We had the good fortune of connecting with Micah Griffin, Britten Hamilton, Jamie Bingham and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Micah, Britten, and Jamie, what do you attribute your success to?
When thinking about the things that happen on a back porch during the summer, some might recall long naps, cold drinks with friends, or even conversations about upcoming vacation plans. I doubt many would say starting an online business during a pandemic, but that’s exactly what happened; that’s how The Southern Spirit was born. A conversation between neighbors, best friends, and sisters occurred on a back porch discussing what was next for each of us in this new, crazy chapter of our lives. So, when we were asked, “What is the most important factor behind the success of our brand?” That was easy! We can sum it up in three words…God, family, and community. When we first started kicking around the idea of starting a business, we knew that first and foremost, we wouldn’t get anywhere unless we put God first in each decision we made. We’ve always done this in our personal lives, and we continue to pray, and pray hard, making sure we never forget that none of this is even possible without HIM. Secondly, we couldn’t be where we are today without our family. It truly does take a village and we have one of the best! From late-night “jar assembling parties” in order to quickly restock our cocktail infuse kits, building, transporting, and tearing down shelves for Round Top, or having our daughters create and star in our social media posts, everyone loves and supports us in their own ways. Lastly, we contribute our drive to make a difference in our community to our success. We started our business with the mantra “Love Thy Neighbor”. This can mean lots of things, but to us, it is the foundation of our business plan. We strive to be successful, so we can give back to our community. Every business wants to put in the hard work to make a profit, but we enjoy working hard, so we can see the impact we have, no matter how small, on our community. We always feature a charity that is important to us and 5% of our profits go to our selected charities each month. We’ve seen the impact our donations have on organizations we’ve supported like Stuff the Sleigh, which helps children and their families dealing with pediatric cancer, Cure Sanfilippo Foundation that brought light to a rare condition many of our friends never knew about, the Epilepsy Foundation, Colon Cancer Coalition that directly impacts our families, and JDRF in honor of our sweet friend to help fight against type 1 diabetes. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and it looks different for everyone. Is The Southern Spirit successful? Absolutely. We’ve been able to give over $5,800 back to our community in 2021 alone, and we still have the love of God and our family in our corner. We count that as a success!

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The Southern Spirit is a feeling of invitation and hospitality. When you come to our homes the first time, you are our guest, but the next visit…you’re family. It is our goal to pass that same feeling on to our customers. We want to provide products that bring The Southern Spirit into each and every home. How do we do that and still stand out from other larger home and decor retailers? We start by finding local artisans and craftsmen that we can work with and feature their unique and one of a kind items. While it isn’t always easy, we find the challenge the most rewarding part. We actually meet many of our vendors and even have the opportunity to visit some of their work spaces. We ask them questions to help us grow as a small business and create relationships. We see them making the products we buy. We see the excitement behind their eyes as they tell us the story behind one of their pieces and then, we get to pass those stories on to you! These are the conversations that carry over into our customers’ homes. These are the small things that are the big things to us. However, as we sit here and type this, we can’t help but laugh about how it began. It wasn’t an easy road to travel down. We didn’t know where we would get any of our inventory. When we first started our business, we were turned away by big wholesalers because we didn’t have a customer base. But, how do you get a customer base when you don’t have inventory? We saw those closed doors as failures at first, but eventually came to the realization that it was HIS plan all along. It forced us to start thinking differently, seeking out different avenues. Those closed doors opened new ones…doors that led to a collaboration with local artisans in our own backyard, where we helped in the design process of a few items. This gave us the confidence to expand our reach to other small local artisans across the U.S. You could say it gave us so much confidence, that we decided to dive into the process of making some of our own products. Within the last year, we have created our own line of The Southern Spirit cocktail infuse jars. So, what do we want the world to know about The Southern Spirit? We will always do our best to make you feel like family and we’ll have a sweet tea or a cocktail waiting for you. We will also ALWAYS give a percentage of every sale we make back to the community and world around us. That’s The Southern Spirit!

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.
Bellville is a unique, adorable, small town that seems to be growing on the daily. Some of the cutest places to stay in Bellville are at @thebluedoor_bellville or @countrydomesuites. Our square has a lot to offer from shopping to dining, so be sure to shop Michele Jewelry, Southern Trends, Buck Fergeson Originals, and the newest edition to the square, Farmacy Revolution. They are all family owned businesses with a lot of charm! While Newman’s Bakery is the most popular breakfast spot in town, you have to stop in at the newest cafe on the square, The Gathery – boasting healthy menu items, coffee and smoothies for breakfast and lunch. Dinner at 22 North Holland is a must. Sourcing his produce and meat from local area ranches and farmers, Chef Cody Vasek provides a delicious menu, hand-crafted cocktails, and lovely environment. If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to stop at the Awesome Sweet Shoppe, or enjoy a glass of wine at U BAR Wines or Ruffus Pleasant Wine Bar. It’s a great idea to stay the first weekend of any month, so you can enjoy Market Days and Farmer’s Market on the square, too! Lastly, cap the adventure off with dancing the night away to live music at the famous Kenney Store with an abundance of dance floor, both inside and outdoor, with a full menu and bar.

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?
There is family you are born into and family you choose. The Southern Spirit has been blessed to have the support from both, and they deserve our deepest gratitude. We want to first thank our amazing husbands, Jazz, Jeff, and Steve. These amazing guys have been there to pray with us, celebrate with us, and lend their muscles to make all the big things happen. Much appreciation goes out to Biggie, who perfects and builds all our designs. We owe much gratitude to our moms, aunts, cousins, and friends, who each bring their own talents and helping hands, as well as being our biggest cheerleaders. We want to give a big shout out to Audrey and Heather, who answered all the big and small questions we had about running a small business. We are also so thankful for Janell McPhail for supporting and promoting us whenever she can. Thanks so much to Brittany Griffin, who has done everything from allowing us to launch our business at her beautiful home, providing photography services, spending countless hours helping us decorate, and even letting us borrow furniture. We also want to give a shout out to Austin County Printing for providing all our promotional materials, as well as designing and printing our gorgeous labels for our cocktail infuse jars, and even letting us borrow equipment. We also can’t thank Emery’s Buffalo Creek enough for being a huge supporter of our business in so many ways!

Website: TheSouthernSpirit.com

Instagram: @southernspirithome

Facebook: @southernspirithome

Other: help@thesouthernspirit.com

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