I am a huge proponent of “shopping small” and through Instagram have been able to find so many amazing “mom and pop” type stores. I would so much rather have my money go to ballet lessons or a child’s college savings than hand it over in a big box store (although I am still addicted to Target, sorryI’mnotsorry) and have it go who knows where.
I was pursuing through my ‘explore’ page on Instagram a few months ago and when I somehow found @MamaSaidTees page, I wanted H in one of their designs ASAP. I practically begged them to let me do a writeup of their new business and when I heard they were doing a brand representative search, I knew I had to enter H. I love that they put so much time and effort into not only the designs of their tees, but also the message they want to get across – with all the grim news we’re inundated with today, its so important to be reminded of the sweet and good things in life!
Colleen B and Colleen S have been amazing to work with and you can tell they are so genuinely enthusiastic about what they do! Their story of how they met makes me giggle, becoming best friends through shopping – I love it!
Can you tell me a little bit about you two ladies behind the magic?
How did you meet and what made you decide to launch Mama Said Tees together?
We are 2 Mamas named Colleen who met because Colleen B is my #1 customer on Etsy! In another world, I sell prints/stationery/invites/design logos (which can be found here)! Colleen just wouldn’t stop ordering from me. It became insane to the point where I DEMANDED she start using a 50% off coupon code! We became fast friends in dealing with personalization for her orders via Etsy convo. That turned into becoming Facebook friends, which turned into exchanging phone numbers. Her first and my second were born ONE day apart! OH! HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY ADEN! To date… we still have never met. But that is about to change next Saturday, the 27th. Colleen is coming to Indy for the Shannon Smiles 5k. I | CAN’T | WAIT!!!!!!!! It is going to be a tearjerker.
We launched MST because I wanted to do tee shirts for a while after ordering too many KNOWING I could design them myself and had actually begun working with someone else. The guy, my friend, is amazing and awesome but we just had different visions. I wanted to do something called “Just Be Tees” and do inspirational type shirts. I ran it by Colleen B and she LOVED IT! We refer to ourselves as STARS (me) and GROUND (Colleen B). You know that famous quote “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground?” Well, that’s us! Don’t get me wrong. Colleen has BIG dreams too. It’s just that… she is able to dream and be practical all at the same time! So… Colleen investigated and “Just Be Tees” was already taken. SHUCKS. But then SHE came up with “Mama Said Tees” and the whole concept was born! VIA TEXT! Same vision. New name. And it all happened for a reason <3
Who (or what) has been your biggest inspiration?
Gosh. This is tricky! For me, I would have to say my family (especially my kids) is my biggest inspiration. And when the death of Shannon (for those who don’t know, Shannon is my angel sister) fell upon us, SHE became my inspiration. Mainly because I idolized her and she was SO proud of this new venture and as a teacher, couldn’t WAIT to wear our tees!
Colleen B would say Aden. Other kids all over the world. Her hubby. Her family!
As for us as a team, we have followed and ordered from DOZENS of IG shops and modeled after their positivity, branding and amazing customer service: Beau Hudson (Sasha), Boco Baby (Chandler), Baby Jules Boutique (Karissa), Opposite of Far (Jessica), Shelby Chic Boutique (Veronica) just to name a few.
People have been SO kind in aiding us to figure this whole IG thing out and we hope to be able to return the favor when we HOPEFULLY become really big!!! (ME… STARS :)
Have you always been interested in fashion?
This is a fun question. I like to think I have always maintained a fairly good fashion sense. I try! But when it comes to my kids… whole different story. And “fashioning” them has encouraged me to become more fashionable myself! Don’t even get me started about Maddie. We literally do not leave the house unless she has a big fat bow on her head, and looks 100% more darling than myself.
As for Colleen B, she declares that: “No!” I’m the person who finds something she likes and buys every color. My wardrobe consists of yoga pants, tanks and tees”. Hahahah!!! LOVE HER!
How do you balance everything?!
It’s not easy. Poor Colleen B. She really didn’t know what she signed up for when we did our long distance handshake that symbolized the beginning of this AMAZING partnership. But she does the majority of the work with poise and grace all while raising Aden. She handles all of the orders, the ordering, the picking up of the shirts, the packaging/filling orders, and dealing with everything that comes with behind the scenes stuff. I just don’t know what I would do without her. I am crying. TRUE STORY! What a sap I am.
I do know that what I do is important, just wish I could do more! I am merely the designer :) But I also have a LOT of fun trying to be in charge of Instagram as much as possible, and that is a lot of fun work. And stuff like this. I LIVE FOR IT! On the other end of things, I still have my Etsy shop, which is still very successful, and I am always proofing, printing, packaging, etc. My kids are 3 & 1 and they are in “school” part time so that helps. Soon my family is moving to Indiana and we are adopting my sister’s boys. So my whole outlook on “balancing” life & work might change gears here pretty soon!
We both work at night. A LOT. And sleep? Well you can just forget about that! But neither one of us would change a thing!
When you’re not busy being super moms, where can you be found?
Colleen B can be found dancing in her dance studio (yes. She teaches dance, too!) or up in Wisconsin at the lake. At Starbucks. With her family. I can be found wherever my mom is. Having dance parties with my kids. At McDonalds getting my daily diet coke. Hanging with my friends… my family. Target. Anthropologie. Nordstrom. I have issues.
I’d love to have you share a little about the Shannon smiles tees and why they were created:
Colleen B, aka “The Ground” aka “AN ANGEL on EARTH” decided we should do a shirt benefiting Connor and Danny just days after Shannon was killed. We didn’t DREAM it would take off like it did. With our tees alone, we have raised over $15,000 for my new sons. Here I go crying again. But really. What a dream come true. My husband and I really don’t want them to be burdened financially as a result of this horrible tragedy and so what a great start to saving for their college.
The actual words “Let your smile change the world” was one of the 25 suggestions Colleen B had for me when I told her it HAD to be something about a smile/smiling. Shannon had the most beautiful smile in the world. She was such a light to so many people and her smile was her logo, if you will.
What has been your favorite tee to date?
THIS IS HARD! We released “Love one Another” first because it is kind of how we wanted to kick off the whole thing. We wanted to be remembered for something that is positive, world changing even. But personally, my favorite is the “Kind is the New Cool” tee. Might have something to do with how much Shannon loved it. She couldn’t WAIT to wear one in the classroom. And now, to celebrate her birthday on Oct 9, the whole staff will wear one in her honor.
We know it’s corny, but we really believe and hope that people not only put their kids in the shirts, but talk to them about what they say, what they mean, and how they can personify kindness and love to REALLY make a difference. We will not put a shirt out that we don’t both LOVE for one reason or another!
Any sneak peaks or hints to new designs you’re thinking of?
SURE :) We had a really cool contest… “What if a t-shirt could change the world” and long story short, this was the winner. We kind of can’t wait to release this raglan option VERY soon! Also… we are pretty pumped that our Mother’s / Father’s Day tee shirt will read “Cause I’ve Been Watching You” (Rodney Adkins). I have already begun that design!
Anything else you’d like us to know?
We really do have a LOT in store. Oh, and we really love and appreciate every single person who believes in our message. You can all help us make a difference!
And just for fun, if you were to try out for American Idol or the Voice, what song would you pick to sing?
Colleen B has informed me that she would sing Carrie Underwood, Sugarland, Sara Evans… some big country ballad! And that people would then cry in agony. And me. Well I’m actually the biggest country fan ever and my 2 favorite songs are “The Good Stuff” by Kenny Chesney and “A Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley. But right now, my teenage self CANNOT get enough of “You Look So Perfect” by 5SOS!!!!!!!! I would of course change the words to reflect that I am a girl singing to a dude ;) OMG!!!!!!!!!!! It just came on!!!!! Thank you SPOTIFY!
H and I are so fortunate to be working with Colleen B and Colleen S. They are the sweetest mamas, and as you can tell, they have hearts of gold! MamaSaidTees has already grown so much since H and I joined the team and I can’t wait to watch them expand and reach ultra super stardom in the coming months!
Make sure to follow Mama Said Tees on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date on sales, and giveaways, and their online store for preorders and new designs (plus as an added bonus, you’ll get to see H’s cute mug plastered all over)!