South of Memphis is a small sole proprietorship business located in Springfield, Arkansas and owned by Tammie (Tam) McClure and her husband Scott McClure.
As of this time we do not have a physical store or showroom but we hope that changes in the future. For our return shipping address, please refer to the shipping page for details on how to return your item(s).
Can I call you instead of email?
While we prefer communication by email via our contact form we know this isn't always the preferred method for our customers. If you need to contact us by phone please call (501) 291-1509. If you cannot reach someone directly, please leave a call back number and we will return your call as soon as possible.
At this time we do not accept orders from outside the United States as a precaution against fraudulent orders, as our business grows that may change in the future.
How did you pick the name South of Memphis?
See our blog post about why we chose the name.
How did South of Memphis get started? It was 23 years in the making, so it's a long story, grab a drink and settle down to read if you really want to know the story.
South of Memphis was born out of necessity and a lifelong dream.
Owner Tam McClure grew up knowing that she wanted to be an "artist" - that was the career path she always wanted and we all know the term "starving artist" and that part she didn't want. Do you know how much art supplies even cost? Seriously folks, price some oil paints, brushes, canvas (even if you stretch your own) and other items needed to create artwork with. It ain't cheap. No wonder artists are starving!
So she knew in high school that whatever she did, she needed to actually make money in her career. Graphic designers however do get work and do make money on a regular basis. Not a lot but a living wage at least, unlike regular fine artists toiling with paint and turpentine that can't get their work in a gallery if they paid the gallery to show their work it seems.
This made a degree in graphic design a must. And she got it, even graduating top of her class with honors. You know a 3.9 GPA doesn't really matter when you go looking for your first job right? Someone could graduate with a 2.5 GPA and get the exact same job and money you did with your 3.9 GPA. Not saying you shouldn't strive for good grades but in the work place, it doesn't really help much, only that piece of paper that says you earned a degree does.
Tam tried a few business ventures over the years. When her son was born, due to a great deal of complications, she stayed home to raise him and did freelance graphic design work whenever he slept and so on. The Internet had just exploded onto the scene, her son was born in 1995 and by 1998, Tam was designing websites after teaching herself how to write code while she ran NexusWeb Hosting and Design.
After her son started kindergarten she shuttered her business and went back to the stability of a daily job outside the home. "Freelance work was hard to make a family budget with. One month I might earn a large sum the next one or two I might barely earn enough to pay the phone bill for the business," she explained. Thus why she closed up NexusWeb and went back to working for someone else.
She worked for many years in the graphic design industry and also in the newspaper industry. While she was still working in the newspaper industry she started another business making apparel by hand, screen printing by hand, one and two color designs, dying and sewing clothing and dying scarves, t-shirts, sarongs and other apparel. The amount of work involved doing everything by hand made profit almost negligible, but it was fun and a great way to let her creative juices flow. This business was called CraftMouse and after a few years she decided to pull the plug because she just didn't have enough time after she switched day jobs again.
She tentatively thought of another business dealing strictly with children's clothing but the rules and regulations on children's clothing made her a bit cautious of making her own. Everyone is selling tutus and hair bows and so on on eBay and Etsy. But Tam knew that children's clothing needs to be safe for a child. She'd never want to have a child come to harm because a tutu accidentally caught fire and burned the child for example. That would just break her heart she said.
Fast forward to 2016, her son left home after Christmas break to move into his own apartment and continue his college education about 50 miles away. This left her husband and herself with a bit of empty nest syndrome and an entire empty room in the house.
Over the years and especially when she owned CraftMouse, Tam wanted to expand her screen printing but at the time Direct to Garment Printing was barely in its infancy horrendously expensive. At the time she couldn't afford to buy a screen print machine or even a commercial grade heat press, especially if she didn't know if she could do the printing. Sure she can paint, draw and sew and sure she can design on a computer but...would she have the manual skills needed for high quality silk screening or have a steady enough hand for heat press to be done correctly and not burn herself? It was an unknown. Why invest hundreds if not thousands of dollars in something she isn't absolutely sure she can do right? And where would she house all of it? Her last venture into apparel sales had taken over her dining room, living room and half her family room.
She didn't want to give up entirely on a business idea of making t-shirt designs and other products like laptop skins or cases or home decor items, so the idea just kept simmering in the back of her mind.
Meanwhile at her "day job" where she is a marketing director for a small company in Little Rock, Arkansas she was tasked with researching a way to get their website, which was on legacy hardware and software, to be mobile friendly. This was how she learned about Shopify. The more she learned about the shopping cart platform and the various apps that could be added on for little and sometimes no cost, the more she liked it.
Then she found that DTG wasn't nearly as costly as it had been several years ago, and she could purchase design licenses for actual popular and trendy products, thus not having to do all of the design work herself which takes a lot of time. Plus these were licenses for products that people already wanted. If they purchase her designs too that was great but at least this way she could have a better chance at making sales by selling something people were already buying.
So South of Memphis was born. But wait, this seemed like the lifelong dream part, what was the necessity you mentioned at the beginning?
Ah. Yeah. Almost forgot that part. Now as mentioned, Tam works for a small business. She doesn't have a major pension package. They do have 401K but Tam's already in her 40's and has not saved much at previous jobs for retirement and used much of it for her son's education. So what's she going to do in 20 years when she will want to retire? Well, as one of the t-shirts on the site says "Based on my calculations I can retire 5 years after I'm dead." That pretty much summed things up for her. So what to do?
As most American's know we might not be able to count on Social Security and women do not earn as much as men in social security benefits.
Seriously, look that one up folks.
When Social Security was first put in place as part of FDR's New Deal most women didn't work outside the home. If they did, they only did so until they married. So women were to be "taken care of" by their husbands. This was before divorce was so common. And guess what? The math behind all of that hasn't changed since the very beginning of social security. So while Tam isn't divorced or a single woman the poor women who are get royally shafted by the government and they will never actually earn back everything they paid into Social Security.
Even though, Tam doesn't fall into those two categories, she is still penalized for being a woman. She will never get as much as her husband and if he dies before her she'll get even less. It's as if women are penalized for not having a man. And to quote Tam, "That is the most sexist bs I've ever read in my life. How do women not throw a fit about this?" Probably because most just haven't looked it up. Tam might not know had she not needed to research women's rights for a product line at her regular day job.
Upon learning all of this she thought, man my husband and I are never going to be able to retire comfortably if at all in the next 20 to 25 years. "We'll never get to enjoy that freedom before we die. I have worked since before I was 16 and I'm going to end up having to work until I croak," Tam said. So, there is where the necessity came from. South of Memphis IS her retirement plan.
Should it grow as hoped and employees are added perhaps it is something she can pass down to her son or grandchildren.
So by shopping at South of Memphis, you help another American family live a small portion of the dwindling American dream and maybe along the way through growth of the business they'll be able to help others achieve a small part of their dreams too.