Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle. It’s a mindset, a routine; it’s the culmination of hardwork and discipline. But how do you reach it? And once there, how do you maintain it? Can one really balance a successful entrepreneurial career, with the demanding schedule of every day family life? Well, this LuLaRoe Retailer has! Katie May Mooney is one of LuLaRoe’s top Independent Fashion Retailers—and she’s got plans for more!
In our interview with Katie May, see how one girl reached for the stars, and gained incredible confidence along the way.
Tell us about yourself—like where you’re from, where you grew up, and about your family!
Yeah. I'm an Orange County, California girl—born and raised; and I never intend on leaving. I love where we live because our entire family lives here. Travis and I actually both grew up in the same city, so we grew up about 20 minutes from Disneyland in Fullerton, California. We met in junior high doing musical theater, which he absolutely loves that I share with people. He's of course, real proud of that. [Laughs]. Now we have a son—Ben. He’s everything to us. Our family is now complete, and we're very excited about that.
When did you start LuLaRoe?
I became a LuLaRoe Retailer in January 2015, so four years ago. And I think this is the best time I've ever had in LuLaRoe, right now.
What has LuLaRoe helped you achieve?
Confidence and a feeling of control. Control is very important to me. I don't like for things to feel out of my control or to feel powerless in my own life. I believe I get to create the life that I want to live. I feel like if I was in another job—where raises, or financial benefits, or my schedule was dictated to me by someone else—I would be miserable. I love freedom, and I love control—and LuLaRoe has given me both. As well, it has given me so much confidence. I'm a completely different human than I was before LuLaRoe. I almost don't even recognize the girl that I was before LuLaRoe.
What’s one of your favorite things about LuLaRoe?
It has been great to be a part of this community that's so positive and supportive of each other. I can't believe I'm in a sales business where we're not competitive with each other. All the time I find that as Retailers we share what works and what doesn't work. We're giving constructive criticism. It's less about competition, and more about really making sure that everyone is successful. We understand the more successful others are, the more successful we can be. The stronger we build this brand overall, the more successful we can be. Having the aspect of competition removed has also increased my confidence.
What event has shaped your life the most?
I always found this question interesting. We used to ask this a lot in LuLaRoe when I first joined. I was often being asked to speak, to share our story, or what things shaped our lives. I always hesitated cause I feel like I have the most boring story in the world. I didn't really have anything super notable happen to me. But I eventually realized: that's kind of the story for a lot of people. Not all of us have had a big trauma, or a super impactful climax that's made us who we are.
An event that has really shaped who I am was when my mom got diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer in her late thirties. I was in junior high at the time and she was given six months to live. My mom survived and she's still alive today. Being faced with death at such an early age and seeing what that can do really shaped how I want to live my life. I realized that I can't take any day for granted and I want to get as much out of life that I can.
Life being short is definitely at the core of who I am. I want every day to be an adventure. I want to work hard and do everything I can each day, so that I can get the most out of my life. I think that really drives me, my business, and my personality.
Walk me through a typical day in your business.
We usually work from about 9am to 2pm. We drop Ben off at school at 9am, and then we come home and get right to work. We don't waste time. We're not playing about on the internet. We make sure the time we spend working is intentional and very aggressive. When we stay focused, we don’t have to work 60 hours a week. We're truly working 40, but that work is super intentional. We don't take a lot of time for ourselves during the day, because we want to get the work done.
Ben gets home around 3pm and that’s when we break for the day. From 3pm to 9pm, we're pretty hands-on with Ben. I might still be doing a sale if things are going really well and I'm really busy, or Travis might still be hanging up some inventory. But for the most part, we're both available to Ben. And then usually from about 9pm to 11pm, we're either LIVE and working on album sales, or fulfilling orders. That's really only a couple nights a week, that we're still working after Ben's in bed. Usually we're cuddled up and watching something on Netflix together.
Share one of your favorite memories you have from working your business.
One of my favorite parts about LuLaRoe is when we have an open house. My favorite memories are when friends come in, who are of completely different sizes, and shop together. We've had it happen probably three or four times - where two friends, one's a size 4 and one's a size 20, come and shop together. They both get to go and try on the same style. They both grab an Amelia dress, and they go and try it on. It’s probably not that big of a deal to the size 4, but I watch the size 20 experience such great joy to be shopping with her friend to feel included and get to wear the same thing. Yes it's a different size, but it's the exact same style as her friend. That’s incredibly uncommon in retail.
I know that pain. I know how embarrassing it is to go shopping with friends but not actually be able to shop. Growing up as a plus size child and teen I experienced it first hand. My friends would say, “Look at this shirt. This would look so cute on you.” I’d feel awful and have to say, “Yeah, but it only fits up to a size 10, and I'm a 20.” So LuLaRoe allowing multiple sizes to shop together really means the world to me.
Inclusivity is one of the greatest parts of LuLaRoe. It's what brought me to LuLaRoe in the first place, being able to shop with my friends for the same styles, and not feeling like I had to wear something that was specifically plus size. I finally was able to wear a style that was beautifully tailored for my size, but it was also what the skinny girls were wearing, too. Easily one of my favorite parts about this business: watching women feel included.
What does the future look like for you?
We've achieved so many of our dreams already with LuLaRoe, but that doesn't mean we're going to stop dreaming. I really feel like over the next five years, we're going to see a lot of growth in our team. We’ll bring in new Retailers and show them how to achieve the same success that we've achieved. We’d like to help young woman especially see what entrepreneurship can look like in their lives. We want to continue that spirit of empowering women - using this business to train, mentor, and show them what they can accomplish. Overall, I'm just really excited about the future of LuLaRoe.
What advice would you give yourself when you were first starting out as an entrepreneur?
If I could go back four years, I would tell myself to stop looking at what everyone else is doing, and figure out how I could do it differently. I think how a lot of new Retailers start out - they try to copy what everyone else is doing. It’s not a terrible strategy, but that’s not how you stand out in business, attract new customers, or build a business that lasts.
I think that some of the best Retailers in this business or business owners in general are actually the ones who really don't have a tribe. I think a tribe is so important, accountability partners are important, community is important; but I see a lot of the super successful business owners were the ones who were just thrown to the wolves. They had to figure out new ways to do things. They're the ones who brought innovation to this business.
So if I could go back four years, I would have spent my time and energy focused on how can I stand out in a crowd. I would have focused sooner on how I could create my own success in my own unique way.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with those reading this?
I really want everyone to know that I truly believe that we all, every single one of us—regardless of the circumstances or situation we’re in, or the limitations we think we have in life—have the power to create a life that we want. We have the control to make choices that will shape the outcome of our lives. Success comes from taking action every day, no matter how small you feel your action is. Success doesn't come from keeping the status quo. So be bold, get out of your comfort zone, and start working hard. Fortune favors the bold.
Who is your hero and why?
My dad, because he always balanced finding his own joy in life, with bringing joy to others in an incredible way.
What three words do you feel describe you the best?
Persistent, adventurous, loyal.
What has been inspiring you lately?
Lately, I have found myself very inspired by remarkable saleswoman who have utilized social media to sell products in such a way, you never even know you’re being sold to. They have created community and those who follow them feel like they know them or like they’re good friends.
What are you reading right now?
The field report. [laughs] But a real answer? I’m reading the Power of TED* for the fifteenth time; because it never gets old and I’m always renewed in my desire and abilities to move out of drama, after reading it.
What makes you the happiest?
Adventuring with my family—traveling or trying new things with them.
What shows are you watching on Netflix?
The Office & The West Wing are constantly on repeat on my Netflix.
If you could be an animal, what animal would you be and why?
I would be a sloth, because no one expects anything of them—except to move slowly, eat, and sleep.
What is your favorite candy bar?
Kit Kat Bars. But I don’t eat them like normal humans do I guess…I like to chomp into multiple bars at a time; I don’t like to break the individual bars apart. When people watch me eat a Kit Kat, they freak out a little.
What keeps you up at night?
I have a VERY hard time turning my brain off. I’m usually up late thinking about what I’m going to do the next day, what is the next adventure I want our family to go on, and how I can make my business more fun for my customers and myself.
What do you do to fill your cup?
I’m an extroverted introvert; so while I enjoy being around people, I really need time to myself to recharge. I love laying in the sunshine, going on hikes, and shopping by myself!
What is your personal philosophy in life?
When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence. I look for ways in my life to share whatever I have with others—whether that’s time, energy, funds, joy, etc. I just want to bring as many people along for the joy with me as possible.
If you could make one change, that would have the longest lasting impact on your life, what would it be?
I’d be significantly more organized with my finances. We’re being reasonably responsible with savings and retirement; but still, our day-to-day spending, taxes, and accounting is a big old mess. Having financial affairs in disarray creates undue stress and leaves me less room to see opportunities to curb my spending or invest in other things.
Without thinking too hard, what are five things you can’t live without?
Caffeine, Netflix, chocolate, tweezers, ultra fine point Sharpies.
What musician, band, or album are you listening to the most right now?
Lately I’ve been digging back into all the pop-punk and punk rock I loved in high school: New Found Glory, Taking Back Sunday, MxPx, etc. The playlist I listen to looks essentially the same as the one on my very first iPod.
What do you do for fun? Hobbies? Family activities?
We love to travel, build forts, have tickle wars, watch cars race, host parties, and binge-watch Netflix series.
What one piece of advice would you like to leave with the readers?
You are the only one who can create the life you want to live.