Small Business: Whistle & Flute

The husband and wife duo, Ryan and Miranda McCullagh, are an incredible pair.  These two lovebirds first began creatively working together in an indie-pop band, The Paper Cranes, and they have carried that passion now to their clothing line, Whistle & Flute.  With Ryan’s background in graphic design, specializing in apparel printing, and Miranda’s schooling in fashion design, artistic eye, and intuition for design trends these two have been able to create a gender neutral brand, popular for both adults and children.

Miranda and Ryan decided to create Whistle & Flute following the birth of their son, Akira.  They said, “We wanted to create a line of children’s clothing featuring printed designs that they themselves would wear.”  Whistle & Flute is completely family run and each item is made to order on American Apparel clothing with eco-friendly ink.  Inspired by Japanese kawaii characters, modern design, and typography they have succeeded at making a stylish children’s apparel brand that is not only for children.

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The name Whistle & Flute is a perfect fit for their clothing label.  Originally the name, Whistle & Flute, comes from the English rhyming-slang for a suit of clothes.  Their musical background in “The Paper Cranes” and the fact that Miranda actually does play the flute just makes their name that much more perfect.

“When we decided on our name we had no idea we would still be doing this a year later let alone have the type of response we did,” replied Miranda.  After creating their first design, the Kawaii Cloud T-Shirt, Miranda and Ryan received extremely positive feedback.  Although the design was originally created solely for their son Aki, they were strongly encouraged by their friends to try selling publicly.

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A lot of Ryan and Miranda’s success has to do with the way they choose to advertise.  Whistle & Flute has almost completely advertised through word of mouth and social media.  They have created a very strong social media platform, in which they can reach people all over the world.  It isn’t surprising that their Instagram alone has over 36K followers, their photos are timeless, crisp, captivating and inspiring.  Miranda and Ryan have two beautiful boys who steal the spotlight and model their apparel very well.

Miranda has shared a couple tips to successfully advertise your own brand on social media.  First, have others promote you, send your product out to influential people in exchange for promotion.  Second,  Miranda said, “Be true and real to you and people will respond,” and lastly, she commented, “be nice to people and pay it forward. We are so grateful for brands who were willing to work with us when we started up. We try to pass that on with our #smallbusinessfriday posts, highlighting new emerging brands.”

image_original-4 It is important to remember that to be a successful advertiser on social media isn’t easy but with hard work it will pay off.  Miranda and Ryan love the time that they get to spend on all things Whistle & Flute, she said, “When you’re doing something you love so much it doesn’t feel like work.”  Through their advertising on social media sites Miranda and Ryan are also able to see photos of kids wearing their product, they LOVE it and feel so rewarded by these photos.

In the future they hope that Whistle & Flute will continue to grow and start branching out to different medias, possibly even into housewares.  As for now they plan to release a new kawaii design every season as they know that their customers love their kawaii items.  This fall they are launching a kawaii panda and apple!

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