Leicester – A Christmas gift turned into a career for Leicester Carla Silver. Last December, she got herself a Cricut Maker, a smart cutting machine to make custom t-shirts.
“I just started looking for Christian graphics and started printing and making those on my machine. That’s how inspired Ts came to be, as an alternative to what’s out there,” Silver says.
Silver is a big t-shirt fan. Customizing her apparel gives her “self-expression” while staying comfortable and practical during the day-to-day.
“I wear t-shirts a lot [while] cleaning the house and taking care of things around here. I don’t really dress up a lot unless we’re going out, I don’t have time to get really dressy,” Silver says.
After friends and community members began complimenting her designs, Silver decided to open a website, called Inspire Ts, to sell both t-shirts and other knick-knacks. The store opened in February. Its success allows Silver to run the business full-time.
Her t-shirt designs range from Christian, patriotic and sports teams among others. The site also sells a wide assortment of other items, including 3D pop cards, makeup, nail designs, mugs and face masks.
“I support the military and our veterans and police in America because those are things that are very important to me, and I want to represent that in what I do. I also want to spread the Good News of Christ through my shirts,” Silver says.
Inspired Ts has social media presence on nearly every platform. Silver uses videos, photos and other posts to connect with the local community and promote her designs.
In the next two years, she hopes to open a storefront in the Leicester area. She previously opened the store, Curious Jane, in the Woodfin/Weaverville area that has since closed. It sold books, household items, clothing and more. Though the business was ultimately unsuccessful, Silver says she learned a good deal about managing a storefront and necessary steps before opening.
“I kind of leaped into [Curious Jane] before I knew what I was doing… I really would love to open a small store [for Inspire Ts]. I’ll want the chance to do it again and succeed, but first I want to get community support and a footing in the community before I leap into [a storefront].”
You can shop products at Inspired Ts Co.’s website: https://inspiredtsco.myshopify.com/