Who are you? Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is MeLissa Clarkson. I’m the co-owner of B-Town Threads. I absolutely love my hometown of Branson and my home state of Missouri. I’ve been married to my husband, Shad for almost 9 years and we have two children, Rynn 41/2 and Reid 1 1/2. We love spending our time outdoors, hiking and exploring the beautiful Ozark mountains. We have a family goal of seeing all of the National Parks in our lifetime.
What exactly is B-Town Threads?
B-Town Threads is an online Shop that sells modern, trendy, high quality tees and apparel with the purpose of generating funds to help those in need in our community.
What inspired you to start B-Town Threads?
Growing up here in Branson, I’ve come to absolutely love where I live and the people I’ve met, worked with and served with in my hometown. It was always disappointing that there wasn’t a shirt or anything available to adequately represent the beautiful scenery and people of my hometown. We have a small population of locals, with over 8 million tourists coming to visit every year. Most of what was available were generic “tourist tees”. I wanted to create and make designs that instilled hometown pride and love while also creating a business that could generate funds for local charity. I think it’s important for citizens to become invested in their communities and that starts with becoming united and having pride in your city. I wanted to create a culture of positivity and love for my hometown with a product that represents neighbor helping neighbor. Tees are a great way to convey messages and to silently represent what you love.
How did you come up with the name?
B-Town is the slang locals use for Branson, so it seemed natural to name the business B-Town Threads since the heart and soul of this business is uniting and strengthening our hometown
Every tee sold feeds someone, saves a life and supports foster and adoptive families, can you tell us about that?
I love my hometown so much and there are so many awesome non-profits here doing good work. I chose 3 Local charities that are close to my heart. I believe in making a “purchase with a purpose” so every purchase from B-Town Threads makes a donation to Christian Action Ministries which provides food to those in need here in the Ozarks, Cherish Kids which helps families and children in the foster care system and those who are going through the adoption process, and Options Pregnancy Clinic which provides support to women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. Additionally we have designed tees for other local non-profits and organizations with the goal of bettering our hometown and home state. We have made tees for the local fire dept, police dept, Veterans group, and area schools. We do whatever we can with the platform we have to help strengthen and promote area charities and organizations that in turn help those in need. It’s a beautiful thing to have people come together and unite, all with the purpose of helping others
Is there a favorite product?
I would have to say my favorite product is the “Heart of B-Town” tee design. This design was sketched to include an old bridge in the downtown of Branson, which has silently stood the test of time, seen many floods, the depression, the economic booms, and carries locals and tourists over the beautiful Lake Taneycomo. We included the phrase “small town, big heart”, because this moniker represents our hometown well. You won’t find a place with nicer, more giving and loving people.
What is your favorite part about running B-Town Threads?
Getting to work side by side with my best friend, Cortney as we make modern, fun, trendy designs that unite our community. Spending time being creative, meeting locals and tourists who are excited about having a design they are proud to wear and that also supports a city they love. As a SAHM, I’m constantly juggling the demands of a thriving business while managing my home and family responsibilities. It’s a delicate balance, but is full of teachable moments as my children are growing up seeing their mom pursue her passion, serve others and give back to the community we live in. I’m hopeful that I am inspiring them to work hard for what they believe in.
What is your least favorite part about running B-Town Threads?
Not having enough hours in the day☺️ A drive to help others in need can be so overwhelming, so there’s always a need to balance what you can do with what you want to do. Keeping this balance takes a lot of effort and surrounding yourself with a supportive and encouraging team.
How do you spread the word about your company?
So far, we’ve actually had zero budget for marketing. We’ve been so incredibly blessed to have such a supportive community and our company has grown organically. We’ve been contacted by local magazines and newspapers and individuals who want to feature us because of the mission of our company. When you provide a good product and the heart of your company is genuine and stays true to its goal, then people naturally gravitate towards you. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and twitter right now. As we continue to grow, we will eventually expand our team and add positions to help us spread the word.
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
I think it’s the tried and true advice that says to find your passion and build your business around that. From that foundation everything grows naturally. We started by designing for our business, but not long after opening, we were asked if we could make a design for a large conference. The first inclination was to say no, because that wasn’t what we set out to do when we opened, but we talked about it and decided to give it a try. From that first decision to say yes, we now have made designs for over 30 local businesses and charities. We also started offering wholesale and have many accounts now. These now account for over 50% of our sales. All that to say, be open to new opportunities that you may not have anticipated.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying?
The foundation of our company is Matt 5:16 “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven”
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
We hope to inspire other businesses around the world to set up their businesses as a social enterprise platform. So many communities could be strengthened and people helped if more businesses made it a part of their foundation to give back. We also want to ask people to support local and to make their purchase count. Look for businesses where your purchase has a purpose, so that your tee shirt, purse or shoes has meaning because you know that buying it supported a family and gave to those in need.