Maker Profile: Tigersheep Friends
Meet Sarah and Colin Walsh, the owners of the energetic brand Tigersheep Friends, based in the Crossroads Arts district. Tigersheep Friends is known for their vibrantly illustrated prints, pins and t-shirts, which are playful and instantly put you in a good mood. Luckily enough, I had the opportunity to chat with them about their business:
How did the power duo of Sarah and Colin meet?
Sarah and Colin first met at Hallmark on the kids team. Colin left Hallmark to travel to Australia and New Zealand. He returned to Kansas City years later. Once he returned they reconnected on Facebook and have been together ever since.
Hallmark seemed like such a great fit for you both, can you tell me more about that?
Everyone says “Its like going to graduate school and getting paid,” Sarah explained. “People are wonderful and super talented, there are a crazy amount of resources and you learn to hone a work ethic.” Fresh out of school, Sarah was kind of insecure and explained how it takes a while to build confidence but over time, card after card, confidence builds and you believe ‘I can do this, I can deliver under demand.’ Lastly, both Colin and Sarah appreciate Hallmark’s warm and whimsical style, similar to Tigersheep’s vibe.
How was Tigersheep Friends born?
Originally it was called Petit Reve when Sarah was trying to raise money for her daughter’s foreign exchange program. With time and getting together with Colin, ‘Petit Reve’ didn’t feel relevant anymore. Hanging out one night outside of Potpie with some friends, somebody said something and Sarah and Colin thought they said “Tigersheep.” They loved it and thought it was a really fun name. They liked it because, as Sarah put it, “we don’t have to just be one thing.” “Sometimes we feel soft and vulnerable and sometimes we feel fierce. Tigers and sheep are complete opposites. Tigers are more leaders and sheep are more followers and are a more herd animal.” It’s similar to a ying-yang concept, and also mythical creatures have always had their hearts.
What was a game-changer for your business?
Locally, Strawberry Swing really grew our brand awareness, Sarah explained. In addition, all of the local boutiques who wanted to carry Tigersheep, like Wonder Fair in Lawrence and Midcoast Modern in Westport, made a big impact on their business.
What does Tigersheep creative process look like?
Colin’s client is Hallmark while Sarah’s varies from different companies, so Tigersheep’s process is not super strategic, it needs to feel personal and a little more unplanned. So, it feels more fun for them when they try to stick to theme to keep things cohesive but don’t want to rein it in too tight.
Who or what inspires you both?
· Folk art
· Hip Hop
· Street art
· Bruce Lee
· Mid Century Art and Furniture
· Books. Vintage Children’s books illustrator like Mary Blair
Sarah and Collin both find travel to be a big source of their creative impulses. The most influential trip for Colin is New Zealand and for Sarah it is Santa Fe’s Folk Art Museum.
What should we expect from Tigersheep Friends in the next few years?
Sarah and Colin want to develop menswear, fun ladies’ stuff, and kids apparel. They love making things with their hands, and want to be intentional with the things they are making. “Perhaps a fine art gallery show to compensate or balance the manufacturing side of the business,” Sarah explains. Ensuring they always make something by hand and that there is something they are always touching is an important factor to Tigersheep.
Since moving into the new headquarters studio they can offer workshops, pop-ups, open studios and offers insights to what they are doing. So be sure to look for them at the studio in the Crossroads, MidCoast Modern, Wonderfair and follow them on their Instagram @tigersheep_friends to keep with any new products or collaborations.