The focus of the Starting Small series is to introduce you to some amazing people who have created their own businesses from scratch. They full of passion, life, and love. Once a month, we will feature a new business owner, and pick their brain regarding how they started their business, advice to those who have/wish to have a business themselves, making time for oneself, and most importantly, which they love most about being a small business owner. I hope these individuals will inspire you, motivate you, and fill your heart with as much love as they've filled mine!
Is it possible to have a small business crush?! Well, I say it's possible, because I totally do! Rah and Steve Adams are the power couple behind Wire & Honey, a hip clothing company with a message. They have a strong sense of self, their brand, and their beliefs--which is why I love them so. Get ready to be inspired!
Your company has such a unique and refreshing vibe! How have you been able to cultivate a specific style since opening your shop?
Rah: We also draw a lot of inspiration from our city. We were both born and raised in Baltimore and it’s such a fun, quirky city. A lot of our designs are influenced by local pop culture and flair as well as the deeper issues we see among the people here. Baltimore is beautiful, and gritty, and unique, and unapologetic and we’ve mirrored our brand to have a similar vibe.
Steve: Before we even started Wire and Honey we browsed numerous shops just looking for clothing for our son, Brady. We had a hard time finding designs that were edgy enough for our taste. So we set out to create our own line that fit our vision.
What motivated you to create a business as husband + wife?
Rah: I was a teacher in a past life. I stopped teaching to stay home with Brady and, as much as I love staying home with him, I missed having that creative outlet. I have a ton of big ideas and I love working with people but I lack some of the technical skills needed to make my ideas a reality. Steve compliments me in all the fields I lack. He is a web developer and is a whiz at Photoshop. He is somehow able to understand my creative ramblings and turn them into exactly what I pictured in my head. He is type A as to where I am more laid back. Our differences in talent and personality are really what makes us work.
Steve: Originally, it started with Rah just needing a website for Wire and Honey and I obviously jumped at the chance to create one for her. It wasn’t until we started working closely together on the site that I realized how much I enjoyed working with her and working on designs. The more involved I became the more we realized that we wanted to make this a tag team effort.
Your company has a wonderful way of spreading the word about vaccinations in young children. Can you talk a little bit about the "Vaccines Save, Bro" tee's and your commitment to spreading awareness?
Rah: I think every parent has that one issue that they are passionate about, whether it be car seat safety, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, whatever. Ours is vaccinations. We both come from families where almost all of our immediate family members are in the medical field. We are both science minded individuals. Also, on a personal level, we know several children who rely on herd immunity to literally stay alive. Ironically, about a month after we released our Vaccines Save, Bro tees the outbreak occurred in Disneyland and continued to spread throughout the country. So, we’ve made it our goal to spread awareness through both our Vaccines Save, Bro line and to donating to charities related to vaccination.
How did you decide on the name, Wire and Honey, for your company? What was your process like for creating a name?
Rah: We agonized over finding the *perfect* name for our company. We would constantly bounce ideas off each other and nothing seemed right. Then, one day, when we weren’t even discussing the business it just came to me, Wire and Honey, I said it out loud and Steve immediately looked at me and said, “That’s it!” We draw a lot of inspiration for our business from the culture and vibe of our city. The two things Baltimore is best known for are the show The Wire and the iconic Baltimore Hons. Wire and Honey just seemed like the perfect way to incorporate the city we love into our name.
What three pieces of advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting (or growing) their small business?
Rah: 1. Don’t be afraid to follow your passions even if it makes you controversial. Your passions are what are going to make you stand out from the crowd. (Steve): Stay true and authentic.
Steve: 2. Don’t get discouraged if there is not immediate success. It takes time to build an empire.
Rah: 3. Make sure you take time for yourself, your relationship, and your family. Running a small businesses is so stressful and so time consuming. You throw your soul into making your dream a success and it is so easy to get lost in the grind. It’s common to become burned out and overwhelmed. For your own sanity and the sake of your family you need to know when to walk away, take a break, and unwind.
Rah: For me, the most difficult part has been the work/family balance. It’s something I struggle with every single day. Some days I feel as if I don’t carve out enough time for work. Other days I feel like I don’t leave enough time for Brady. There are times when I am answering emails or updating social media and my son will literally hit the phone out of my hands because he wants me to pay attention to him. Most nights the “quality” time I get with Steve is packaging orders together or sitting side by side as we both work on our laptops. I feel like I can never be as present as I need to be in both situations and that is something that really wears on me.
Steve: I think the most difficult part is creating designs that are successful. Often times you will post a concept and you will get overwhelming positive feedback but once the product hits the shelves it doesn’t sell. That part is incredibly difficult.
Favorite memory so far during your small business journey?
Rah: That is my favorite memory, too! I was literally in tears. Starting a small business is scary. You pour your heart and soul into these designs and, as silly as it sounds, you become emotionally attached to them. Whenever we release a new design it is so nerve wracking that it is going to be a flop. Vaccines Save, Bro was one of the first designs we released and it is an issue we are so passionate about. That night was our first glimpse into what it could become. Seeing that other people believe in our message as much as we do was super emotional for me.
Steve: The first time we ever restocked Vaccines Save, Bro we were so nervous that we had overestimated how much would sell and that no one would want to buy our product. I remember sitting on the couch after they went live on the site and watching Google Analytics and seeing the amount of traffic on our site. The support was more overwhelming than we could have ever imagined and it was the first time I realized that we might really have something special.