Sassy Frass opens new retail location

HAMILTON - Hamilton residents and entrepreneurs Steve and Kristi Babb have grown their business, Sassy Frass Tees, into a wholesale, custom and retail business that ships all over the United States.
Christie Babb gave the Journal Record some details into the growth and development of the couple’s company since it began in 2009.
Sassy Frass roots
Babb, originally from Tremont, Miss., along with her husband, Steve, a native of Hamilton, both attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and discovered their entrepreneurial talents.
During college, Babb made extra income by printing and selling custom T-shirts. Steve Babb earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing and Babb herself later finished her degree in early education at the University of North Alabama, in Florence.
According to Babb, both she and her husband spent many years in the sales industry and owning their own business seemed natural.
“We’re both natural entrepreneurs. It came easy to us and it wasn’t really a big leap of faith,” said Babb.
 The Babbs have been back in Hamilton again for the past 25 years.
Babb, who owned “The H House” in Hamilton, began printing T-shirts because she needed a line of those shirts in her store.
“We started printing in the basement of my house because I needed a line of T-shirts in order to keep my store stocked,” said Babb.
At that time, Babb was also teaching at Hamilton Elementary School. Her husband, Steve, worked at Waverly Homes in Hamilton during that time period.
Babb said she began burning the midnight oil printing T-shirts in order to stock her business with printed tees.
“We were just keeping my store stocked and doing some things for local schools and churches,” said Babb.
In the early days of printing shirts, the couple both worked full-time jobs, but as the T-shirt business grew, Steve Babb was able to turn Sassy Frass Tees into his full-time business, and Christie Babb followed a few years after.
As the business was growing, Babb said she sold “The H House” in order to focus on their T-shirt business that was blossoming.
According to Babb, during the early days of the business, she received orders from local schools and churches for custom printed T-shirts.
The business
is born
The T-shirt printing business until that point was still unnamed.
“When we started the business, it wasn’t Sassy Frass,” said Babb.
As the couple was brainstorming a name for their brand, they bounced around several different names for the T-shirt line and business.
Ultimately, Babb said that the name Sassy Frass Tees came from her husband.
“We kicked around what kind of name to use for a while. Most of the lines we would be competing with had “Southern” in their brand name,” said Babb.
She and her husband intentionally looked for brand names without ‘Southern’ in them, so as not to potentially limit their orders to the South.
“We were trying to look ahead and if we’re going to make a brand, let’s not limit ourselves.”
In that brainstorming, Babb said her husband came up with Sassy Frass. “It has served us well,” said Babb.
“Sassy Frass grew out of that printing business. It became a wholesale line that we marketed to other boutiques,” said Babb.
Babb said her t-shirt business consistently ships to more than 20 states.
The line has been the most popular in the South, since according to Babb, printed T-shirts are common in Southern culture and the shirts frequently feature Southern phrases.
Although the T-shirts have had lots of popularity in the South, Babb said Sassy Frass has shipped its original T-shirts as far as Germany, Alaska and Hawaii.
“We have shipped to gift shops, boutiques, pharmacies that carry gifts all over the United States for the past 10 years,” said Babb.
Most of Sassy Frass’ business comes from boutiques and gift shops that purchase the shirts wholesale and sell Babb’s creations in their businesses.
New things for Sassy Frass
The nearly decade-old business has had several new developments as it continues to grow and expand.
Sassy Frass recently opened a retail store located at the front of its print shop in Hamilton—the company’s only physical location called Sassy Frass Tees and Gift Boutique. The store sells tees, clothing and gifts.
“You can buy all of our tees from each of our lines, along with clothing and gift items,” said Babb.
The boutique is located on Bexar Avenue West, across from McCracken’s Family Restaurant
All of Sassy Frass’s products are printed, packed and shipped from the location in Hamilton.
The retail location now has 10 employees, according to Babb, not including sales representatives.
“That includes our employees in the office, the print shop, shipping and the retail store,” said Babb.
Babb recently created two new men’s lines: Finn Stone Apparel and Southern Jack.
“Those are our men’s lines of tees that are in their newer stages,” said Babb, stating that she was excited for Sassy Frass to be branching out and serving men as well as women.
Babb also said that Sassy Frass is hoping to do more custom printing, especially for local groups and businesses.
She said that in the past year, Sassy Frass has been doing more and more custom work for local businesses, churches and schools.
“We’re growing more and more into custom printing as well. We are now serving the surrounding area for custom printing needs,” said Babb.
Babb said she is hoping to expand and grow the business even more, focusing on growing the two new men’s lines in the next few years.
The Babbs have two daughters, Jordan (Ethan) Lawler, a physical therapist at Encore Rehabilitation of Hamilton, and Raegan, who studies at Bevill State Community College-Hamilton, as well as participates in the entrepreneurial ventures of her parents. Raegan Babb has her own tee-shirt line, sold alongside Sassy Frass Tees, a line called Captivated Apparel.