Culture Flock has come a long way in nearly seven years. Co-owners and life partners Brittany Bilyeu and Summer Trottier began their screen-printing business in what was essentially a storage closet in the back of the former Summer Fresh grocery offices. Today, they operate out of a roomy and bright 2,200-square-foot shop in Galloway Village.
While they carry a slew of products, their T-shirts, tanks and sweatshirts are designed and printed in-house. Each piece begins with a hand-drawn concept by its three-person design team.
SBJ: What are the core products you make in-house?
Brittany Bilyeu: We do T-shirts (and) also design stickers, pins and patches. I’m the creative director over a team of Wes Hamilton and Kendra Miller. Having that hands-on approach ... we’re able to have control over the quality. And everything that we do is special because it wasn’t just printed off by a giant press.
SBJ: When did you start making art?
Bilyeu: I have always been making art since I was a kid. I graduated from Missouri State [University] in 2010 with a graphic design degree. The first products we made here were Springfield-related shirts. That evolved over time.
SBJ: What’s your artistic style?
Bilyeu: A lot of our products are based around the things that we believe in and kind of our own personalities. A lot of them have to do with equality or protecting the planet or spreading kindness.
SBJ: When did you know that this business concept would work?
Bilyeu: It really started because Summer and I wanted to find a way to do something creative, using a mixture of our skills together, and we decided to try screen printing and do an online business. We actually had no intentions of opening a brick and mortar. But we got to the place where we were doing a really good amount of wholesale orders and online individual sales, as well as, at the time, we were doing festivals. We decided that we wanted our own location to be able to do that and also to show a lot of the other artists like us, independent artists. A lot of the brands we carry are women-owned and minority-owned.
SBJ: What are some of the opportunities of having your business in the Ozarks?
Bilyeu: One of the best things was the low startup costs. That was really helpful. There’s a great creative community in Springfield ... and also being kind of something unique. Summer and I had visited Portland before we opened up the shop and these kinds of stores were just everywhere. They’re just like a dime a dozen. Here, it is something kind of totally unique.
SBJ: What does the future hold for Culture Flock?
Bilyeu: We definitely want to continue to grow our e-commerce and want to be able to get more interest and become a little more known in Springfield.
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