Meet Danielle and Amy. Based in Branson, Missouri these girls are some of the sweetest the South has to offer. We got to talk all weekend and share in the struggles and triumphs of running a small business. We shared how God has put it so deeply on hearts to use the gifts He has given us in these businesses we have invested ourselves in. It was wonderful to be reminded that we are never alone in our struggles and that sharing the hardships is just as rewarding as reaping the successes when you're in this good of company.
Their husbands, Nick and Josh, were the true picture of southern gentleman and helped me all weekend without me even having to ask for it. That kind of generosity makes you an immediate friend of mine. So that, paired with the fact that their apparel is awesome and some of the softest you'll ever find, is why I am sharing their story with all of you in an impromptu meet-and-greet. There is even a Banner Apparel + Zella Woods Designs giveaway involved, so pull up a seat and read on.
I asked them a few questions and here is what they had to say:
Z|W: how did Banner Apparel come about?
Banner Apparel: As longtime friends we wanted to come together and create a faith based clothing line that allowed us to live out what we know to be our life's purpose - to glorify God.
Banner Apparel got its name from Psalm 20:5. 'May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers.'
Let's face it, our clothes can tell people a lot about us. We thought that same clothing could tell people about the greatest thing that's been given to us - Jesus. We create designs to open doors for conversation and serve as reminders of spiritual truth. It's apparel with a purpose."
Z|W: What is the inspiration behind your designs and/or craft?
Danielle: Our faith in Jesus is the only way we make it through this crazy life, let alone most of our days. About a year ago now, Josh, Amy, Nick and I were out for fireworks when the idea of starting a business came up. At first we were a little hesitant to take the leap, but after a while we were like, “Yeah, I think that this could really work.”
We prayed a lot about going in to business with some of our dearest friends because the statistics regarding that are pretty daunting. But together, we make one pretty high functioning person. LOL. All joking aside, the Lord has shown us an enormous amount of grace and mercy by giving us this ministry. We just want to be good stewards with this vision that He has given us.
Z|W: How long have you been designing and printing t-shirts?
Amy: We have actually been designing t-shirts for our church ministries for quite a while. Screen printing was something we had previous experience with but not something that we really perfected until we started Banner Apparel.
Z|W: Why so you think it is important to support handmade craft versus manufactured goods?
Amy: That is an interesting question. I am a little embarrassed to admit that it has taken starting this business and being exposed to so many great small businesses, for me to truly appreciate the art of handmade crafts.
I think it’s exciting to see how creative and gifted people really are. The Lord truly does give each of us unique skill sets and talents. To see so many people using those gifts to glorify God has been awesome. Now I can say I am sold on handmade. Every handmade item has a story because the person/people behind it has a story.
Z|W: What do you love most about what you do?
Danielle: My favorite part of the process is seeing one of your designs from start to finish, concept to completion. The design process is tedious. You may have ten designs initially, but end up liking only two of them. Finding the right shirt for the right design is key. That part of the process is fun also. Really, I love it all. No seriously, I am very blessed. I think that's just the way it is when you do something that utilizes your God-given abilities, it doesn’t feel so much like work.
Z|W: What do you find the most challenging about what you do?
Amy: We joke a lot and say we have learned more about what doesn’t work, instead of what does. Every step of starting a new business has been challenging so it’s hard to pinpoint just one. LOL.
Z|W: What is some advice you would pass on to other artisans looking to start their own craft-based business?
Danielle: Be prepared for change - and learn to love it.
Starting your own business can be very challenging in many regards. The business you start with will change, and over time it will be molded into something different, something better. It’s so fun for us to look back at some of the shirts we started with. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like we are making any progress, but then you look back and you see everything that the Lord has taught you. I think it’s like that in life too. We get impatient and anxious to see change, but the Lord always provides. I’m thankful for that, because I get overwhelmed easily. LOL.
Banner Apparel + Zella Woods Designs are teaming up this week on Instagram for an #apparelwithpurpose giveaway! Each shop will be giving one winner $30 store credits to pick the merchandise of their choice. Head on over to @zellawoods for details on how to enter. Be sure to tag your friends so they can enter too!