I recently had a chance to sit down with graphic designer and Happily Ever Tees creator Nicolina White (okay, we did this all online, but you get the picture).
Nicolina and her husband Cameron run Happily Ever Tees, a Disney inspired screen printing shop out of their Atlanta, GA home. They create super-soft, handmade t-shirts with Disney themed designs and Nicolina is the originator of the popular slogan “There’s Nothing a Little Starbucks and Disney Can’t Fix.”
We also chatted about our mutual love of Disney, her success on Instagram, and what’s next for Happily Ever Tees. For more information on how to order visit www.happilyevertees.com. Now let’s get to the interview!
Ever After Report: I see that there are two creators of Happily Ever Tees. Tell me your story and how this business came about. – By the way, all of these questions can apply to one or both of you.
Happily Ever Tees: Yes! I am a graphic designer and Happily Ever Tees actually started when I was trying to come up with some cute tees for myself to wear to the parks. A few of the signature designs actually started out as art prints in my other shop, designsbynicolina.com. My husband joined in on Happily Ever Tees back in July by learning how to screen print. He now handles all of the printing and production.
EAR: How awesome that you both get to work together! I know that all of your designs are inspired by Disney Parks. Can you tell me how your love of Disney Parks began?
HET: My parents have taken me to Walt Disney World since I was little. My great grandfather lived in the area, so whenever we would go down to see him it was part of our annual visit. As a lover of all things princess and fairy tale from the beginning, it had always been my happy place!
EAR: Tell me your favorite thing to do in your business.
HET: My favorite thing is logging into Instagram and seeing that I am tagged in a photo of someone’s special moment at Disney World. I know how special those photos are to people, and I love being a part of it. We have actually had a few customers get engaged and announce pregnancies in our shirts. That’s pretty awesome!
EAR: Definitely! It’s always nice to be able to share in those memories with people. So what would you say is the greatest challenge behind your business? For example, the screen-printing process, marketing, pricing, etc.?
HET: Hands down the greatest challenge is dealing with the post office. It’s so hard handing off our product to them and trusting it will make it there in time. Customers don’t always understand that we have no control over the delays the post office might have! That’s why I always tell people to order early!
EAR: Explain your process. How does a t-shirt go from the drawing board to a piece of clothing?
HET: Once we have an idea of what we want to do, we start sketching it out. Then I will either work on the lettering for it, like on [the] Wishes shirt, or get designing on the computer. Once we have the design, we go through the process of getting it screen print ready. Then we print a few samples, photograph them and add them to the shop! Then once we make a sale, tees get ordered, shirts get printed and then we pack up your orders and send them on their way! There are tons more little steps and mistakes to be made along the way, but that’s the general idea!
EAR: I love your company’s name! How did you decide on it?
HET: I have a very odd skill of coming up with names for products/blogs and businesses. Just ask my friends. So once I had the idea of what I wanted to do, Happily Ever Tees just came to me!
EAR: Which is your favorite t-shirt design?
HET: BEST DAY EVER. That’s the one I find myself wearing the most!
EAR: That’s a great shirt, for sure! Now, you recently hit 13K followers in Instagram! That’s amazing! What do you think is the most influential or important aspect about your Disney community?
HET: Thanks! I think what is so special about the little community we have created is everyone wants to show their Disney love even when they aren’t at the parks. I love that our shirts translate so well to your everyday life once you are home from your trip, or before you go!
EAR: How do you come up with your designs?
HET: Some of our designs are inspired by our friends and family, but most of them are just Cameron and I making tees we would want to wear. I also make an effort to not copy or take inspiration from others.
EAR: Your designs are definitely originals – I think that’s why people love them so much. Do you think your t-shirts enhance a Disney trip?
HET: I think our tees are super comfy! I love being comfy when I am at Disney because it’s usually long days. Anything that I can wear to be comfy and still want my picture taken in enhances my trip!
EAR: I absolutely agree! There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable at Disney. So do you have any plans for the future of Happily Ever Tees?
HET: NEW designs, and faster turnaround times, that’s our goal for the start of 2016!
EAR: What is one thing you want people to know or remember about Happily Ever Tees?
HET: I want people to know that we care so much, and we are so proud of everything we send out. Sometimes you have to pay a little bit more for a quality product with good customer service. I love that with Happily Ever Tees and especially through Instagram people feel like they have gotten to know us a little bit. I love having that special connection with our customers.
EAR: What is the most rewarding aspect of your business?
HET: The notes and sweet photos we get from our customers.
EAR: Describe your business in three words.
HET: Simple, Fun, Happy!
EAR: I’d like to talk a little bit about Disney in particular now. Can you tell me why Disney is important to you?
HET: As a creative person who turned her creative passions into a business, I have a lot to be thankful to Walt Disney for. I think a lot of people take for granted just how influential everything Walt did was for any person with a creative background. It becomes a great source of inspiration when we are there.
EAR: How often do you go to the Disney parks?
HET: We always went to at least one park annually growing up. Once Cameron and I got married, we went a couple of times together and finally decided to get Annual Passes since we love it so much! So with the Annual Passes the past two years we have gone at least three times a year.
EAR: So, I have to ask – Disneyland or Walt Disney World?
HET: Walt Disney World because it feels like home. I actually only have been to California Adventure outside of WDW.
EAR: Do you have a specific Disney memory that is your favorite?
HET: My childhood memories at Disney are some of my favorite, and they are forever saved in the photos I have from those trips.
EAR: Favorite Disney ride?
HET: People Mover
EAR: Favorite Disney character?
HET: Belle always and forever, but Minnie is a close second.
EAR: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me. It’s been a blast, and I have to say, I love your t-shirts! Is there anything else you want to say?
HET: Thanks for having me on your blog today!
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*All photos and accreditations can be found at www.instagram.com/@happilyevertees.