From Our Family To Yours: A Sweet Story
This little company is a true family business in every sense of the word. If you decide to partner up with us, you're partnering up with a business probably very similar to your own. No reps or robots (we can do the robot moves, but not that well), everyone here wears multiple hats, the kids pitch in to help during crunch times, and we are never NOT juggling home/kids/family/commitments/work issues just like you. We know. That's why we're always going to make it as easy as possible for you to work with Mint!
Our family business starts out with the neatest story. Mint's parent company, Flying Circle, was started on the family ranch over 30 years ago by my in-laws, Joy & Jim Chittim. Joy's entrepreneurial spirit bloomed on the ranch, moving down from the big city of Dallas in the early 1970s. She had moved far away from her own family and the big city and onto a ranch in the middle of the Texas Hill Country. She and Jim were so creative and an excellent team--they had lots of entrepreneurial adventures together and have designed several innovative products along the way. Eventually, Flying Circle came to be. What started out in a few modest barns modified with concrete floors & sewing machines has grown into something that's quite an operation today.
Two hundred years ago (just kidding, 24 years ago) I left my own family and favorite city (Chicago) to move down to Texas with Jimmy to help his mom out with her rapidly growing family business. Jimmy dove in to learn the responsibilities of the military sales side of Flying Circle, and & I pitched in at Flying Circle to help with what was called the "Monogram Line" back then. The Monogram Line serviced around 100 regional accounts in the Texas/Louisiana/Alabama area, mostly all members of Monograms America. Some of you might remember our first styles--the tri-color nylon travel set, accessories made with Texas-grown denim from Lubbock, and the famous #102 pink duffel! Joy built that, as well as several other divisions of diverse bag sales departments. At the time, Flying Circle was one of the only suppliers of monogram blanks to the market. Joy allowed me to add ribbon trims, introduce new fabrics and styles, and try new trade show venues, some of them major flops. While working on the Monogram Line, I continued to travel to NYC quarterly with my line of hand-beaded handbags, I continued my Official and Very Magical Tooth Fairy Kit business, and all kinds of other projects and ideas that have long been put to pasture. As my own parents were also entrepreneurial in nature, I luckily had all kinds of support & mentorship from both sides of our families. It was an initiation period of 'OTJ' training, trial by fire, dotted with both small successes and failures.
Baby Jack's arrival inspired all kinds of new perspective (some of you even probably remember me having to sleep under the table in Atlanta Temps one July market--I had horrible morning sickness!). The very moment Jack could hold his own bottle, I had to start using the creative side of my brain again. It was time to get busy with the "Monogram Line"--armed with a little creativity, a million ideas & an awesome team that included my friend & coworker Lauren P., Mint came to be after one truly terrible WWW Magic Show in Vegas. We could've done snow angels in the aisles--there were no buyers--but it turned out to be the best show ever. In our spare time (which was the entire length of the very expensive show with zero orders written), we attended what turned out to be an incredibly pivotal conference on branding--the guest speaker was the CEO of UGG. The beginning of an entirely new name, brand, logo, website, lineup of products, display, look, and chapter was born on the airplane ride home, drawn out on barf bags and backs of unused order forms.
Luckily, our new launch of 'Mint' went over pretty darn well and it quickly took off to the next level. We grew from 10x10 tradeshow booths with paper tablecloths & hand-drawn line sheets to permanent, award-winning showrooms in Atlanta and Dallas Market! Today we're proud to send our Mint boxes to over 4,000 retail storefronts & web-based business partners across the US & international locations like Sydney, Hong Kong, Ecuador, Singapore, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, Turkey, Israel, London, and Toronto! Woo-hoo! It has been quite an adventure for all of us, to say the least. I am so grateful for the loyal following & continued growth, and especially to my mother-in-law for letting me follow my passion with her business the last 23 years.
Lots of people keep Mint running smoothly, like Diego, Jordan, Alma, Maria, Adrienne, Keith, & Dustin. We have around 23 employees today (27 if you count office dogs & our life size Buddy the Elf & Chewbacca cutouts we scare each other with), but the Mint-dedicated office is a small crew-- and we do the best we can for you every day (well, except Fridays--we offer all Fridays off as personal care days for our company). We strive to continue serving you with a brand you can trust; to maintain low minimums, to provide excellent customer service, consistently crappy grammar, our promise of a lifetime service warranty on our products, to produce safe materials & products, and to continue reasonable wholesale prices & practices.
Needless to say, all of us at Mint appreciate you and also the crazy road we've all been on to keep our small family businesses alive--the risks, the sacrifices, the frustration, the joy. Especially the last 3 years; this 'character-building experience' seems to be an understatement. Mint wouldn't be possible if it weren't for your continued loyal following. We love working with our customers and I love creating new things for you & your customers. Thank you for the opportunity to bring you & your customers new things each Market!
Jack's Mom, CEO of Flying Circle Inc., Founder & CEO Mint (Sweet Little Things)