About Mums and Kisses
Mums and Kisses began as a Homecoming Mum E-Commerce website that catered to Texas students and parents attending their local homecoming football games and expanded quickly to offer a physical retail location. The designs, quality and low prices kept customers coming back year after year. What began in Texas, shipping city to city has now grown to now serve customers worldwide. We’ve shipped as close as 4 miles away, all the way to Okinawa, Japan!
A Little Mums and Kisses History
As told by the Owner & Founder, Shannon Hart Gonzalez.
Last Updated: 4/4/2022
“18 years ago, I helped to make our first homecoming mums for the pee-wee cheerleaders of the Azle Youth Association in Azle, Texas. Fast forward 10 years later we had moved away and I was still making mums occasionally for my own children. When our son was a Freshmen, I had taken a trip to the big box Hobby craft shop and I couldn’t believe the sticker shock I got when it was time to pay for the ribbon to make a single mum…. $90.00! Are you kidding? I hadn’t bought anything but ribbon! No trinkets, nothing but a silk flower, a backer, and some ribbons. I couldn’t believe it. I know I have expensive taste but MAN! And the quality of the expensive premade mums they sold, yuck! I knew there had to be something better.
Six months later, my father passed away from Alzheimer’s at the young age of 65. It absolutely devastated our family. I wanted so much to do something with my grief, with my time, with my feelings of loss. I needed an outlet. At that time, I was giving life a lot of thought and the motto in my head that kept repeating itself was “Shut up and Do It” So… I did. Right before school let out that year I ran across the “sticker shocking receipt” of this past homecoming mum. It didn’t take very long to make up my mind that if this was a problem for me that it was a problem for most ALL parents. I set out to make my own website with the goal of not only servicing my area but all of the U.S.
I started this business with .86 cents.
That’s all we had to our name until the next paycheck. The bad news is that in order to get a website domain we needed .99 cents.
I was determined to create a website. I knew at the time that there were no place that offered online ordering AND shipping for mums and I was going to be the 1st. But with not enough money what was I going to do? I called a website domain company and told them, I have exactly .86 cents in the bank and I am .13 cents short, they gave me the domain name and had me pay them the following month. AWESOME!
Then I went to work figuring out how to ship a mum without it costing an arm and a leg. Wow.. that that was fun… Then I tried my hand at designing more and more with scrap ribbon around the house. After which I found a supplier, and cut back on my grocery budget to slowly buy supplies. Right before school and homecoming season began, I took a chance.
Sacrificing my kids school clothes money to buy the rest of the supplies for the season, something I would have NEVER done before. I cried the whole way home from the suppliers, worrying about the chance I was taking and promising myself that I’d make it up to them. This had to work, and I knew it.
We sold our first homecoming mum 3 days after the website went live and it didn’t stop.
I was so shocked that people not only liked the designs but wanted them in droves. Life went from normal to warp speed and little to no sleep. With 4 am bedtimes and waking up again at 6 am to take kids to school and back to fill mum orders. We would ship mums anywhere customers asked us to. Little did we know, we were one of the 1st mum creators to ship mums in mass quantities and no one needed an appointment. We started out on the kitchen counter of our home until we got tired of finding glitter in our food. That was one of the hardest, but most rewarding time of our lives.
In our first season online we made it on to NBC News Online and made a mum for a celebrity!
Over the past few seasons, the biggest question we’d get from our customers was “do you have a store?” I knew that that was going to be our next step. Our customers demanded our custom supplies and at first I was hesitant to release them. But I knew we had to “give the people what they wanted”. At 1st those aquatinted with me thought it was “cute” that I “had a hobby”. Record scratch, excuse me, what? A hobby you don’t work 22 hour days for. This was going to be a full on business! I was not making mums on the side, This was not my hustle. This was a business! With another fire lit under us, we took another chance and opened our 1st physical location selling our custom supplies. Together with sweat equity we built not 1 but 2 buildings. a store and a workshop. Late nights hammering by flashlight, laying down floors and putting up walls with no air conditioning in July to get the store open before the homecoming season officially started. Every day the buildings took more and more shape and I doubted myself more and more. What if this didn’t work? What if no one finds the shop? What if it’s not big enough? The questions that plague a business owner keeps you up at night with self doubt. Still, I had to follow this path that God has put me on. I had to try. Mum orders started rolling in in early July as we were building the shop during the day and making mums at night. Then one day, we looked up, and the store and workshop were finished!
In 2018, our retail location opened. We service customers that travel from all over the state. Our online eCommerce store continues to thrive and we’ve proudly shipped orders all over the U.S. and as far away as Japan and Germany. My personal goal is to extend this Texas tradition to all states. I think every student in school should experience having a Homecoming tradition.
It was time to hire an army. The orders coming in were too much for me, an assistant and my family to handle. We were still doing 3am bedtimes and getting up at 6 am to take kids to school. The store was getting busier, and we had to make mums and mum supplies, then stop and man the store when customers came in, answer up to 40 phone calls per day, and race to meet the UPS truck who pulled in promptly at 4 every day. Our son (and inventory specialist ) was leaving for college and we were a man down. We started combing through our large extended family to see, “who wants to make a mum”. Thankfully my sister-in-law Silvia stepped up and we were able to hire her girls as well. My mom would drop everything from August to October to drive from Florida to Texas to help keep the domestic side going as now we couldn’t even break to pick up the kids from school.
The year of COVID, Mums and Kisses continued to sell mums to students, parents and teams. Even though the season was delayed a month, the orders kept coming in. We introduced 2 new designs and they were a hit. We branched out and began selling our supplies to retailers and e-commerce stores. Our Mums and Kisses Brand is now carried by Mum Factory Outlet, Walmart, Etsy, Sears, and Amazon and floral shops across DFW. We are also featured in a 2nd location, The Blue Butterfly Boutique and are super excited for the opportunity.
In January of 2021 I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer at the age of 42. Even though it has rocked our personal world, Mums and Kisses remained a driving force. We have supported Breast Cancer Awareness since 2016 in honor of my grandmother, but now the breast cancer ribbon takes on a whole new meaning for me. This year I will endure 16 rounds of Chemo, 3 surgeries and radiation, all while maintaining the business, kids and a family. It has been a challenge, but it keeps me going and gives me great hope for recovery. The ladies that work with us at Mums and Kisses are the reason we’re still growing strong. They take over my duties when I can’t and step in like the professionals they are. Mums and Kisses is a Legacy for my family. It continues to be my best motivation. With God’s help, I will be a Cancer Survivor.
2022 (before mum season)
After 16 rounds of chemo, 30 radiations and 3 surgeries in 5 months, I’m proud to say I’m now Cancer free! during the last season at Mums and Kisses I worked between chemo and radiation. Something I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to do as I couldn’t even walk in the summer due to chemo neuropathy. But God heals! We hired 3 more girls and now between all of us our Mum Making Army is up to 14 humans and one K-9 strong! Even through cancer, God gave us a record-breaking season. We’re up to 412 + schools now. Amazing!
After the season we hired a verifying company to get us the logistics we needed to be quality compliant. It’s like an ISO9000 audit so that we may do business with other countries. After all, I am the daughter of an ISO9000 auditor! And they have mums in Poland, who would have thought
We also doubled the store! It’s still in the same location but twice the size! Now we have a warehouse, shipping dept, a workshop and over 2000sqft feet of nothing but mum supplies. With plans in the works for more!
I thank the Lord for this year and getting me through the last. I thought Cancer would surely take me. 42 years old and that’s all I would get but he has other plans for me and I’m truly grateful.
It’s now after mum season 2022…
Still with neuropathy feet I always hope the customers don’t make fun of my socks and sandals. This year, after buying out 3 another mum shops we added their inventory to ours and had a good stash. Opening in July, earlier than ever, the homecomings were rolling in fast with our first one 4 weeks away. The customers were in the parking lot before opening and staying long after close.
The mum days were still long, even after hiring a 2nd shift and 2 shop girls it was more than I could handle at times. We had some of the best and worst customers this year. Between the 150 emails per day and the phone calls that literally came in 4 at a time for hours.” Mums and Kisses, please hold…. Mums and Kisses… please hold.” It’s time to go to a phone system and a ticket system next year I think. We had our share of technical issues like never before. We’ve out grown our systems and as I make mum after mum I’m planning in my head how to upgrade the system. The email server crashed twice, the phone system crashed once and we were without power for over 24 hours putting us behind. So now my mind is whirling on how to prevent all of those in the future.
One of the main misconceptions we’re seeing in the store this season is what we do and how we do it. Even though the store looks calm or you happen to be here at 1 or 2pm before the rush, you miss the chaos going on in the back where the shipping department is flinging packing paper, the mum designers are rushing to make the UPS truck, the braiders are braiding as fast as they can, the 2nd shift is waiting for the 1st to finish, the phone is ringing off the hook and I’m flying around with a paper in my hand.. Then when I open the door to greet the customer they’ll say “oh you do this all by yourself?”…..
Once upon a time…
But I wouldn’t trade it. in the off season we work hard, but at least we get more sleep. And all the days of running around, the chaos, and the “do we have anymore blue and silver ribbon, questions are over, I still smile and thank the Lord that I didn’t miss this, and that cancer didn’t take me.
On a brighter note, we did an interview for the CW. That was very nice of them to invite us and ask so much about the business. I think I stuttered over my answers. But in the end, I’m excited that the news is still interested in us as a company and what we do.
The Special Needs classes tripled this year and it was so sweet to get to see their faces when we arrived with their mums at school. I can’t wait to post their pictures! The special needs students started calling us “The Mum G.O.A.T.” and until we asked, we didn’t know the meaning, and now, we’re humbly and truly honored. What a special name, I think we’ll keep it.
Next year the team is talking about me retiring from making mums and let the mum designers handle the majority of it, Oh I’ll still make a mum here and there, and of course I’ll still make the giants and the jumbos, but I think my time of making the lion’s share of the mums are gone. But we’ll see, In the meantime it’s time to dream up new designs, rearrange the store to fit more supplies and give the competition something else to talk about, or maybe we’ll take a weekend off?
In the mirror,
Looking back, I can’t believe how fast Mums and Kisses has taken off and I can’t wait to see where we go from here. I’m truly blessed to not only have the support of my family, but of the parents that have become our best customers. I love hearing how proud they are of their own kids. They cheer me on so much and I’m truly grateful. Mums and Kisses has changed our lives, and shown my kids that they can do anything if they are just willing to work hard enough for it.
“Turn a broken heart into art” – Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia)
Mums and Kisses is dedicated to my Daddy. He would be proud. I couldn’t have started this business back then without the help of my children who have learned to cut ribbons like pros, and my mom who takes months out of her life and travels 1200 miles to keep the domestic home front going so that we can work, and my husband that has supported this crazy idea from the start. I love you all.”
-Shannon Hart Gonzalez, Owner / Founder – Mums and Kisses©
Why Mums and Kisses?
Part of the goal of Mums and Kisses from the start was lower the prices, give better quality, and introduce new designs both in mums and in the website that sold them. Back when we started, most mum websites were blogs or facebook pages. Mums and Kisses introduced the all order online method, the live chat and let our customers kiss those long design appointments and phone call ordering goodbye. We’ve pioneered this effort and are now often duplicated. We strive to keep mums a tradition, something truly custom and no hassle ordering.
Our quality is unsurpassed. As craft shops continue to use paper ribbon we use 100% Satin Double and Single Faced luxury line ribbon. Ribbon is our leading cost of supplies and we spare no expense to make sure it’s the highest quality. We literally search the world to bring you the ribbon that you haven’t seen before, that’s not used anywhere and even have customized our own ribbon as well for the one of a kind looks. We go to the extreme for homecoming mums. We want our customers to have a true keepsake, not just another mum.
An Industry Pioneer and A Trusted Name
Today, Mums and Kisses is now one of the most well known brands in designer homecoming mums. We’ve been in the Voyage Dallas Magazine, KERA Radio, PBS, Shoutout magazine, the CW33 news station, the CW39 news station and NBC Online. We’ve made Baby Mums for some of the wives of the Dallas Cowboys. We’ve made a homecoming mum for the Actress Audrey P Scott of the Movie Universal Solider & Secretariat. We’re a proud member of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and a Trusted Square Up online store. Mums and Kisses isn’t just a leader in the industry, we’re a pioneer. We’ve introduced not only one of a kind designs but we’ve changed the way customers buy and receive mums. When we started, no one shipped. We did. No one took gift cards, We did. No one offered buy now pay later, We did. And there’s more to come. We’re not done paving the way. The Mum G.O.A.T. has more to come!
Our Mums Make a Difference
Charity work has been an important part of Mums and Kisses since it’s first year. Every year we give to up to three different charities per year and fundraise for schools as well. We are proud supporters of the:
Aaron Singleton Memorial Fund,
The Alzheimer Association
American Cancer Society
Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon, / Cook Children’s 5k Marathon.
Joshua HIgh School Student Council
The Special Needs Class of Joshua H.S.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know us. We’d love the opportunity to custom make your mums as well. Thank you to all of our many, many loyal customers for your constant support of us, and the charities we donate to. Our heart and soul goes into Mums and Kisses we humbly thank you for choosing us.
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