We had the good fortune of connecting with Karen Jane Pierce and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karen Jane, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Starting my business happened organically. After my son was born, I was a stay-at-home Mom and involved in school activities, church camps, races and fitness classes. Participating within these local communities, I discovered a niche that I could fill by designing apparel that promoted each groups’ activities. The connections I made socially during that time became my customers. Before long, student athletes, local companies, summer campers, gym rats and road race warriors were all wearing my designs. Only after dipping my toes with local organizations and activities, and seeing how well received my designs became, did I begin to think about what I had started as a business. I branched out and expanded beyond recreation apparel to corporate marketing and promotional products. In the beginning, I found that my business grew simply by word of mouth and happy clients. That early organic growth led to referrals between local businesses. I now have a thriving clientele spread across of Texas. Starting my own business was a gift I gave to myself, one that has brought me wonderful relationships and lasting friendships.
What should our readers know about your business?
I design branded approval and promotional products for schools, social organizations and businesses. My designs and product help my customers promote who they are, express their beliefs, build their brands and promote their products within their respective communities. I help give them a voice with a message to the world. I experience fellowship and community helping my clients’ businesses thrive. Each new client relationship begins with a vision, which becomes a message that is expressed publicly. Client collaboration allows me to hear their voice, understand their message, and custom design every product to give their message an audience. I provide my customers with concierge-level, personal service, and treat each project as if it were my only one.
I grew up in England as the child of a career Royal Air Force officer, I took the greatest risk of my young life leaving the United Kingdom on my own, at the age of twenty, with only a suitcase, a glimmer of hope and a pocket full of dreams. After time, I established a family, became an American citizen and raised a son who became a University of Houston alumni #gocoogs! After all those years, I took my second risk by developing my own business. I now have a thriving boutique firm that brings me satisfaction, pride and a client base who have become close friends. I have learned to overcome the feeling of risk by having a purpose and believing in myself.
When I started my business in 2011, it went by another name. But everyone started calling me “that Apparel Chick”, and the name stuck. Apparel Chick exists for one reason, to assist our clients reach out to the world. Apparel Chick may be small, but we think BIG!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have lived in the sweetest city in Texas, Sugar Land. for over 25 years and have watched it grow exponentially. While years ago, one would have to travel to Houston to have any fun, our City is just 20 minutes from downtown Houston and many of Sugar Land attractions are within a short distance from one another.
Home to 27 city parks, the Justin P Brindley Trail at Sugar Land Memorial Park is a 3.6 mile loop and is great for hiking, mountain biking, running and walking. We are lucky to have close access to so many green trails and park located just minutes away by car.
Sugar Land Town Square is a fun place to walk around and savor the ambiance that makes up the diverse population in the area. Many of the Square’s restaurants and bars are owned by Sugar Land locals, Restaurants such as Japaneiros, Jupiter Pizza and Waffle, Live Oak Grill and more, all support other small and local business. The Trough Juice Bar and Cafe in nearby Rosenberg is a cute places to grab lunch, juice or coffee, and then stroll around this historic, quaint small town.
If I am not outside biking or hiking in the park, I love to take and meet friends at Pure Barre Sugar Land and take a barre class Locally owned by my friend, Tanya Ponce De Leon, A great workout, guaranteed. The vibe is fun and friendly, and the classes are effective and challenging.
I love to catch a show at Smart Financial Centre, or weather permitting, seeing the Sugar LandSpace Cowboys at Constellation Field in the evening, or just patio people watch at one of the local spots in Town Square.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I give all the credit to the people and relationships I have built throughout the years in the community; the ones that have stuck with my from the beginning, and the local organizations I am involved with.
What I love about owning my own business, is the ability to be able to promote and encourage fellow small business owners. I have learned so much from others and I could not have become successful without the support I have received.
I love my community, my customers, my friends and family. I am fueled by positive engagement and the love I gratefully receive from those special souls who willing share their lives, and occasionally their business, with me.