"Ideas come from all over," says Jess Miller. "My husband will say something, or a meme inspires me, or something just happens in life that needs to go on a mug. For instance, I asked my husband to change the baby and immediately he went to the bathroom. So that was a mug: 'I asked my husband to do one thing and suddenly he has to poop.' And that one did quite well."
A first grade teacher by day, Jess didn't always trade in memes. Six years ago her Etsy shop exclusively sold standard (non-humorous) greeting cards/save the dates. "It was a hobby." Then, in 2013, she had her first child and for Christmas she gifted custom mugs to family and one to her husband reading, 'Daddy Est. 2013.' With a shop already up and running, her family convinced her to add some mug options as well, and then.... she went viral.
"There was nothing at the time out there like that." So when she came up with a tiered mug saying "Shhh... Almost... Now you may speak," sites like Buzzfeed and Huff Post picked her up, and "Does this ring make me look engaged?" got her a print spot in The Knot. After Reese Witherspoon and George Takei reposted pics of her mugs, the path was clear "Cards were out, mugs were in."
Now in 30 retail stores across the country, Jess is still expanding although she now has three kids, still teaches and inks every mug herself. Despite nightly hand massages from her very witty and supportive husband, it's not all glamour for Jess. "I live in a madhouse, run by a tiny army made by myself... that's probably my favorite mug because it's true."