10 questions with new T-shirt company Southern Chill
The South: home to football Saturdays (and Fridays), tailgates, hunting season and fishing all year round. There’s just something special about it. This love for our home turf is exactly what inspires the team at Southern Chill.
Operating under the motto “live life so chill,” sisters Susan Windham and Angela Leonard along with mom Danni Shobe cultivate eye-catching designs in more than 90 styles to share with buyers across the country. We recently sat down with Windham to learn more about the brand, its creation and where it’s headed:
1. Was it difficult or exciting starting a company with family and friends?
It was exciting for sure! The three of us have always liked to work on projects together and were looking for an opportunity to spend more time together and involve the rest of the family.
2. What is your professional background? How did you get into the retail field?
We come from three very different backgrounds, and we have each naturally gravitated to our own space in this business. Danni is an artist. She is known for her acrylic-on-canvas paintings, so it’s no surprise that she directs the creative side of things and develops all art and designs. Angela is a details person, so she is in charge of inventory and working with our bookkeeper to manage the financial aspects of the business. I come from a marketing and communications background, so I focus more on our social media, marketing and our website.
In terms of how we got into retail, we picked the product first and that naturally brought us into the retail market.
3. When did Southern Chill open and how has it been so far?
We started the business in late 2019 right before COVID. Not ideal! But we were able to spend quarantine refining our messaging and website and developing new designs for our T-shirts and tops—plus investigating more about jumping into the wholesale marketplace. It’s been good! We learn something new every day and are building and growing.
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4. What sets your brand apart from other similar Southern brands?
To us, the South is a feeling, not just a location. We hope our designs tell a story about our Southern culture and the things we do in our downtime. We are about good friends, good food and good times. We celebrate everything with festivals and parades. We love our SEC football (or at least the tailgating). And we do things together with family and friends.
We settled on T-shirts as the product for this message because people often share what they love or what they do on a T-shirt. We felt like it was the perfect medium for the message.
5. What is one thing you think customers should know about your brand that they may not be aware of?
We do our best to find terrific products (and we try to source from the USA). We print locally. We hire LSU interns to help us with certain aspects of the business.
On the lighter side of things, times have happened where we needed a photograph of a new shirt and our models were unavailable. We own a few wigs and have been known to throw one on and pose for the photos ourselves!
6. Can you briefly explain your slogan “So chill” and what it means to you?
Our full slogan is “Live Life So Chill,” and it is a play on words. So Chill is short for “Southern Chill.” The motto is about living your life with the chill feel of the South—the fun, festive, family and friend-filled way we do it.
7. How often are new styles added?
It’s irregular, but at this time, we have around 90 designs. We were hyper-productive during COVID quarantine. At this moment, we are averaging closer two to three per month. It’s all about when inspiration hits!
8. How has the brand grown or changed since you launched it?
We eased into the business with our online store in late 2019. Since then, we have grown into the wholesale arena, too. We like the idea of spreading the chill farther and farther. We are in stores in most SEC states.
9. What can we expect to see from Southern Chill in the future?
We have a broad range of designs—from gameday themes to hunting and fishing themes to beach-themed designs. We plan to continue to expand on the collections and continue to tell the story of Southern living.
10. What inspires Danni to create such fun designs?
Danni needs nothing more than getting together with our extended family (at the beach, at a ballgame, or in our own backyards) for inspiration. We’ve each lived elsewhere, away from the South, and MISSED it. We really do have something special here. We started Southern Chill brand to promote “the feeling” of the South.
Southern Chill shirts are available at sochill.com or in-store at Harper’s Haberdashery located at 16645 Highland Rd.