We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Sarah Stroup a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Sarah, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. One of the most important things we can do as business owners is ensure that our customers feel appreciated. What’s something you’ve done or seen a business owner do to help a customer feel valued?
In every online order, I add a small thank you note and a little gift to show my appreciation for shipping with a small business owner. It could be a koozie, a small bag of stickers, earrings or a keychain. I’ve gotten small gifts from online orders and I absolutely love it and I hope it makes the client feel special.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I started designing tees in 2017. I wanted to launch a brand that focused on Texas and Country Music that was also affordable. I originally found a screen printer who made the shirts for me but soon decided to attempt it myself so I bought a kit and my husband, Charlie, built me a workspace in the garage of our home. After many failed attempts, I printed my first tee successfully, it was the stepping stone I needed to get to where I am today. I take pride in my designs, they are hand designed and drawn by me or someone close to me (because sometimes I need help in the little details). The ultimate goal for me is to be wholesaling Honey Hole Tees to boutiques across the great state of Texas.
Can you talk to us about manufacturing? How’d you figure it all out? We’d love to hear the story.
At first, I outsourced my tees from a local printer. That came with some hiccups like misprints and extremely long turn around times. That lead me to purchase my own screen printing kit. I watched hours of videos and read so many blogs to learn all the different processes for all the different steps. It was a very humbling attempt. A lot of trial and error. Just when I was about to give up, I grabbed a different type of ink and tried again finally finding success. I was so happy that I found that niche and I’ve screen printed all of my designs ever since!
How did you put together the initial capital you needed to start your business?
I started Honey Hole T-shirt Co with $250. That paid for my first round of shirts. Every dollar after that, I put right back into my business. I’ve had moments where I had to dip into our personal fund to help with a new idea or a new space to work but I always paid ourselves back.