Join Login Search
For Electric Cooperative Members
For Electric Cooperative Members

Bigger and Better—Together

Makers grow Texas’ colorful homecoming mum tradition—and their own skills—by working cooperatively

Homecoming season is upon us.

How can you tell? Well, there’s football, for sure. And the unflinching heat finally starts standing down. But maybe the biggest—BIGGEST—clues are the over-the-top mum assemblies that high school students flaunt in the name of school spirit and Texas tradition.

It used to be that homecoming mums meant corsages, a nice arrangement easily pinned to a dress. But sometime in the 1970s, Texas mums became Texas-sized—extravagant masses of ribbons, buttons, charms and bells.

Families could spend hours creating them. Or they can turn to someone like Kisha Clark, for whom mums are serious business. Just don’t call them cute.

“When I hear someone call my mum business cute, that’s like nails on a chalkboard to me,” Clark says, laughing. “This isn’t a hobby. I’m not just throwing glitter at the kitchen table. Mums are works of art. I take them seriously, and I take my business seriously, too.”

So seriously that Clark launched Mums Inc., a professional organization for mum-makers. Clark, who lives in Providence Village, near Denton, believes there’s power in numbers and in working cooperatively—whether it’s for sourcing materials in bulk, staying on top of new trends, referring customers or building skills.

“Really anything,” Clark said. “When I first got started making mums, the business was competitive. But I think we’re better together. I mean, doctors have professional membership organizations. Attorneys do too. But nobody was talking about the mum industry this way. Why not?”

Clark, a member of CoServ, an electric cooperative based in the Metroplex, has been in the mum business for more than 20 years, first learning the trade from her grandmother while growing up near Fort Cavazos (formerly Fort Hood) in Killeen. She loved making mums in high school but never dreamed of making a career of them. Instead, she went to college and studied something totally different: cybersecurity.

Kisha Clark, a cybersecurity expert, is fully immersed in the mum-making business.

Wyatt McSpadden

Materials that will blossom into mums.

Wyatt McSpadden

But she wasn’t out of the mum business for long.

“It was 2002. I was 23 years old and driving home from my first cybersecurity job in Plano, and I passed a school with a big sign out front,” Clark said. “It said something about picking up homecoming mums, and I suddenly remembered how much I loved making them in high school. I thought, ‘Hey, I could do that.’ And from that moment, I became kind of obsessed with learning the business and making mums again.”

Clark scoured the internet to source supplies, get a better understanding of the market and network with other mum-makers. But in the early 2000s, information was scarce online. The mum business was driven mostly by word-of-mouth referrals, and it could be tough to get a foothold.

Clark saw an opportunity. With her unique combination of crafting skills and computer expertise, she says she became one of the first mum-makers to sell supplies, mum kits and custom mum designs on the internet.

Her first year was slow. She sold just two mums. But each homecoming season, Clark’s customer base grew, and within just a few years, it became less a hobby and more a bona fide side hustle. Today that business, DK Florals, produces 30–35 mums every season. Some take up to 24 hours of work, and they sell for anywhere from $250 to well over $800.

Maybe it’s because of Clark’s day job—managing a team of engineers—or maybe it’s because she’s a self-described leader by nature. But as her mum business grew more successful, Clark felt like there was potential for something much bigger.

“I was talking to another mum-maker friend,” Clark says. “She needed some supplies, and we ended up trading some items we both needed. We got to talking about the business, and we realized we needed to create some kind of network.”

That’s when Mums Inc. was born. It started as a Facebook group for mum-makers in 2012, but the conversation kept getting bigger.

A vast array of ribbons serves as Clark’s palette.

Wyatt McSpadden

Clark shows Lundyn Byrd some of her techniques for crafting a mum. Byrd, a 2023 Aubrey High School graduate, has had her own mum business for three years.

Wyatt McSpadden

“We started buying supplies together, which got us a better cost,” Clark says. “And as our numbers grew, we began teaching marketing. And from there, it just took off.” Before long, Clark was hosting events for Mums Inc. members and leading in-person and virtual classes. What started as a homegrown Facebook group has now spun into a full-fledged professional membership organization with 188 members from all over Texas and some from Oklahoma, New Mexico and Florida. For an annual fee of $35, mum-makers become part of a professional network, gaining access to its tips and techniques, resources, and referrals.

Mums Inc. has its own TikTok account where Clark shares social media marketing expertise. After all, the video-sharing social media network is practically tailor-made for showing off her big, colorful, ornate designs. And these days, most of Clark’s Generation Z customers are on there, too.

“TikTok has been great for us, but this is about so much more,” Clark says. “This is about us being taken seriously and giving people the tools they need to realize their full potential. And we’re not just a bunch of crafty moms. We’re businesswomen.”

Erica Muñoz McGlothin, a mum-maker and Mums Inc. board member, wholeheartedly agrees. The Temple mom began making mums for friends and family as a hobby.

“I’m kind of a creative person by nature,” she explains. “I love the pageantry of it. I love that it’s so Texas. So when my friends’ high school-aged kiddos needed a mum or a garter, they’d call me and I’d do it.”

Clark saw McGlothin’s work and saw the potential for a business. She reached out through Facebook and encouraged McGlothin to consider joining Mums Inc.

“That’s when I realized that this could be more than just a hobby,” McGlothin says. “I was just barely breaking even at the time, and I wasn’t really approaching this as an entrepreneur. And now I have a profitable business.”

Mums can easily weigh 10 pounds and sometimes twice that.

Wyatt McSpadden

But mostly, McGlothin is grateful that there’s a group of skilled artisans passing down a Texas tradition.

“In our group, there are so many years of professional mum-making experience,” she says. “We have people who have been making mums for their kids and grandkids, going back decades. That kind of experience is priceless—and it’s being handed down generation by generation in our group. We share braiding techniques, know-how and new trends. I find it all incredibly valuable.

“And I’m glad it’s not getting lost.”

For Clark, that kind of connection embodies the potential she envisioned when she started the mum collective. Yes, the big, beautiful mums themselves are the end product. But for Clark, Mums Inc. is really about people reaching their potential and building a community.

“Whether I’m managing engineers or leading Mums Inc., deep down, it’s about people growth,” Clark says. “I like to see people beyond what they see in themselves. Mums Inc. was like a bunch of flower seeds. They were going to grow, but now they’re in the same pot, growing together. And now we have this beautiful rainforest.”

Clark takes pride in knowing Mums Inc. members can help put their children through college, pay for family vacations or leave their jobs—because of mums.

“Yes, I love mums,” Clark says. “But my joy? It’s in seeing this community succeed.”