John Mark King and his wife, Whit, didn’t plan on launching a clothing line—let alone during a pandemic. But the birth of their daughter, and plenty of quarantine downtime, turned a passion project into a business. John Mark credits a lot of their success to a neighborhood entrepreneurs’ boot camp that he and his wife attended: “We took advantage of the Congress Heights Community Training and Development Corporation, which was a tremendous help in getting Muse Threads up and running.”
Muse Threads is a line of children’s clothing made with soft, breathable, bamboo fabric. “When we had our daughter last January , we noticed that she had super sensitive skin,” says John Mark. Their doctor recommended finding clothing made from breathable fabric, such as thin cotton. The couple did their own research and discovered that bamboo fabric was a great option for easily irritated skin.
However, Whit says they weren’t in love with the bamboo clothing they could find. “A lot of companies we came across at the time only had basic pieces with neutral colors,” she says. The newborn clothing wasn’t as playful and cute as she wanted. An avid art lover who paints in her free time, Whit decided to take matters into her own hands. “What started as us just trying to get some licensed art printed on outfits kind of snowballed into us launching a clothing brand,” says Whit. “Every little step was a baby step until we realized we had a full-on business.”
Muse Threads’ children’s wear now includes creative, age-appropriate patterns sourced from independent artists from around the world. “There is a pattern-designer community on Instagram, which we use to find the art,” Whit says. Patterns include rainbow-colored jelly fish, peacock feathers, and tiny wolves.
The couple say that they would love to get plugged into the Washington art scene and work with local artists, too. “We are currently online, but we are working hard to build up to our own local storefront,” says John Mark. He says that while they are working to get into a few DC boutiques, such as Navy Yard’s Steadfast Supply and Shop Made in DC, their products have already been picked up by a handful of retailers from around the country who saw them on Instagram and Facebook.
As for now, both John Mark and Whit are excited about what the future may bring. “DC is a great place for providing creative inspiration and we are grateful to find success right now just by following our interests and passions,” he says.