Mainstreet Monograms and More
Donna Tippins and her husband, Wade, opened Monograms and More in Patton Creek in July 2014. Photo by Rebecca Walden.
Long before she opened her own storefront, Donna Tippins’ sewing talents were evident all over town — from the flowing gowns worn by the Hoover Belles to the uniforms adorning the Hoover High School Buccanettes and even the 287-member Hoover High School band.
“I’m a sixth-generation seamstress,” said Donna, who is also a familiar face to many as a math teacher within the local system. It’s a vocation she loved but eventually left to pursue her true passion of sewing. What began with doing alterations and sewing as a means of volunteer service turned into a full-fledged business endeavor.
“For the last three years, I literally had a store in my home,” said Donna. “Basically from 7 a.m. to midnight most days, people were traipsing through our house.”
Custom requests began pouring in.
“A lot of the girls for whom I did uniform sewing work began bringing in their own personal items to be monogrammed,” said Donna. “And they also began asking for specialty items as well.”
Donna and her husband, Wade, quickly realized they needed to establish a business storefront to manage the traffic that had rapidly overtaken their home.
In July 2014, they opened Mainstreet Monograms and More within Patton Creek. The 1,400-square-foot store reflects Wade’s engineering eye for design and gives off a chic, industrial vibe, making a crisp backdrop for Donna’s many monogrammed goods, appliques (courtesy of fellow Hoover residents Cyndy Kiel and Kim McDowell) and the store’s home décor items, baby gifts and Lotti Dotties jewelry. Mainstreet Monograms and More is the exclusive local dealer for Lotti Dotties, a line of silver-plated, magnetic jewelry with interchangeable stones.
Mainstreet Monograms and More lives up to its name. The store carries Birmingham’s largest selection of Comfort Colors tops in a wide variety of colors. They also feature the popular Charles River Apparel, reclaimed wood signs, numerous styles of tote bags and a shabby-chic collection of display letters made out of old Reader’s Digest books.
Those familiar with the going rates for monogramming in the Over the Mountain area will be pleasantly surprised by the store’s starting monogram fees — only $8 for a three-letter monogram or name. This same fee will also give shoppers a 4.5-inch pocket size monogram as well. Typical turnaround time is four business days (appliques are seven-day turnaround), though they’ve been known to go above and beyond for their clients on more than a few occasions.
“A woman came in just in a panic in mid-November,” said Donna. “Her family photo session had been moved up a full week earlier than she’d expected, and she came in with an outfit she’d just purchased from Sew Precious. We helped her find the right size monogram and took care of it without any kind of rush fee; it was ready within the hour while she shopped at Costco. The relief you see on someone’s face in a moment like that makes this business so worthwhile. The bottom line for us is that we will do whatever it takes to get you to your happy place.”
Also recently, Donna welcomed four past customers for whom she’d done work prior to opening the store. Traveling from Kentucky, the group made a special trip to visit the new store, where they stocked up on favorite items. While the group dined at nearby Jesse’s, Wade and Donna stayed at the store long after closing hours to complete the group’s monogramming order, which was ready by the time they finished dinner.
“Our number one priority is customer service,” said Wade. “When people come in, we want them to make themselves at home. We don’t bicker about price. We recently had a shopper come in and peer behind the counter, telling us, ‘I don’t see a return policy.’ I told her that we don’t have one, but if she buys an item from us and doesn’t like it, to bring it back and we will refund her. That’s just how we are.”