Your Name: Michelle Hamman

Business Name: MotherTongues

Type of Business: Clothing & Accessories

Business Location: United States

U.S. State: Tennessee


Reason for starting
As someone born and raised in South Africa, I brought to the United States values of community and being that are very different from North American culture. Seventeen years after leaving South Africa, however, I am more convinced than ever that one culture can educate another. And so MotherTongues, our small T-shirt company, was born.

Biggest Success
MotherTongues just released our first iPhone/iPad app, World Words. It teaches you one life-affirming word per day, with pronunciation and meaning. It is being downloaded around the world!

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
It has been difficult to find organic cotton, Fair Trade t-shirts in enough colors and styles for all the MotherTongues words. Fair Trade clothing is becoming more easily available in the USA as demand grows, so I hope this will not be a problem in the future.

Who is your most important role model?
Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela: two people who made a huge difference in the history and future of South Africa.