Monday, October 26, 2020

Moms Supporting Moms | Chynna Hansen, Little Mama Shirt Shop

Chynna Hansen, her husband, Tyler, and their three sons, owners of the eBusinees Little Mama Shirt Shop

On an initial investment of $400, Chynna Hansen started an online shirt shop as a way to make extra income to help pay household bills while her husband, Tyler, went to school. “I think I didn't know I was an entrepreneur, maybe even when I was,” she says now about the decision.

Chynna saw that graphic tees were gaining popularity but that most of them did not have a flattering fit. “It struck me one day. The name came to me first,” she said. She started with seven designs and worked with a local screen-printer. Starting on Etsy and then announcing it on Facebook live, the idea was a success. “It was a lot of hustle. We dumped everything into the business for the first seven months,” she said.

 Chynna is known for the saying "Bringing Up Boys" and has trademarked the saying as her design.
“I was meant to be my own boss -- even if that came with a lot of heartache and a lot of struggle, it was what I was meant to do,” she said. She admits that she hadn't really accepted that she has a business until last year. There wasn't a ton of pressure on the business and Chynna was able to focus on the LMSS community, which has since changed as her husband has left his full-time job and joined the company.

LMSS has a VIP group of around 8,000 members. Considering the group, Chynna admits that she's scared to grow it because she likes the intimacy of the group as it currently is. The VIP group provides early access to sales, advice, and general mom “stuff.” It's important to Chynna to be active in the group every day, and she feels the personal touch has made all the difference. She likes showing that they are truly a family business and look just like their customers.

“We have worked hard to build a reputation of always moms supporting moms,” she said. “We always say it's more than shirts.”

A lot of the moms resonate with the need for community. Looking back, Chynna recognizes that she was lonely as a mom raising her kids. It took courage to say to the world, but she knew she needed to do it for herself and for others who felt the same way. That made her want to create a place where mothers could share information and lift each other up with without judging each other.

Although followers and customers don't see everything that is happening behind the scenes, Chynna works hard to show her business model is pretty transparent. She came from an entrepreneurial family, but never really understood the impact that had on her. She admits she has had good mentors in her parents, and they have always been there to answer her questions based on their own experiences. Still, a lot of what she has learned has been by trial and error and by just diving in.

When asked about working with a spouse, Chynna admitted it can be difficult but said she loves it. “He has a lot of good ideas and has phrases for shirts too,” she said. When her husband recently left his full-time job it was a risk but she admitted she needed him to help grow the business.

Chynna said that they have a supportive community but it has not come without some critics. “With eCommerce, people forget that there is a person operating behind the screen. You can't please every person, but you can try,” she said. She has worked through it by just figuring it out, knowing she's not alone because she has the whole community of LMSS behind her. “We have to choose every day to go in the positive direction that works,” she said.

Scaling was more difficult than starting, she said. She and her team are working hard to find resources to solve the problems that arise, and even though that can be intimidating their team is committed to LMSS success.

The future of the business is always on Chynna's mind, and she and her husband are looking to bigger plans for the future. She says she's not looking for giant warehouses and hundreds of employees, but anything is possible.


For more information on Little Mama Shirt Shop, visit their website at https://littlemamashirtshop.com/. You can find LMSS on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/littlemamashirtshop and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/littlemamashirtshop/.

Business Leadership Moment

Job descriptions and role clarity. Are you experiencing a different role than what your job description says? Does it say leader and yet you are acting like a job support staff? Time to self examine!