Growing up in the Pecos Canyon there weren’t exactly a lot of children around to play with…unless you count the 15o or so kids who were at Brush Ranch each summer. But really, the residents who lived in the Canyon all year around and who had kids were few and far between. It was a beautiful place but it was 45 minutes to the nearest “big city,” Santa Fe, and a good two hours to the nearest major airport. It took us a solid 15 minutes to get to the nearest gas station growing up, and if there was snow on the roads, you better believe that Highway 63 was about the last place the plow went.
But, there’s just something about growing up in a rural area that makes a relationship special, and with the help of social media, I’ve been able to stay in touch with some of the few kids we grew up with, even though we all went our separate ways many years ago. There was a family about 8 miles south that we became close with when I was around 7 years old (this is a complete guess). Their family had 4 kids when we met, and eventually 5. I was just younger than the two older sisters, Rachel (the younger of the two), and Amanda. I remember funny things about being friends with them and how their family was different than ours. I remember the giant stacks of pancakes their mom would make and something about them tasted a little funny to me–turns out, they were whole wheat, ha (says the mom who bribes her kids with “ice cream”…see my last post for an explanation). I remember chasing chickens in their backyard garden and making colored water with hollyhock blooms. I remember the linoleum on the floor of their house and the shelves that were in their living room that were from a restaurant supply store. I remember the old, broken, walk-in refrigerator that had been converted into a playhouse, complete with a tiny window (genius!!!), and I remember the giant juniper trees near the road that we would climb in and hide to watch the passing cars. I remember making up dances to Talking Heads songs, and “selling” our art projects to our parents.
Their house is full of so many good memories for me and I’m thankful that our families have stayed in touch over the years (I found a really stellar photo of all of us from 2009 but the fact is, no one cares to see grown adults who were friends as children with their arms awkwardly around each other, so I’ll spare you that one), even if we hardly ever see each other. Sometime in junior high or high school they moved first to California, and then to Texas and we lost touch for a bit, but after the eldest sister worked at Brush Ranch, we’ve kept in touch here and there throughout the years. When I was in Texas last spring, my mom and I went to visit their family outside of Austin. We introduced our kids for the first time (Amanda has twins too!!) and enjoyed catching up. We’ve since stayed in touch through social media and through a very exciting venture that these two lovely ladies have launched, Little & Mighty, a clothing company for kids.
I asked Rachel, Amanda, and their partner Komal to share a little history and personal insight. I thought about editing it and only sharing some bits and pieces, but then I got lazy. Well, that was part of it, but I also just really loved reading about Little & Mighty in their own words and thought I’d share. I sent them a few questions and here’s what I got back…their candid answers, determination, and yearning to have what’s best for their particular brand of parenting is what I love about these ladies.
Without further ado, I give you: Little & Mighty.
All the content below in gray was written and emailed to me by Rachel…and I’ve written another thing or two at the bottom (you’ll want to keep reading because there’s a discount code in there too!)
Little & Mighty has been in the works for about six months. One random day, Amanda and I had been talking about clothes for kids which was pretty normal. She went looking online and sent me this (email below). Meanwhile I’d been googling toys and only found kitchen cleaning supplies for the little ladies and sports gear for the little men. Awesome.
Email From Amanda to Rachel, April 16, 2015
Browsing Carter’s toddler clearance tshirts and checking out their messages …
Boy: draft pick, built for speed, best can’t rest, athletic department, team captain, department chief, all-star champion varsity warrior, keeping it cool as always, it’s hard work being this cute. Geckos, fish, dogs, alligators, dinosaurs, tigers, vehicles.
Girl: you make me oh so happy, smile, love, mommy loves me, super cute, hello sunshine, super sweet, adorable, dreamer, oh happy day, cute like mommy. Dogs, butterflies, ballerinas, teacups, hearts, cats, pink, mermaids.
I need to find a gender neutral high quality simple low cost not terribly stereotyping toddler clothing vendor!
Email From Rachel to Amanda, April 17, 2015
Oh my. Exactly.
Yeah I need one too. The stereotypes are a bit much! Maybe we start one! That would solve it. I know a screen printer who could be our supplier.
Email From Amanda to Rachel, April 17, 2015
Perfect!!!! I do the drawings, you pick colors, materials, etc. and manage inventory, Jess prints, Komal mails (she always wanted to own a post office). Hmm hmm hmm!
Email from Rachel to Amanda, April 17, 2015
I wasn’t kidding…
Email from Amanda to Rachel, April 17, 2015
Neither was I!
Poof! It was settled. Easy as pie in a few emails back and forth. The next day, Komal was all in and off we went to find a name and decide on a concrete concept.
Sidenote: So Amanda and Komal met years and ago after college while they were both working for the state. I knew Komal via Amanda and would see her occasionally over the course of ten(ish) years or so. I heard via Amanda every few months that Komal mentioned the three of us going in business together. I always asked, doing what? and the answer was ‘not sure but something’. I guess she knew about Little & Mighty way before Amanda and I ever did. Haha!
Back to my story: a few things were easy. We wanted ‘wholesome’ designs, quality shirts and stuff that we’d put our kids in. Amanda dusted off her drawing skills and produced The Toad (the first one) and we were hooked. Next came the Zebra and we were completely without a doubt why-did-we-not-do-this-sooner hooked. We all knew we wanted to stay away from the mainstream stuff and stereotypes that you find in all the major stores. Something a bit different. Wholesome but not too crunchy. Not glaringly pink or blue. Neutral would do. We knew the shirts needed to be good quality so we spent a few months searching and testing. Some were horrible, some were okay, we love the ones we settled on. The bulk of the work and planning was done in about a month. The other five months were spent searching for a name.
Sidenote: Our brother, Jesse owns a design and screen printing shop so we naturally gravitated towards shirts to start to work with him.
And it was quite a search. We have lists and lists, some horrible, some bleh, some meh that were almost the ones. Looking back at some of the almost winners…eeek. Glad we didn’t settle. I’ll spare you all the losing choices except for one of my favorites. Over the five months this took, each one of us would randomly think we’d hit gold. Like true gold, you two ladies have to agree and then we’ll be off, gold. So, one of us came back from some trip somewhere with a ding ding ding moment and sent the group the ‘I found it email, this is our name, let’s celebrate’. Mind you this happened about weekly from one of the three of us. It was “Mudstains.” Yes it screams kids and yes my clothes growing up were always covered in mud but no, Mudstains only screams Skidmarks and no just no. I digress, but it was pretty funny at the time.
The name Little & Mighty came after reading a blog post from one of my favs, Kelle Hampton. She had posted a picture of her daughter in a shirt that read, “And though she be but little she is fierce.”
I saw Amanda a few days later and mentioned the post, suggested Little & Mighty and after we sat on it for a day or two it was settled.
Our name is so perfect for kids. Little & Mighty should be every kid’s slogan. Quite literally every single kid, no matter where they came from, how they got here, where they are going or anything else. Not to get too cliché here but all kids are like little packages of potential. Potential for all sorts of things including an epic tantrum at any moment. It’s not all sunshine and roses all the time. Potential for anything and everything. They all have different challenges and strengths but they are all little and they are all mighty. They are like little packages of mighty abilities is how we look at it. They can do anything. They are so innocent and so powerful and so themselves all at the same time. So our name is so simple and so literal. Small in size, large in potential. I think it resonates with a lot of people for a lot of different reasons which is awesome. I think the blanket way we think of it resonates with all parents and then it touches a bit deeper with some which is just lovely. We love childhood. We want to celebrate it and encourage it. Our message is two-fold. We want kids to ‘go adventuring’ and explore the great big world. If our designs or styles or anything about us encourages that, then we’ve succeeded. Our styles are outdoorsy and they pull the coolness factor out of little things and big things. We aim to highlight the beautiful world we live in. While exploring we hope and know that kids will discover some of their mighty abilities. The mighty likes, the mighty dislikes, the mighty curiosity, mighty courage, mighty challenges, mighty joy and mighty fears to name just a few. There are so many ways in which kids can discover how mighty they are and we love that. We really want to celebrate childhood. Pure and simple childhood.
The future is big and bright and we are so excited. We just launched the first of our baby designs. We are currently working on adding a few more and getting some long sleeve selections into the baby age range. We want to expand in a few directions. We want to add in some NB – 3M designs and also expand to youth 8-12. We also are coming up with some potential additional items we can add to our various age ranges to compliment the shirts (potentially sleepwear, hats, pants, outerwear, you name it). We are still flushing that out. We are definitely open to the idea of a brick and mortar location a bit later down the road. We want to keep the handmade touch and in house designs and local printing. Our shirts are all made in the usa (sweatshop free). We like handwriting notes to the customers and talking to them and hearing their stories and knowing their kids’ names. We like hearing how our customers have mighty kids and what adventures they went on in their L & M gear.
The Little & Mighty big people:
I am a mother to a very spunky, strong minded little 16 month old girl, wife to a very caring and gentle man, daughter of two parents who have showed me that with hard work and honesty anything can be achieved and a little sitter to a big brother I am very lucky to have (thanks for everything bro J)!
Family and friends are very important to me for they are who have always been there for me through good times and bad times….Framily – nothing can take place of that bond! Transplanted to South Texas at the young age of 4 I know nothing else than Texas as home and I love it! Although I love to travel, Texas is always home.
I work a typical 8-5 job in cube land but have been recently blessed with an opportunity to work with two close friends to create fun and imaginative clothes for little ones! Being a co-owner for Little & Mighty has been an absolute joy! What’s better than working with 2 great friends, being creative and sharing pride in our product! As Little and Mighty grows I hope this will allow me to step away from the 8-5 grind and spend more time with my family.
I am mom to three little girls, including twins, and married to a Transylvanian who I first met when we were both counselors at Brush Ranch. In college I was really drawn towards studying the environment and afterwards I worked for some years with safety regulations for drinking water in Texas. I love traveling and outdoor activities, and feel lucky I was able to be a full-time homemaker since becoming a mama. I am especially excited that I get to work with two amazing women, that I get to draw our designs (artistry had taken a back burner for some years prior to Little & Mighty) and that our efforts help inspire littles to go adventuring!
I am a mom to two little guys and married to a wonderful husband and dad. We moved a bit as a kid but my fondest childhood memories are from our time in Pecos exploring the mountains. Austin has been my home mostly since then and we love it here. I graduated from Texas State with a degree in business management and have been using that degree since. I currently work full time from home at a marketing company.
As Rachel says above, the name Little & Mighty resonates with parents in so many ways, and most certainly with us! Our kids are sooooo little and soooo mighty!! There’s just something about a preemie (or two) that makes them fighters. This clothing line is PERFECT for us for so many reasons. (One of those reasons might be because I struggle on a daily basis to keep my kids clothes organized and having gender neutral, high quality clothing is just way easier than sifting through the pink and the blue, the polyester and the made in another country cheap-o junk.)
Little & Mighty shared their baby line with us for the kids birthday and I’ve wanted them to wear their Little & Mighty gear every day since! My big plan was to have them wear it for their birthday party and share pics of them playing…well, the weather was awful, so my grand plan of having some party time outside, was squashed, and instead our 1,000 square foot house was FULL to the brim with people and kids and there was no way I could get any photos at all. Rest assured, the kids were super cute in their Little & Mighty gear.
I was able to snap a few pics this morning while they played with their birthday play dough. Our adventuring outside time has been limited recently due to very cold weather (for us…it was 17 degrees when we woke up this morning) and a lingering cough–we certainly don’t want to end up in the hospital again!
And, use the code HEARTOFUS for 20% off of your order now through 12/24/15…I can’t think of a better Christmas present!!