WHIT: What We Learned Since Being Named a 2014 American Made Honoree
The artistic vision behind WHIT clothing -- one based in creativity, color, energy, and playfulness -- is only made better by the company's dedication to locally designed and manufactured collections.
WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE WHIT WAS NAMED AN AMERICAN MADE WINNER?
We have grown our business and increased our distribution both here in the States and overseas. We have been thrilled to see so many stores looking specifically for products designed and manufactured in America, which continues to remain the case with WHIT. It's also been really exciting for us to partner with other Made in America companies on creative collaborations like swimwear, which is a new category for the brand.
HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR PASSION? WHEN DID YOU KNOW IT WAS TIME TO TURN IT INTO A BUSINESS?
I always loved design and visual arts. My husband and I wanted to start WHIT as a way to collaborate with other artists and creatives in our community. We waited until we felt we knew enough about this business and the process to branch out on our own. Artist collaborations and creative partnerships remain a cornerstone of what we do and having the collection made locally makes the process easier.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Time management. You have to be able to wear many hats at once while juggling so many tasks and ensuring everything gets done in a timely manner. Carving out time to be creative is often very difficult, but incredibly important.
HOW DO YOU KEEP A WORK/LIFE BALANCE? THIS IS SOMETHING THAT A LOT OF BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS WORRY ABOUT.
When it comes to the search for a work/life balance, I am a work in progress. It is easy to let the passion you have for your career eclipse the importance of maintaining a personal life. It is truly a constant challenge to be mindful of both.
WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE GOTTEN -- IN REGARDS TO CREATING/STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
You can't be everything to everyone. With WHIT, we are focusing on what we do best…print, color and novelty.
WHAT RESOURCES, ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS DO YOU TURN TO FOR SUPPORT?
I have been very lucky to be part of the CFDA and a few other communities comprised of women owned businesses. It is really lovely to have other creatives going through the same growing pains that I can bounce ideas off of.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST SURPRISE SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR BUSINESS?
Working with my husband. I was really worried about the challenges that it would bring to work so closely together. We push each other to think outside of the box and motivate each other. It was challenging at first to learn to communicate in a different way about creative work versus who is in charge of doing the dishes, but we have hit our stride and have a lot of fun together. I feel very lucky that we are such a good team.
WHAT KEEPS YOU GOING WHEN YOU WANT TO GIVE UP?
Gratitude…for what we have been able to accomplish with WHIT…and for my husband/partner, Parker. We take turns pumping each other up on bad days.
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WOULD TELL SOMEBODY TRYING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Know what you want your brand to stand for and start with a focused plan. You can always expand later.
ANY ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS?
Be kind to everyone, including yourself.