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Personalized Best: How monograms made Lowery Brands one of the fastest-growing private companies in the country

Personalized Best: How monograms made Lowery Brands one of the fastest-growing private companies in the country
December 2023
WRITER: 

The holidays are the busiest time of the year for Lowery Brands’ United Monograms, which sells personalized clothing and accessories through its website



The holidays are the busiest season of the year for Lowery Brands’ United Monograms, which sells personalized clothing and accessories.

When Sean Lowery designed a patriotic T-shirt to sell on the popular X (formerly known as Twitter) feed he created as a Notre Dame fan account, he and his wife and business partner, Shelby Miske, had no idea that Lowery Brands would eventually be recognized by Forbes as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the United States. “Twitter was the biggest thing, you know, in 2011, 2012,” says Miske. “I think [the account] grew to like 100,000 followers. He said, ‘Oh, I have this big Twitter following. I’m going to try to sell them some T-shirts.’”

The couple worked out of their home in Philadelphia, but soon discovered that many of their customers were from the South, and shoppers were asking if they could have monograms embroidered on their products. “I really didn’t know what a monogram was,” Miske admits. But she learned how to make the designs with three initials using a $500 embroidery machine. After teaching kindergarten during the day, she would spend hours adding monograms to shirts, finishing an average of eight a night.

Miske originally launched United Monograms, now under the umbrella of Lowery Brands, with an Etsy shop. As demand grew, the couple recognized they should devote themselves full-time to the business. In 2014, they decided to move to Charleston to be closer to their customer base. “I feel like Charleston definitely is one of the more preppy Southern cities,” Miske says. 

Cofounder Shelby Miske; the company moved to a warehouse on Daniel Island in 2021.

The couple worked on James Island, expanding production with their first commercial embroidery machine. Marketing through social media, the company got noticed in 2017 after a sweatshirt printed with “Coffee Coffee Lipstick Coffee” and a cup motif that could be monogrammed went viral. 

In 2021, Lowery Brands and United Monograms moved to a warehouse off Clements Ferry Road on Daniel Island. They continue to sell patriotic T-shirts through Lowery Brands’ United Tees, but United Monograms makes up 85 percent of the business. Shoppers can find monogrammed T-shirts, sweatshirts, leggings, baseball caps, handbags, drinkware, phone cases, and home decor on their website. Themed clothing and accessories are marketed to college students, bridal parties, moms, teachers, and nurses. 

The holidays are their busiest season, and best sellers include the “Make it Yours” collection where customers can select an icon, such as candy canes, trees, and gingerbread men, then add their name or monogram. This year, they’re projecting $10 million in sales. “It’s been quite a ride,” Lowery says.

BY THE NUMBERS
■ Employees: 20 
■ Sales: $6 million in 2022; estimating $10 million in 2023
■ Brands: United Tees, United Monograms, and Ghost Cowboy
■ Owners: Sean Lowery and Shelby Miske