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Bringing People Together with the Gift of Laughter & Creativity with Witty Wears

Have you ever been at like a party or walking down the street and you see someone with a shirt that says something clever? And you giggle to yourself. Or maybe you’ve found something, or someone’s given you a gift that just matches your personality so well?

I’m so excited to introduce you to today’s guests, Jenny and Michelle of Witty Wears. They’ve been friends for over a decade, obviously bonded the way that moms do with their kids and such and they decided to take a little passion project, a little dream and make it a reality.

Special thanks to Northwest University for sponsoring the Passion Meets Purpose Podcast!

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Michelle: What started out as something that made Jenny and I happy, trying to laugh about things and laughter can be the best medicine sometimes, starting out just as simply as that, and then evolving to seeing how much it brings people together to come up with an idea of how can I represent myself in a way other than just words.

Sarah: Have you ever been at like a party or walking down the street and you see someone with a shirt that says something clever. And you giggle to yourself. Or maybe you’ve found something, or someone’s given you a gift that just matches your personality so well? I’m so excited to introduce you to today’s guests, Jenny and Michelle. They’ve been friends for over a decade, obviously bonded the way that moms do with their kids and such. And you guys decided to take a little passion project, a little dream and make it a reality. That’s what blows me away. You know, a lot of people have ideas, but you guys made it happen. So, let’s talk a little bit about Witty Wears.

Jenny: So, it really came to fruition when in the summer of 2020 Michelle and I were trying to figure out things that we could do because we were struggling like the whole world was with COVID, that we wanted to do things that would make us happy and do stuff together since we felt so apart. And that’s how it became Witty Wears. And it was born.

Michelle: Jenny was the one that would just be like, oh, I’m just gonna go for it. She wanted to buy, you know, she was like, no, if I’m gonna, we’re gonna start this little t-shirt business, I’m just gonna go for it and buy, you know, get the commercial heat press and set up a website and get going. And, and I’m more, so she’s just the ones just, okay, let’s just go for it, Michelle. I’m like, no, no, no. I’m more cautious. Let me try it out at home and practice on my little cricket machine. And so, she’s kind of like my big sister that was brave enough to go off on her own and start it, figure things out, work out the kinks and just, hold out her hand and say, okay friend, come along. Let’s do this together.

Sarah: I think that’s one of my favorite things about this, right? Is that you didn’t do it individually. You did this together and the friendship was so much of a part of it. Mm-hmm and I do, I love those different strengths. Okay. So, Jenny’s strength is clearly, you know, jumping in with both feet. What is Michelle’s strength, Jenny?

Jenny: Michelle’s strength is the one that is like, okay. Okay. Okay. Now, I know you have this great idea, but let’s go ahead and like, let’s really figure out why we’re wanting to do this. And so, Michelle is kind of brings, I, I can see the whole picture in my head and Michelle’s like, now let’s pull it all together and make it into a reality. So that is, Michelle is more of the, okay. Let’s map it all out and let’s put this into production. So that’s what. We do.

Sarah: So, I remember when you guys, I think I was one of your first Instagram followers and my favorite shirt that you had was something about like going to bed by nine o’clock what was that…

Michelle: ride or die? I’m ride or die until nine o’clock. Yeah.

Sarah: Yes. This is gonna be a successful business. And then you guys have done some like custom prints, like people will do, you know, if you go to Disneyland with your family tell me some of those.

Jenny: We have some of that like pull at our heartstrings that are more ones that we just want to do it because we are, we feel really compelled to just help to bring a little joy. And so, we have done ones for a little girl that is going through leukemia and going through chemo and helping to just allow her to go through that process. And like, honestly, we hope to be a part of her journey. And her, the last one we made is NoMo chemo. And we were really excited to make that one.

Michelle: And then it’s been amazing how we are able to bring a little bit of joy in kind of all situations, whether we’re making t-shirts to celebrate a wedding, or the end of chemo or make light of a friend that’s going through a serious health condition, or one of our favorites we asked a friend what her father passed away and we asked what was something that he always said. And so, we just put that simply on a shirt for her. And so it…

Jenny: just dropped it on a doorstep and she didn’t know. And…

Sarah: Oh, you guys, well, what was it? What was the saying?

Michelle: “Hey, there, kiddo.”

Sarah: I love it. I mean, on the surface, it’s like you print things on t-shirts, but below it’s marking milestone moments and it’s, it really speaks to the power of our words. Like you, you guys, and I, we sort of do the same thing. We speak life. And what have you learned about the power of those words? Like before you got to do the NoMo chemo you had other shirts because she was going through the process, so you did this whole journey with the family.

Jenny: I mean, Michelle, I think you can probably speak to it cuz you worked side by side with the client on what she was wanting and what actually…

Michelle: I mean, I, okay. So, in terms of learning through this whole process, what started out as something that made Jenny and I happy and you know, again, During the pandemic, trying to laugh about things and, you know, laughter can be the best medicine sometimes. Starting out just as simply as that. And then evolving to seeing how much it brings people together. To have, you know, to come up with an idea of how can I represent myself in a way other than just words. Like you said, you know, and so wearing a t-shirt or a hat, and this is we’re all together. This is a group we’re all together. So, celebrating something, whatever that might be. And so, in terms of what I have learned, I just, I guess, I didn’t know how powerful this idea of ours could, could be, and how it makes us feel and hopefully how it makes others feel.

Jenny: I think it’s been probably Michelle and I are in our little shop. We, I think we cry, well, we cry cuz we’re excited to like be doing something that is like loving for others. I think that that is probably like what makes me so happy is like something, our little idea is actually bringing joy to so many people and all it was is because we’re two friends that wanted to just do something that was just, would make us happy. But in the turn has actually been so life giving for others that we have been really blessed to be a part of this and be doing this for so many people.

Sarah: I love how much you wear your heart on your sleeve. It’s like my favorite thing about you. You have such a sweet, tender heart.

Michelle: She didn’t wanna cry, but that’s OK. Goodness, you do it.

Sarah: That’s who you are. And it is it’s who you are, and it shines, it shines through this project.

Jenny: Thanks girls.

Sarah: I like hearing about the different projects that you’ve done. What’s like your biggest group that you’ve done?

Michelle: I think probably our local little league, Pacific little league. Mm. Making all the team, the different hoodies for each team. Not their uniforms or jerseys, but just each team decides how they wanna represent themselves. And, oh, let’s do this logo or have it say this. So, we did, we’ve done a lot of different teams, and that is so fun when you walk around and see, you know, a little kiddo or, or a coach wearing something that, that we’ve made. And then fan gear, cuz it’s… Go ahead, Jenny.

Jenny: I, I think that it’s been, so both of our boys, I have to, Michelle has a daughter and a son, and her oldest and my youngest played all through Pacific little league, and so, during that time we loved the community that it offered and just the outreach to so many different people. And then when our journey was done with Pacific little league, it was so sweet to be able to still be a part of it, cuz it was a real, a lot of building of character and just getting to be a part of the local community that we live in and give back. And so, it’s been a fun thing for us to be able to shower, Witty Wears all over with all the different teams and whatnot.

Sarah: Do you guys ever feel pressure to come up with like a funny slogan? And you’re like, I mean, that takes some work. Do you ever like wake up in the middle of the night with a light bulb moment where you get just the right slogan?

Michelle: Some, no. I mean, it’s so funny because a lot of what has happened, it’s mostly people coming to us saying, can you put something together for my mom’s birthday? You know, or, you know, can you come up with an idea for this? And so, it’s like a little bit of a psychology project too, to, to be okay, what does this person want based on these clues? You know, trying to figure out what, what people want and what they’re gonna think is funny or, or, you know, as a nice design. Yes. I dunno. Do you, light bulb moments for some?

Jenny: No, I don’t. I think sometimes I run a lot of stuff, like my ideas before they come into actual by my sons, and they’re either thumbs up or thumbs down and I get a lot of thumbs down, but I think it’s funny, but maybe it’s because I’m a little bit older, so yes.

Michelle: Yeah. That’s like my breather don’t I’m just a mug. That’s my favorite. Yeah. Nobody, there’s like three people that think that’s funny.

Sarah: But Breathe or don’t, I’m just a mug.

Jenny: It’s on a mug. Really?

Michelle: Don’t breathe or don’t…

Sarah: OK. So, I think in the tone, right? Like on print, but when you say it, it’s funny.

Jenny: Yeah. Right. So, I’ll take that. I’ll take it. Okay. I’ll take it.

Sarah: For someone who has an idea like this, and is listening to this podcast, but they’re struggling with the, with the start button mm-hmm what advice do you have for them?

Jenny: I think I might take this a different direction. I was so in January of this year, when that was how we kind of began, like, so I listened to SPIRIT 105.3 all the time, and during it was the deep darks of January of this year, I was like, oh my goodness. I don’t. Oh, here we go. We’re still in this. I kept hearing catch the spirit and I I’m like Michelle. Like we wanna, this is what brings us so much joy. We like do feel good Fridays where we will time to time just drop things off for people on their doorsteps, just because we know someone’s going through something that’s joyful or a little bit hard. And that’s been something that we’re like, it feels good to us, but then we know that like, they’re so sweet to like, respond back like, oh my goodness, you just did that just because, and we’re like we did. And so that was part of our journey. Like how can we, if we’re gonna give, let’s give in a way that we’re giving back to the people that we love and like showing Christlike attitude towards like, just giving with nothing in return. But in turn, you get actually so much back when you do just get from your heart. And so that is…

Michelle: and I would say also just trusting and the gifts that God has given you, because sometimes you don’t realize that something that you have, or that you love to do is a gift. For example. True. So, I mean, I feel like I’ve always been somewhat of a creative person. I was always the one that cut out little decorations for every holiday and put them all around the house. I love to have parties. I love to, you know, to, to host people, and, but I never knew, okay, how could I combine that with the logical side of me, which is, you know, making use of my business degree. How can we combine, you know, the left, just creativity, people, the business element and the joy of working with a friend, you know, how can that all come together?

Jenny: Well, I, and I do Michelle, and I think that all the time, like we basically were like, God put, there was no reason that I should have been going to this preschool. We lived in Woodinville at the time. I drove to Mukilteo to have our children go to a preschool there. And I saw Michelle from across the parking lot. And I was like, I just wanna be a friend. And so, we, I kind of befriended her and I like that was God in motion. Like I was like, I’m just gonna go say hi, cuz sometimes it’s hard some from high school. I have my friends from college. I have like my family, but now I’m gonna go put my neck out there and go and just try to make a friend and sometimes it can be really scary. And so, Michelle looked at me and she sized me up and said, okay. And we’ve been friends ever since. And, but I do think that that is like, it was all part of a plan that we still didn’t really, we’re still working on and like going through together.

Michelle: And we’re still on that journey. And part of it too, we don’t know where, you know, where is Witty Wear gonna go in the future? We’re just, we are just trusting this process and. We’re having fun and hopefully bringing joy to others. And, and like I said, hopeful using the gifts that that God has given us and, and just trusting. Yeah. Just trusting him to take us to the, to wherever this journey’s gonna lead.

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Sarah: I bet your kids are enjoying watching you take this project on.

Jenny: They definitely are. So, the shop is in our home and Bodie and Brady are like active involvement, as well as Charlie and Celeste, they come and they help us do like the packaging. And I think it’s actually good for them to see us, cuz for so many years we were been involved in our children’s schools and at, in like making like, the lunch lady and it’s been a nice layering that they can actually see that, no mom and Michelle are actually like, we have a lot to do. We’ve got this project. We need your help. And I think that they’re a little bit, I don’t know, maybe they are proud of us, like in a way that they didn’t, they weren’t before, you know, I don’t know, like, I think we were just like, mom, I fell. Like, I remember getting phone calls all time from recess and I’m like running up there. Hi Brodie, are you okay? Oh, you hit the soccer goal again. Shoot. It looks like you’re okay. And we were just the run around, forgot your homework people, and now we’ve turned into being, I think they’re proud of us. I don’t know. What do you think?

Michelle: I do! And I think that, I think they it’s been eye opening for them to just see. Okay, this is, this is hands on a lot of hard work and the things that go into having your own business and putting yourself out there and saying, sure, yes, I can do that. And maybe we don’t exactly know how we’re gonna do it, but we’re gonna work through it as a team. And as a family, both of our, even our extended, our, you know, parents are, oh, my sisters. Yeah. Have helped us at times. My kids’ favorite thing that we have done, we participated in the Edmonds holiday market. And so, that involved getting up early, setting up the tent and bringing everything in and trying to figure out how we’re gonna set up our displays. And oops, now it’s raining now it’s windy now, what are we gonna do? They, you know, and then sticking around all day, helping us out and just kind of the thrill of speaking with people in our community. Yeah. So, that’s something that’s that my kids really have enjoyed and want kind of that, I don’t know the adrenaline or the adventure of it again. They keep asking when we’re gonna do that again.

Sarah: What’s one of your guys’ best sellers.

Michelle: Oh, it’s the Edmonds one. Yeah. Yeah. It’s the Edmonds. It’s just the plain old Edmonds t-shirts people.

Jenny: This is such, we have, we’ve been asked to do all the other like local cities or towns around us, and we will we’ll do it.

Michelle: We’ll do it. Yeah. Then this year city. Yeah. We’ll put that on a show. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It’s really simple.

Sarah: What was one of the earliest times, like in childhood where you see the gifts you’re using now, like kind of instilled in you?

Jenny: Okay. I, I can speak to that. I have always been, I may think my family could speak mostly to it. My sister and I are really close and there was never a time that my parents weren’t like, oh no, what’s she doing in a room? And it was like, oh, now we’re gonna put on a whole restaurant, mom and dad, you need to leave. We have a menu, host, like the whole food. Like, I have been always like a creative little, I don’t know, entrepreneur mean entrepreneur. When I went into school, I, my degree is in communications and advertising. And so, I think this is fun to actually see this idea of being creative, and actually the joy of giving to others and helping others create things that are, make them happy is like such a gift. I think the first time was like, honestly, the restaurants, like my sister and my sister was always the customer and I was always like the owner or the manager. She’s a little sister, so she always had to do everything. I’m like, okay, now I’m the teacher and you’re the student. And so, she was a good.

Michelle: Same. I mean, I had, I had my own menus for my restaurant. Yeah. You know?

Sarah: And I’m like the third one of this whole crew over, are you?

Michelle: Yeah, I totally get that.

Sarah: All of that stuff.

Michelle: This is the plan. This is what we’re doing. Oh, we put on place. I mean, I would dress up the dog. We had like the synthetic, like the, I don’t know if the electric piano with the music. Oh yeah. I mean, Always a production.

Jenny: Yeah, I see at our house, I think that’s why we get along so well. We’re like, oh, we lived very similar lives.

Michelle: Sticker sale, the front yard. the lemonade sales. All of it.

Jenny: So, I think you can say from an entrepreneurial standpoint slash creative, it started very young for both of us. we just didn’t know an organizing and lovingly bossing around people that to be like, let’s do this because it’s gonna be a great idea.

Sarah: Well, you guys thank you so much for your time today. I absolutely love this. By the way, we’re gonna link up to Witty Wears in the show notes. Is Instagram the best way for people to get ahold of you or your full on website?

Jenny: Instagram or our website is.

Sarah: Whatever you prefer. Before I let you go, I want you to each tell me like your favorite little highlight moment. Maybe it was someone’s reaction to something you created for them, or even just a moment working in the shop or with one of your kids. Like, if you had to summarize it all in one little Polaroid snapshot, what is the first picture that comes to your mind?

Michelle: Okay. So, I know I’ve already talked about the holiday market that we had so much fun at, but I would say a little snapshot picture was when we’d worked, so it was a lot of work to get everything put together. And again, our families all pitched in to help and get us set up, but just having my family come to our booth and just say, oh my goodness, wow. This is a lot of work. And I’m really, really so proud of you. That made me feel so good and that made me feel validated in all the, the effort that we put into this and, and everything we’re doing. It’s just as simple as that. It was just, I felt so loved and a part of like that this was a, a family journey and a community journey. And that that’s the snapshot I have in my mind.

Jenny: So, my first customer that was the first person to click and purchase something, happens to be one of my dear friends. And the shirt, she actually, Michelle and I are really good friends with her, and it’s the shirt that says grow in grace. And so, I wrote Ginger back, and I was like, Ginger, you are a lifetime, like you will always get a percentage off cuz you’re my very first customer. And you are the first person to believe in this. Like, make sure that the website worked believe in me in terms of like, okay Jenny, I did it. I purchased something from you. And then you were so sweet to like, take a picture and you wore it around proudly. And I think it was like, all the effort that came into this idea and knowing that like I did it, and I was probably the little girl at eight years old that was like, oh my gosh, someone likes something that I did came out. And I was like, and I did it. I’m like, oh gosh, I got a gold star for the day. And so, I think. That was probably the most, like I sat in, I remember getting it and I was sitting at my kitchen island, and I was like, someone bought something. I had just launched the site and it was Ginger. She didn’t, I didn’t ask her to do it, but she just did. And it meant a lot to me. So, and then I’m like, Michelle, we sold something.

Sarah: We sold something. You guys are delightful. And I’m so thankful that you are putting your talents to use in this way. And also blessing our audience with SPIRIT 105.3 socks. I’m so thankful for the partnership. Thank you for sharing your story. I think it would be amazing if someone hears this and they get like the gumption to start their thing, based on hearing the fact that you both did yours. It’s a ripple effective kindness that you guys have in our community. Thank you.

Michelle: Oh, thank you.

Jenny: Thank you.

Sarah: Our thanks to Jenny and Michelle of Witty Wears. You can clearly find the link because you found the podcast. So, you’re tech savvy. Thanks to Scott Karow, our wonderful producer with Terra Firma. Thanks to Rebecca Beckett, our content coordinator, she schedules it all. And thanks to you for listening. I’ll see you in two weeks.

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