Pittsburgh is proud to call itself home to thousands of independently owned businesses, each founded with its own ideals and unique perspective, thanks to the diverse voices of their owners.
The past couple of years have been especially difficult for these locally owned businesses, many of which suffered big hits to their bottom lines due to the pandemic. But with determination and resilience, Pittsburgh businesses made it through the pandemic and came out even stronger, backed by new ideas and an extra dose of grit.
Duquesne Light Co. is proud to honor local businesses with its Community Spotlight series, featuring companies that contribute to the fabric and economy of Pittsburgh. Many amazing businesses appeared in the Community Spotlight in 2021—and continue thriving this year.
One of these businesses is Mmmm, Yes!, an online store created by Pittsburgh-based artist Christina Springer. Read on to learn more about Springer, her business, and her art.
Christina Springer’s store, Mmmm, Yes! grew out of her realization that although most people want to inhabit beautiful spaces filled with meaningful art, many cannot afford high-end fine art.
“I began to look at strategies for ways in which to equalize my art,” she said.
She began putting her designs on throw pillows and blankets and selling them on Etsy. Etsy is an online platform that allows artists and creators to sell their work. She experienced a rush of orders, and the popularity of her products spread. She now runs her own online store that ships all over the world.
Come Get Your Whole Life
Springer describes her offerings as “Black womanist lifestyle objects for everyone,” and puts her artwork on everyday objects ranging from socks to suitcases. Her slogan, meant to reflect the ubiquity of her products, is “Come get your whole life.”
“The imagery tends to be very organic, connected, and complex in the same way that we are connected, complex, and vibrant,” she said.
With products including activist slogans and patterns descended from the African diaspora, Springer’s work reflects her identity as a woman of West Indian heritage and her belief in supporting small brands with clear values.
“When I had my first sale in Africa, I was so honored,” she said. “It said that I was connected to a lineage. That cultural connection was disrupted by our introduction to these shores, yet we retained a sense of pattern and color.”
Springer came up with the unique name for her business when her son was young. She was uninspired by the clothing available for children. She dreamt of an exciting fashion line for little boys, with a name rooted in the phrase “mini man’s many moods.”
As her son grew and she regained more independence, Springer began to think about the acronym differently.
“Now it stands for ‘mighty mama’s many moods,’ and the answer to that is, ‘Yes, all the moods all the time,’” she said.
Today, several years into her online store’s operation, one of Springer’s many goals is to ensure that people, especially Black people, can surround themselves with things that resonate with them.
“I think there are a lot of people like me who care very much who makes the things they surround themselves with,” she said. “They care what they stand for, and there are very many people who understand that Black is large and complex and inclusive.”
Mmmm, Yes! is one of the many businesses that Duquesne Light Co. has had the pleasure of featuring in its Community Spotlight column. The company has featured 18 organizations so far in 2022, ranging from Let Keeta Mobile Pet Spa to Morant Law.