Building Community through Print on Demand

Spoonie Sister Shop unites the Chronic Illness community with custom apparel and gifts

Michelle Griffith started Spoonie Sister shop in the midst of uncertainty. She had been battling health issues for years, and still, no diagnosis. 

Six years after her initial symptoms, doctors finally assigned a name to what she was feeling. That’s when Michelle found the online chronic illness community.

“I saw these incredible advocates just proudly talking about their chronic illnesses online and openly sharing about what they were going through,” Michelle said. “And it inspired me to also start trying to raise awareness of my own chronic illnesses.”

Michelle opened Spoonie Sister Shop, an Etsy shop dedicated to chronic illness awareness. Print on Demand allowed her to run her own business from home in the heights of her illness.

“When it first started, I expected it to basically be a fun side hobby that would distract me from my own symptoms and hopefully spread a little awareness and joy along the way,” Michelle said. “But then over time it just evolved into something so much bigger and it has just grown so much more than I ever could have imagined.”

Spoonie Sister Shop now has over 30k Instagram followers, many looking to increase awareness for unique and rare diagnoses.

“Print on demand allows me to just make one t-shirt at a time or one sticker at a time,” Michelle said. “And that's exactly what people are looking for… I can have a huge variety of conditions in my shop, completely unlimited.”

Her instagram feed is full of beaming patients wearing bright Spoonie Sisters designs.

“Honestly, running Spoonie sister shop has been so good for my mental health through all of the physical health issues,” Michelle said. “Just seeing these people [posting their Spoonie Sister Shop gear] and knowing that, oh, this is actually making a difference. Like this is amazing.”

You can find Michelle’s products and community at @SpoonieSisterShop on Etsy and Instagram.

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