Owner of Mint Elephant Apparel & Gifts Takes Multitasking to the Extreme

Wearing many hats takes on a new meaning after chatting with Katie Harris, owner of Mint Elephant Apparel & Gifts. 

Name: Katie Harris
Company: Mint Elephant Apparel & Gifts
Title: Owner
Years in Industry: 4

How did you get started in the industry? 

KH: I purchased my first heat press in 2015 with the intentions of making vinyl T-shirts for myself. To recover the cost of the equipment I thought I’d start a little Etsy shop until I recouped the cost of my investment. Once the shop opened, I survived a hectic holiday season and thought, maybe this could be something. I never looked back from there. I moved off of Etsy onto a standalone website and have transitioned into a wholesale only business supplying graphic Ts and other gift items for boutiques across the U.S.

What does a typical day look like for you?

KH: My day typically starts with making lunches and sending my kids off to school. Once they are gone, I move into my home office to start up my DTG printer and get going. I typically print for 8-10 hours a day, but productivity slows once my kids get home from school. Intertwined with printing, I design new graphics, promote to my customers, and prepare shipments. You could say I take multitasking to the extreme.

What have you learned along the way, and what advice do you have for other women?

KH: I have learned to keep pushing. When I first started in this business, I had a little craft machine cutting vinyl. Once my demand grew, I knew offering something more professional was a requirement.  I had to learn a lot in a short amount of time to get my DTG printer up and running. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but two years into having this machine it’s been worth it. I feel like I know my printer inside and out now.

How do you stay motivated in the day to day?

KH: I stay motivated because my customers require me to. My business is focused on supplying other small businesses with products, so seeing them succeed with items I make keeps me motivated.

What’s one highlight from your career you take pride in?

KH: I take pride in the fact that my products are my designs. I create the artwork and print them myself, and seeing a finished product brings me so much joy. I’ll never forget the first time I was walking through an event and saw a random stranger wearing a custom shirt I did for a boutique. I was filled with so much excitement. It makes every day worth it.

Allee Bruce

Alexandria Bruce

Alexandria Bruce is the former managing editor of GRAPHICS PRO magazine.

View all articles by Alexandria Bruce  

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