to take her home. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do - leave with my daughter knowing she needed me to be home with her while leaving my son behind. It was devastating to say the least. But, after traveling back and forth to be with my son and going home to be with my daughter, within a few days we were able to take Benjamin home and become the family of 4 we had longed for. They will be 2 in December and are very healthy and happy. They are, and forever will be, the greatest part of me.

Does anyone help you with the shop?
My husband is my right hand man now and does all of our extra work when he is off work and can help.

What is your favorite piece in your shop and how did you come up with it?
I love love love our MAMA tees. They are my favorite! We decided to create a word cloud tee much like our number tees (birthday tees) and we came up with a huge list of words that describe a Mom and incorporated them into the word MAMA. They aren't all your typical descriptive words - some of them include: superhero, laundry ninja, dream catcher and wonder woman just to name a few. We also have a DAD tee that is similar in nature to the MAMA tee and we will be coming out with new ones for a BOY, a GIRL, NANA, PAPA and a few others that we are working on.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Our inspiration comes from our everyday adventures with our kids. We create tees inspired by kids and the ones who love them.

Where do you see your shop in the future? What are your aspirations for it?
My biggest wish for our shop is that we can make a difference. Even if we can just make one child smile who needs it the most, we have done our job. I am wanting to be the change I wish to see in the world, one design at a time.

coming soon to TBE!
Any advice for other small businesses or momtrepreneurs? 
The biggest advice I can give any small business is not compare yourself to others. It will be hard to do and could be one of the biggest challenges. Just because it works for them, doesn't mean it will work for you. The more you can stand out and be one-of-a-kind, the more successful you will be. I have been told many times that a business cannot be built on passion - if passion is your only drive, it will quickly become just a hobby. I find this statement false. I truly believe that it is because of the passion behind these small shops that successful businesses are created. Don't ever let anyone deter you from going for your dreams just because they don't believe passion can equal success. We may not be a Fortune 500 company or the next big thing in the fashion world, but when I receive emails from moms who have little ones that are battling cancer or struggling with something and they have one of our tees on with a big smile on their face - that is all the success we need.

What are some of YOUR favorite shops and small businesses?
Oh my, I have so many favorites! I have met some incredible people along this journey and most of them include other small shop oweners. Some of my favorites include:
@wireandhoney - she makes incredible tees that are bold statements such as her "vaccines save, bro" tee!
@little_michaels - an awesome company to get all of your party needs such as decorations, keepsakes, etc.
@nbtthreads - she also makes some amazing tees and is always coming up with the coolest ideas! She has tees for the whole family.
@pip_and_bean - makes awesome superhero capes! They are incredible!!! My twins love them!!
@hello.charlie - she is our brand photographer and she has the greatest fashion sense for all brands! I am in awe of her work and we wouldn't be where we are today without her.

Head on over to The Blue Envelope to support this amazing mama! Today only Becoming the Wilkinsons readers can save 20% on their orders with code SAVE20 - happy shopping, y'all!