For our gift guide this year, we rounded up a list of some of our favorite female-founded small businesses. As a fully women-owned and operated small businesses ourselves, we know the unique challenges women face in entrepreneurship. For this series, we will be highlighting some of the amazing women makers, artists, and business owners behind these shops and help inspire you to go after your dreams! First up is Kelsey of Moonbeam Apparel, a size-inclusive and self-love-celebrating clothing shop based in Logan, Utah and online. Enjoy!
Tell us about you and your business!
Hi! I am Kelsey, you can call me Kels, and I own Moonbeam Apparel. I think I'm a good (or maybe dangerous) combination of dreamer and doer. I dream up an idea and then I'm determined to do it. Hence how I came to dream up the idea of Moonbeam, quit my job, and three months later I had a website and storefront. I guess if life is a swimming pool, I like to cannonball in. I love all animals and people. I'm an empath, which sometimes feels like a curse and superpower. I'm big on women empowerment and everything fashion. When I'm not working, you might find me exploring the mountains by my house with my husband and two shelter dogs, or cuddled up at home with a book and my two cats. I am messy, impatient and stubborn, but working on it. I started Moonbeam Apparel in late 2017. Moonbeam is a clothing boutique focused on inclusivity and body positivity. I believe every person in every phase of life should be celebrated and that clothing should be a fun way to express yourself. I incorporated the moon into my business because I think she has a lot of similarities to us as women. We all go through phases, and I believe we are meant to shine bright and make waves sometimes. Hence why Moonbeam's tagline is, "shine on and make waves".
What inspired you to start Moonbeam Apparel?
Ever since I can remember, I've put together outfits that some think are a little bit . . . "out there". I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Wow, I could never pull that off." Still trying to figure out if that's a compliment or not. But I've always been more into wearing what makes me feel happy and the most ME than what others thought. That's what fashion should be! Embracing your body and your style to express and love yourself. Looking around before starting Moonbeam, I didn't see a whole lot of that in the fashion industry. I wanted to start something with clothes that were unique, while also showcasing those clothes on all the different and absolutely beautiful body types out there! I went in knowing the boutique industry was saturated, but I felt so passionately about the message behind the clothing that I never looked back.
What has been your biggest challenge since starting a business?
Oh man, there are a lot of challenges. Ha ha. I am a recovering people pleaser. I want everyone to like me. But guess what? Not everyone likes me. Not everyone likes the product I sell. Not everyone agrees with what I'm passionate about. Earlier this year, I was vocal about some things that were important to me. I lost Instagram followers. I probably lost some customers. Then after a little more time, I got way more followers and customers than before, and it's because my message resonated with them! I lost some people who maybe weren't a great fit, but found more of my people in the process . . . people who love Moonbeam and have helped me build an awesome community. I love that. It's shown me how important it is to always be true to yourself, even though not everyone will like it. The right people WILL like it and will show up for you. Every challenge in this business has taught me an important lesson. Challenges can be a great thing!
Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by so many people. So many! Sure, there are some influential, famous people who inspire me in different ways, but "regular" people are constantly inspiring me too. I just think people are so beautiful and wonderful. Kind people inspire me. People who are unapologetically themselves inspire me. People who stand up for others inspire me. People who celebrate others inspire me. I am positive if I sat down and talked to you, you would inspire me. No doubt.
My mom is a specific person who always inspires me. Everything she does is to make the world around her a better place, and I want to be more like that. She's been so supportive of my business. She even works at the Moonbeam Apparel storefront one day a week. Our customers love her. She's actually way cooler than me but don't tell her that. We don't want it going to her head.
What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs just getting started?
Focus on the things that light you up and incorporate that into your business! You have to have passion behind your business besides just wanting to make money. If it's all about money and sales, you'll get burnt out or your customer base will burn out. Focus on building a community for yourself rather than just a customer base. Also, don't fall in the trap of comparison. There's enough room in this world for every woman to be successful, I truly believe that. Just do you, and your light will attract the right people.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming a business owner?
I have learned that I am capable. Up to this point, I've bought all the product, built and updated the website, styled all my shoots, taken all my own photos, edited all my own photos, managed all my own social media, and I feel like I've succeeded. Before starting Moonbeam, I was drifting along, feeling pretty lost. I worked in a couple jobs where I didn't feel like my skills were being put to use, and I started to question my worth. Now I know I'm worth it. I'm also now learning that I don't HAVE to do everything myself. I am starting to ask for help and delegating things to my wildly talented team members. They want to help and they are beyond capable of doing so. Asking for help is a badass thing to do. You can do anything you put your mind to, and you can do it even better if you are willing to ask for help.
What's next for Moonbeam Apparel?
I want to start producing more of our own designs. It's scary admitting that out loud, but I'm putting it out in the universe and going to make it happen! Our most popular items, by far, are our Moonbeam Made graphic tees. I think it's because the style and message speaks to people, but also because we offer them in sizes xs-3xl. I want to create more unique designs in a variety of sizes. It's frustrating how difficult it is to find cute plus size clothes from manufacturers. I want to just make my own! Every person deserves to find something cool that fits their body. I know if we branched out to other designs, they would be a hit.
P.S. We're giving away shop credit to Moonbeam Apparel and Lime Ricki over on our Instagram! Head to our feed to enter!