founder: Tiffany Miller
founded: June 2012
product: Fashion accessories, including flower hair clips.
goal: Expand online presence and create internship program
experience: Miller is a special education teacher at Milwaukee College Prep. She previously taught at South Division High School, and holds a master’s in urban special education from Cardinal Stritch University.[caption id="attachment_356481" align="alignnone" width="770"] Miller
Tiffany Miller wears a big, colorful flower in her hair every day. Not a real flower – a fashion piece made of fabric attached to a hair clip.
“I got tired of wearing the retail flowers that were one color or tore apart really quickly,” Walker said.
So she decided to make her own flower hair clips, mixing bold patterned petals and buttons to express her own style. One clip features blue denim, white silk and spotted animal print petals joined together by an antique button in the middle. In another, black silk petals surround a unique black-and-white-striped button. Miller eventually formed a business, called FlyBlooms, to sell the clips.
After a while, she expanded into headbands, scarves, clutches, earrings, lapel pins and other handmade adornments.
Miller, 38, currently makes all of FlyBlooms’ products out of her home, and sells them online and at craft fairs and events around Milwaukee. As a full-time special education teacher at Milwaukee College Prep, Miller does most of her work for FlyBlooms in the summer, and planned to be at Bastille Days, Locust Street Festival and other outdoor events this summer. From Aug. 16 to Sept. 16, Miller will also have her own retail space at 339 W. North Ave. through the Pop-Up MKE initiative to fill vacant city storefronts.
“Managing (teaching) with this creative business and regular life, I’m a mom as well, it can be challenging. But creativity has always been my outlet for stress relief,” she said.
Clutch purses have become FlyBlooms’ most popular product, since Miller includes straps and inside pockets on her clutches – which can be rare and are very appreciated by customers who need slots for credit cards, lip gloss or other small items.
Miller is creative and has a passion for guiding young people, so she’s found a way to do both.
“I do see myself expanding to offer internships to young people who have an interest in fashion design or sewing or just want to launch new products themselves,” Miller said.
Any profits Miller makes on her products, she invests back into the business. She’s working on expanding her online presence by using e-commerce tools like Shopify.
“There’s a lot of things that you kind of learn and figure out along the way,” she said. “It’s one big creative experiment that is working out for me.” ν