Teen: ‘I feel like the ball is starting to roll’

Inspired by family farmers, local teens begins venture as entrepreneur

By Kevin Spradlin
PiedmontPostNC.com

OAK RIDGE — What began as a slogan and a modest gesture to honor hard-working family members has turned into a business plan for a local teen.

Miller Browning, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at Northwest Middle School, said it was three years ago that he was inspired to create a T-shirt for his Uncle Eddie Miller and Great-Grandfather Dick Miller. The two men work together to operate a large family farm in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The slogan? Do Work That Matters.

Kevin Spradlin | PiedmontPostNC.com Miller Browning, an eighth-grader at Northwest Middle School, has started an apparel company to honor those in occupations that “do work that matters.” The list of professions honored include the farmers, police officers, firefighters and members of the armed services. Over time, the list of honored occupations will grow.

Kevin Spradlin | PiedmontPostNC.com
Miller Browning, an eighth-grader at Northwest Middle School, has started an apparel company to honor those in occupations that “do work that matters.” The list of professions honored include the farmers, police officers, firefighters and members of the armed services. Over time, the list of honored occupations will grow.

The two men work from dawn to dusk, Miller said, and “they’re feeding people and making sure cattle get food.”

Crops include alfalfa, corn, wheat and wool shorn from the sheep that graze the land. What they do matter to a whole bunch of people, Miller said – even if those people don’t know it. Creating the T-shirt, Miller said, was a way to honor their legacy. The idea could soon become a part of Miller’s own legacy.

Miller said his dad, Greg Browning, loved the initial idea and helped him think bigger.

His dad “thought it would be something more than just a T-shirt for a family member.

“He thought we should branch out,” Miller said.

Boy have they. The list of recognized professions includes members of the armed services as well as teachers, nurses, Christians, law enforcement, EMS personnel and firefighters. After sharing a link to a Channel 12 news story on his Do Work That Matters Facebook page, one follower asked if his apparel recognizes those involved with animal rescue.

Not yet, Miller replied, but “it’s on my list.”

Miller gets his supply of apparel from a third-party vendor, then gets the items screen-printed or embroidered by a local company.

His mother, Chriscilla Browning, insisted that Miller has been at the forefront of the movement over the past three years. Of course, his mom and dad step in whenever necessary – such as shipping out orders while Miller’s at school, for example, or spearheading the effort to get the phrase “Do Work That Matters” protected by a trademark.

In fact, it was only since that trademark was approved that Miller launched his website, www.DoWorkThatMatters.Us.

“I feel like the ball is starting to roll,” Miller said. “More people are learning about the business and we’re getting more sales every day.”

The goal, he said, is to eventually make a profit. Once that happens, he plans to donate 10 percent of proceeds from sales back to the organizations his apparel is honoring.

Filed in: Business, Farm & Ag, Featured News, Latest Headlines, Military and Veterans, News, Oak Ridge, Public safety

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