If you find something that you love and are passionate about, you can find a way to make money doing it.
This was the case for Kelly Sheppard-Shatat, designer and founder of Moon & Lola, a multimillion dollar jewelry, accessories, and lifestyle brand that began as a hobby.
Today, Moon & Lola can be found in over 1,000 storefronts nation-wide, including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, and worn by celebrities such as Paula Dean, the members of the pop girl band, Fifth Harmony, and country music sensation Trisha Yearwood.
Kelly, who attended Emmanuel College for pre-pharmacy, worked as a pharmacist after college but would spend evenings making jewelry, sometimes not stopping until the sun rose.
It was her good friend Avis Hemby Wicher that encouraged Kelly to pursue her dream, even giving her an outlet, asking her to have a booth at her Junior League festival.
After that, Kelly’s business began organically.
“I was trying to live two lives in one body ,” Kelly said “It came to a point where I needed to know that it could be all that I thought it could be, and I knew the only way I could do that was to step out in faith.”
Kelly now looks back on her time at Emmanuel College, realizing it was there that she was prepared for success.
Growing up in Raleigh, Kelly attended Capital Church as a teenager where many of the churchgoers had attended Emmanuel College and spoke highly of their time in Franklin Springs. At an impressionable age, Kelly decided to attend Emmanuel’s Preview Weekend and quickly fell in love.
“I think I was just enamored by the magic that people spoke of Emmanuel when I heard stories from former students,” Kelly said. “I quickly felt like I wanted a piece of that and wondered how I could get there.”
When she arrived on campus in 1989 Kelly found the magic in Emmanuel College that others spoke of…through meeting the people.
“I think what truly makes Emmanuel unique is the people,” Kelly said. “Being a part of a Godly foundation is a big part of it, but the people are what has made Emmanuel so special to me. The fact that it was kind of all by itself it helped the community bond even more than normal because we didn’t have the distractions around us.”
It’s that foundation that Kelly believes has helped prepare her for the success Moon & Lola continues to have.
“I think the older you get the more you realize the importance of your foundation,” she said. “I believe a lot of what I was taught at Emmanuel was education, but I was also taught character. Emmanuel does a good job of teaching you right from wrong, how to be good to others, set a good example, and what you need in life to be the best person you can be and feed your soul while doing it.”
Kelly began Moon & Lola full-time in 2010 and now the brand is sold internationally.
What Kelly enjoys the most about owning a business like Moon & Lola is that there is always something to achieve and strive for.
“There’s always a state you haven’t sold in, a boutique you haven’t sold in, or a magazine you haven’t been featured in,” Kelly said. “I think as you get older you get to know yourself better. I’ve learned that I’m creative but also competitive and self-competitive.”
As for Neiman Marcus, the national retailer discovered Moon & Lola by noticing the brand in a magazine and flew out to Moon & Lola’s headquarters to meet Kelly and bring the brand into their world. Other national brands like Nordstrom, quickly followed suit.
“I always say, God blesses me and Moon & Lola whether I deserve it or not,” Kelly said. “It has always felt like Moon & Lola was bigger than me and that it had a destiny that I didn’t even know. “
Kelly views Moon & Lola like a child, she created it but it has its own heartbeat, arms, and legs. Sometimes she’ll have to push the business along, when other times she’s asking it to slow down, which leaves her feeling extremely blessed.
“God has brought opportunity upon opportunity to Moon & Lola and I just try to make the best decisions that I can in each moment based on what is right for us and what isn’t,” Kelly said. “Through that, it has enabled me to employ several people which has been a great blessing.”
Kelly continues to do most of the design work herself, but has several talented designers on staff that have helped her in keeping the brand consistent.
“Every piece of Moon & Lola has my stamp of approval on it,” Kelly said. “As far as branding, I’m constantly making sure that everything is on brand and I’m very particular about things that speak to the brand and make sure things are run by my desk before being publicized.”
Several celebrities have been seen wearing the Moon & Lola brand, something Kelly believes the company should publicize more.
“Fifth Harmony, they wore our jewelry,” she said. “Trisha Yearwood and Tori Kelly are other singers that wear our stuff. It’s unbelievable that they know who you even are, that you’re on their radar.”
2015 was the company’s second consecutive year being recognized as one of “Oprah’s Favorite Things,” which Kelly believes is hard to beat. In 2016, Moon & Lola was featured again in O Magazine on Adams Gift Guide.
A popular saying, “If you shoot for the Moon, you’ll land among the stars,” holds true in the story of Moon & Lola and Kelly Sheppard-Shatat. Kelly believed in herself that she could become successful in starting her own business, and through this Moon & Lola has become bigger than she could have ever imagined.
To find out more about Moon & Lola, visit www.moonandlola.com. The e-commerce store is a shopping destination and shopping mecca for most of the South and is constantly updated with new product and evolving with relevant collaborations to keep the Moon and Lola customer ‘happy’!