We had the good fortune of connecting with Camille Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Camille, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
If you would have asked me just a few years ago if I wanted to own my own business, the answer would have been a resounding NO. I’m not one of those amazing people who always knew that one day – they’d be their own boss. In fact – I had no desire for that life at all.
To be honest, I didn’t know many entrepreneurs at the time and the whole premise behind running all aspects of your own company just seemed like way too much of an undertaking. Besides, unless you plan to go this route specifically, traditional school curricula in the U.S. doesn’t teach you how to run your own business. But alas, here I am – running an online business selling pre-loved, one-of-a-kind t-shirts with original graphics.
So, that begs the question…”How did I get here?”
Thankfully, they *did* teach the three R’s — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in school. That’s information that stuck with me; but as I got older, I started to question the “fabrics of our lives” – if you will. Are they recyclable? What happens to them once we’re done with them? Like many others who spent their summers working at the mall – that was a portion of my teenage and early adult years. I loved it. I loved clothes, I loved shopping, I loved the entire experience!
Later on, I became a BIG fan of shopping at thrift stores. It felt amazing to give clothes a second go-’round because thanks to the TV show, “Project Runway,” I understood some of the work leading up to making a finished garment. At the same time, I’d find garments at thrift shops that were new with their original tags. To think – all that work and time put into this garment – and it never got its “day in the sun.”
I wished I could save them all from their eventual fate of heading to the landfill. But, how could I? I couldn’t then, and I still can’t now – but, what I CAN do is rescue the plain-front shirts that are in good condition and give them some sweet graphic designs and put them back out into the marketplace. By doing that – it creates a little landfill diversion and supports circularity in fashion. And that’s our special-t(ee).
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
One of the aspects about our brand is that our t-shirts are truly one-of-a-kind. The way they are sourced lends itself to that designation. Also, with the addition of the original graphics, when you buy a pre-loved t-shirt from us, not a soul on the planet has that exact same shirt. So, if you’re looking for exclusivity in your wardrobe, all while supporting the planet, you can find options here.
As with any business, the start-up process teaches you many things. Every step you take and challenge you overcome, you learn to fine-tune your original concept. I’m most excited about the next launch we’re adding and getting a chance to show it to our email subscribers first before rolling it out to the public! Since we’re operating with smaller batches and every t-shirt is different, certain sizes and graphics tend to go quickly! The amount of unwavering support from our customers and social media cheerleaders is nothing short of phenomenal!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We recently re-located the business from Chicagoland to Dallas, so there aren’t many places we’ve discovered just yet! The one place we consistently like to journey to is White Rock Lake. It’s such a beautiful, green space. I’m looking forward to discovering other green spaces where we can ride our bikes; spaces specifically designed for walking/jogging/strolling/skating/cycling here in the DFW area.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Lord, where do I begin? Holy Spirit, Activate! Hahaha. My parents, Derrick and Annie Campbell, for one have been instrumental in supporting me in my ventures throughout life overall. They provide the type of encouragement that everyone should be able to experience. In each of their ways, they have taught me a lifetime of lessons and for that – I’m grateful, grateful, grateful!
Each of my mentors from Score.org have also played a detrimental role in helping me move forward and keeping me accountable on the journey – for their services, I’m thankful and I highly recommend reaching out to them if you’re considering starting a business of your own.
Also, the incredibly talented graphic designer who brings my ideas to life for the brand and is my husband, is one who deserves the credit there. He puts in the work and with each new image, he somehow finds a way to make it even better than the last. LeVon Lee, I’m blessed to be rocking on this journey with you!
Lastly, here’s a shoutout to all of the people creating for the benefit of people, the planet, or both. Starting your own business may not be a “get rich quick” process, but when you continually revisit your “why,” it keeps you going and growing!