Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Bri from Tribe is Alive

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Today on Moms on Mondays I am proud to have Bri from Tribe is Alive, one of my favorite online shops!  I've been following this mama since the beginning, and I am so happy for all of her success!  Lemon got to participate in a brand shoot with Qiana K. Photography where she wore Tribe is Alive, and Bri also send her a super cute, new Be Brave romper (so cute!).  She also has so many racer back tanks, they are some of my favorites to put Lemon in!  Check out her post below and then go shop!

Both images from Qiana K. Photography (instagram.com/qianakphotography).

What is the name of your shop and how can we find you?  

Tribe Is Alive is our website and we are also on Instagram and Facebook.

Tell us about what you make/sell in your shop. 

We sell screen printed tees & tanks for babies, toddlers & even bigger kids (up to size 8 in some styles) that are inspired by music, art & general pop culture. One of our biggest inspirations for designs is definitely our daughter. I have to admit there has been a time or two when I didn't know how well a design would work but just had to test it out so I could print one for our daughter in every size! 

How/why did you start making these products and open this shop?

My husband & I initially began this business with the hopes that it would allow me to only work part time & stay home with our (then, still cooking) daughter. My husband is an art teacher and has always been interested in screen printing, and has a vast love as well as knowledge for all things pop culture.  I must admit I thought it was a crazy idea to dive into, and knew that it would be a ton of hard work that I didn't know if I was prepared for, especially at 6 months pregnant. But, once we actually got around to printing our first tee I instantly felt overjoyed with the outcome of our hard work and couldn't wait to sell our first tees. It was hard at first, and we surely spend much more money then we made but it was worth every penny to learn the hard way in the beginning. It truly made us appreciate the people who allowed us to grow when we were struggling and had to add to our team to accomplish our goals.

How long have you been in business?

We opened up shop in September of 2013 but began the process of starting the business that summer.  We officially sold our first shirt on September 28th, 2013 and are excited to be able to celebrate 2 years of business this coming Fall!

What is your background (college/career/etc.)?

My husband is a High School Art teacher. Before Tribe, I worked in the nursing field in doctor's offices so I had zero knowledge as far as running or owning my own business. To this day, we're learning the ins and outs of how this all works. Never a dull moment, that's for sure!

Tell us a little bit about your family.

My husband (Tyler) and I (Bri) eloped in October of 2012. We're not the fancy wedding type, we're actually quite the opposite. We don't like crowds and we surely do not like attention. Simple times with good people are how we like to live, so eloping was definitely for us! We have one daughter & two fur babies. Our daughter's name is Ollie Harper & she's 18 months old. She's all girl! Sweet, sassy & totally weird and we can't believe she's ours, every day is a "pinch me" moment with how lucky we feel. Our fur babies are French Bulldogs who have no idea that they're dogs. Jacques & Margot are our first babies, and the best fur brother & sister Ollie could ask for. As a family, we love discovering new restaurants (we love food!), going to parks (Portland has THE BEST parks), taking naps together and honestly everything in between, as long as we're together.  {I'm from Oregon, love Portland!}

How does this company help your family?  Or you?

This company is my sole income, and until my husband finds a new teaching position since we just moved halfway across the country, this is OUR sole income which is honestly the scariest thing to say. This pays our mortgage, our bills, our health insurance, and puts food in our bellies. I pour my heart into this and couldn't be more grateful with the support we receive from our customers. 

Owning your own business is a constant struggle. I am no longer afraid of failure because you can not always come out on top, but you will succeed more often than not if you just keep trying which is my goal each and every day. I have a hard time taking a "day off" because this business truly means so much to me.

Did you ever think you'd be doing this?  What did you think you'd be doing instead?

Honestly, no. This is a dream come true for my little family. I loved working in the medical field & would definitely be doing that still if this hadn't worked out.

Does anyone help you with your shop?

Last year we ended up hiring a printer to print our shirts when the demand became more than I could handle. I would stay up all hours of the night, after working during the day, to print shirts while my family slept just so I could stay within our 2 week turn around. When that began to take a huge emotional toll, I consulted with a few business friends and realized I had two choices, to cut back, print by hand still & just have a longer turn around time or to hire someone to help us grow. We chose growth and I'm so glad we did because we found the best people to work with who're also a small family owned business. We love you, Jana!

How do you find time to run your shop and create products?

Nap times! And tons of times in between. I am a work at home mom, not a stay at home mom, so I do my best to put in the normal hours that keeping this business running requires. Sometimes it's nap times, or during the school year it's after dinner when dad is home. Right now since it's summer time so I am able to work whenever since my husband is home. Ollie is my priority & I do not want to take away from her, by any means, but this is not just a hobby for us, this pays our bills so if time needs to be made to work, we make the time. 

What do you love about this businesses?

Honestly so much. Being able to connect with other moms (even though I am a fairly shy person), creating products we're proud of, being able to be a part of the awesome, fast growing small business community on Instagram. Building friendships with other small business owners, as well as those who "rep" brands. Seeing little babes in our tees, that one never gets old. I absolutely love every picture we're tagged in, or that is sent to us and wish we could share them all because they truly make us so happy.

What is the most challenging part of this business?

Staying focused. Sometimes things can move so quickly and other times thing seem to barely be moving at all. It's easy to compare yourself to others, which is the worst possible thing to do. We're human and we make mistakes, so just staying focused on why we do what we do is our main goal, but can definitely be trying at times.

Where do you see your shop in the future?

Still standing! We will continue to work hard and growth is always welcome, but stability is key. Just hoping people stick around because we have more exciting things to come.

Tell us your favorite product or your most favorite thing you've created?

Our Strawberry Fields & Soul to Squeeze designs are a definite favorite of mine (pictured on Lemon, above). I love that they're different, and that I my husband drew them by hand which makes them extra special to me. Other than those, two our Vibe and Taller designs are a favorite of mine, we love that we can keep them around all year long.

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?

Don't be afraid of making mistakes because you will make a lot. Failure just means you tried, which is a whole lot more than the average person can say. Do your best to not compare yourself to others, be it achievements or failures, because comparison in any form is the thief of joy. And, make sure you give yourself credit for your hard work. 

What are some of YOUR favorite shops/products, besides your own?

I like TONS of shops! My top favorites are June & January, MamaCase, Raine + Skye, Half Pint Kids, James and Louise Co & Child Hoods.

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