A new Michigan-focused product line, called "Don't Mess with the Mitten," is coming to Traverse City-area shops.
Don't Mess with the Mitten
is a line of clothing and products like mugs and window clings, created by Lisa Burnia and Terri O'Brien of Detroit. Burnia and O'Brien created it as a response to worries about the state of Michigan in the late 2000s. Another brand they created with the help of Scott Pryor of Pryor Design in Ann Arbor, along the same lines was MichiCAN, which promotes positivity about the state.
The shirts are bought in Detroit, the printing is done in Novi, and a portion of each item's sale price goes toward the Girls Travel Club at Western High School in Detroit. The club takes girls from the inner-city school to travel throughout the state and learn about other places. So all in all, it's quite the Michigan-focuses business venture.
Burnia and O'Brien came to northern Michigan this spring to scout potential new retailers, since Don't Mess with the Mitten is primarily sold in metro Detroit stores. One of those retailers was Nifty Things
, which has locations in Traverse City, Elk Rapids and Alden, owned by Martee Hickman.
Since Nifty Things is a strong supporter of Michigan and northern Michigan, and sells many related items, Burnia and O'Brien say they knew right away it was the perfect fit, and the store buyer and owner agreed. So visitors to the stores can expect to see Don't Mess with the Mitten and MichiCAN products on the shelves this year.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Terri O'Brien, Don't Mess with the Mitten