Styled Shoot

Styled Shoot

We were recently invited to be part of a styled shoot with other vendors in our area and to say we were thrilled was putting it lightly! We immediately began thinking about what we would contribute and how we couldn’t wait to dive into the creative wonderland that is a style shoot. As we were excitedly telling our husbands, we were all met with their supportive but blank looks- huh? What’s a styled shoot?

Well, to put it in non-wedding-ese, husband/man speak, a styled shoot is a made up event where different vendors contribute their work to produce essentially a fake wedding, rehearsal, party or reception. At this point my husband was still looking at me blankly because as a creative professional himself, he couldn’t imagine doing all that work for a fake couple! What’s the point? Well, for wedding vendors, it’s actually a pretty exciting opportunity to create your portion of a wedding exactly as you want to see it. It’s a space for showcasing the final product in a way that best features each of our individual contributions. It’s also a really fun way to connect with other industry professionals you wouldn’t ordinarily interact with, like a stationer building a working relationship with the florist or photographer. On a real wedding day, we wouldn’t be there to point out the small detail that ties the invitations to the signage we want them to pick up in the detail shot, and they wouldn’t be able to tell us how to angle the paper to best show off the blending of colors in the paper and florals in a photo. In a real wedding, the elements come together seamlessly to tell the story of the couple. In a styled shoot, there is no love story that needs to take center stage- each artist can slow down and take time to focus on the story told by their piece of the puzzle. 

Now the husbands were on board, but still wondered why anyone other than an industry insider would be excited about these kinds of collaborations. Sharing these shoots with our clients is one of the most fun parts! When we are working with a paying client, we don’t usually have the luxury of being able to slow down and experiment. There are timelines and budgets and many other fast paced moving pieces. A styled shoot gives us time to try out new things, pieces that really reflect our style and show our clients what we are capable of. We LOVE getting the chance to create with no limits and showing you all different things we may otherwise not get asked to do. This is true for all the vendors! So for a bride, checking out a company’s style shoot is an awesome way to see the “Met Gala” of their portfolio: the most ultra creative exhibition of their talent where they aren’t limited by time, money or materials.

We can’t wait to participate in another style shoot (hint hint to any wedding coordinators that are thinking about one!). Be sure to follow us on Instagram for the images from this fun day and many more as we share what we have been working on recently! 

One Year of the Mill

We recently marked the occasion of one official year in business. In many ways it is hard to believe a year has passed but in other ways, we can hardly remember our lives before we had the Mill. I guess it’s true what they say about the days being long and the years being short!

I (Heather) am a very introspective person prone to bouts of (overly) deep thinking, so this seems a fitting time to reflect on what the past year has done in our lives and in this business we are building. 

First, it is safe to say we have been on a ride we never anticipated. The past year has seen incredible growth for us, much more than we dared to hope for as a new face on the scene with not much to show except our hearts for people and our combined previous experience in other areas of the industry. We feel blessed beyond measure at the clients that have trusted us with their dreams and have come alongside us as we grew into our space. 

Second, if you want to find out if you truly have grace, love, patience, all the things we say we stand for, go ahead and start a business with friends/relatives. Every ounce of what you are made of will be called upon and you will have to dig in and work to show those qualities you profess to embody. It turns out that it doesn’t matter that we actually really do love each other and are each other’s biggest fans. When conflict happens, and IT WILL, you have a choice: you can stand on your pride (substitute this for hurt feelings, offense taken, frustration, need to be “right”) or you can release it, and stand on your convictions to give and receive grace, and CHOOSE to love instead of choosing to be justified/right/the winner. Our feet were held to the fire and even if all this falls apart tomorrow, I am so proud to say that each one of us opened our hands, released our “things” into the mist, turned our back to the negative emotions and decided to love one another. If we never book another client, we can each say that we truly had the experience of a lifetime in working as a team that loves and serves like Jesus does. 

We built the idea to begin this business on the foundation that we wanted to make our community, and therefore just a tiny bit of the world, a better place. We thought we would do that through setting aside a portion of our profits to donate to local nonprofit organizations. As life often works, though, it hasn’t happened exactly that way. Instead, we have found the biggest change in ourselves. We have been refined by fire and undergone a deeply transformative experience of change from the heart outward in our interactions every single day. We are still pretty far from perfect, but hopefully the small changes in showing and giving real love and grace are making that difference we wanted to have after all, one little day and life at a time. 

We are thankful to all of you that are on this journey with us. Stick around. We don’t know what is coming next but we are pretty excited to find out with all of you.  

Community Over Competition

Community Over Competition

If you follow along on our instagram account, you may have noticed a particular hashtag we share on some of our images: #communityovercompetition. It’s been one of the most fun discoveries of our little shop so far, to know there is a whole hashtag of like minded people out there with the same values and ideas. It was like a warm instagram hug saying, hey friend!!!!

Community over competition is the idea that as small business owners, we value people over profits. Relationships will always be the most important part of what we do. Our business plan was developed with the core operating belief that people matter, and we want to serve them well. Customer service and community service are hand in hand priorities for us. One of the reasons we wanted to start the Indigo Mill was to pool our efforts to support local organizations that are making a difference. It’s important to us to build ties to others and walk in relationship.

As creatives, we are motivated by a desire to make, not to win. Competition has a place, and can be a healthy motivator to push yourself to your fullest potential. But for us, the best practice isn’t focusing on how much our “competitors” have of our pie, it’s focusing on how we can do our thing the best we know how and in doing so, serve our clients the best way we are able. By focusing on our own contributions to the greater good, and not what others are up to, we aren’t distracted by someone else’s story. We want to cheer our fellow creatives on. Their success doesn’t mean anything but a win for the rest of us. There’s room for everyone at the table.

Think of a really important, pinnacle type moment in your life. It probably wouldn’t take long to start the list in your mind of the people behind that moment: the people that support, inspired, encouraged and loved you on your way there. So many people are turning their focus away from the big bad competition and instead to how they can dream bigger and love harder. If you need to look for us, you can find us jumping feet first into any situation we can be part of that conversation.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17






The Indigo Mill: Behind the Name

The Indigo Mill: Behind the Name

When we decided to put a name on our paper goods and take our show on the road, it really didn’t take us long to find the right fit. From the very first days of our partnership, we have been guided more by our internal meter of what we want our business to represent than making a (literal!) name for ourselves.

The Indigo Mill has a pretty special backstory. Our original intention was to call ourselves the Millhouse. One of the values that is really important to all three of us is supporting our local community, and Greenville really emerged as a standout in the textile industry dating as far back as the 18th century. If you drive around, there is visual evidence of that rich heritage all over town in the old brick mill buildings that have become treasured landmarks. We embraced these old mills because obviously as artists we appreciate the raw beauty of the towering crumbly brick buildings. More than being visually appealing, though, these mills represented a generation of women that we descended from that worked with their hands to provide. They dedicated themselves to a craft within those walls. They led simple lives in the mill houses nearby and made a quiet impact with their steady hands and steady dedication to service.

To us, there is nothing that could have better encompassed our baseline principles of supporting our local community and using our hands to make a product that will hopefully, ultimately bring us together with people from all over and have a positive impact on the world we are part of. Still, as we began referring to ourselves as the Millhouse it didn’t sit quite right. It was cool but left some ambiguity in terms of an actual product. As we looked at the smudgy ink drawing of the millhouse Lindsey did for our logo, one of us blurted out what about Indigo? Indigo is, of course, a staple to anyone offering paper goods, and as it so happens, it is also the state color of South Carolina, thanks to the understated importance of the indigo plant to the South Carolina industry and economy in the era of cotton and tobacco.

Once we hit on Indigo, it was like the clouds parted and the angels sang. Now we knew who we were meant to be! The wax seal logo and handwritten lettering seemed like a perfect way to “seal” the deal (don’t ever take yourself too seriously to miss an opportunity for cheesy joke!). We couldn’t be more proud of the ties to history and place that our logo and name represent and we are grateful to be part of a place with such a rich heritage.

Let’s Start At The Beginning…

Let’s Start At The Beginning…

What happens in real life when three people decide to put a formal stamp on their creative efforts and start a business? Well, we aren’t experts, but we feel like we have lived in this “small business owner” world long enough to know that it’s a lot different than it looks on Instagram! There were visions of chic tortoise rimmed glasses and messy perfect top knots, a bustling creative warehouse space and sleek laptops. The coffee was always hot and the ideas were always flowing.

Instagram is a powerful tool for connecting people, but we all know the picture painted on the grid isn’t always exactly true. Real life looks a little less… curated, to put it nicely! Our top knots are on the greasy side of shiny and if the coffee is hot, we certainly aren’t drinking it because more than likely, one of our kids needs us right that minute for something. Although not half as glamorous as we might have imagined, this journey to making The Indigo Mill official has been amazing for all three of us. The process of seeing something you have dreamed about for so long come to life is incredible, even if not without bumps and bruises along the way. We are so happy to see this little idea bloom into a real place where we can meet new people and come alongside them to help make some of life’s most important occasions that much more special. YOU, dear reader, are part of our dream come true! Thank you for joining us as we see what lies beyond the bend. Welcome and strap in— here we go!