Who doesn’t dream of starting a business with their best friend? For Jessica Frank and Haylie Duff, they took this daydream one step further and started an adorable children’s clothing line, Little Moon Society. Merging Jessica’s long-time industry knowledge and Haylie’s intuition for marketing and social media, the pair is a match made in business partner heaven. Each piece in the line is created with wearability and durability in mind and produced locally in LA using the softest fabrics and most adorable hand-dyed tie die patterns. We loved having Haylie on our recent All About That Mama panel and when we heard that the duo worked out of a vintage airstream trailer, we knew we needed to learn more. Read on…
Hi ladies! Congrats on the success of your new children’s clothing brand, Little Moon Society. Tell us how this collaboration came to be.
Haylie: Well, during bath time with our kids honestly! Jessica had a kid’s line in Vancouver and had given [my daughter] Ryan some pieces. I realized she kept wanting to wear them, and both of us were always grabbing for them first, so I sent Jess a text asking her if she wanted to create a kids line together, and the rest is history.
When did you learn that you could take your relationship beyond friendship and move into business partner territory?
We realized pretty early on that we would make great partners. We have respect for our 15+ year friendship above all else. We know when to make our opinion known and when to let things go! We have each other’s backs no matter what, and that kind of trust is earned over time.
How has the process gone? Do you have “ground rules” for working as co-founders or developed specific strategies for working so closely together?
We don’t really feel we need rules because we sincerely want to help and support each other, and that sincerity shines in every avenue of our business. If we divide up tasks, we naturally run everything by each other first. We organically fell into our roles where we are the strongest, but LMS is truly a collaboration, through and through.
Tell us more about how your strengths differ and how this translates into who manages which part of your business?
Haylie: I think knowing your own strengths and weaknesses is a huge part of working well with a partner. Jessica has been in the apparel industry for so many years that I tend to listen to her in regards to manufacturing and production. And she tends to listen to me on things like social media, marketing, branding, and so on.
Jessica: Our minds work in two completely different ways, yet in the end we typically always agree. It’s pretty awesome to experience the differences in our design meetings because what comes out of it is so awesome and unique. Our partnership has forced me to work outside of my comfort zone, and I think the same for Haylie, so I feel it’s made us both better business owners and designers.
Where did the name Little Moon Society come from?
We had been talking about the things that inspire us, mainly our kids, and how they go through so many different types of phases – mentally, emotionally, physically, even their styles. They are constantly changing, like the phases of the moon. It just kind of came together naturally. We also wanted to capture a feeling of unity, hence Society.
We love the tie-dyed material that you use in your designs. Tell us more about that.
Thank you, we do too! Our custom dyes are all done by hand, one garment at a time. We mill our own fabrics here in Los Angeles as well. Because the fabrics are so premium, we don’t use any chemicals to soften it. They are just solid, well-made fabrics, enhanced by our super dope custom dyes, designed with love by us!
We love that your garments are proudly made in LA. Why was this important to you?
This is a topic that we are very passionate about and is a deep rabbit hole. Manufacturing in Los Angeles was not an option it was the only option for us. The conditions in which most garments overseas are made really strike a chord with us. There are unfair wages, children sitting at their mother’s feet for extremely long hours, and no environmental regulations when it comes to disposing of chemicals and pollutants. There are rivers in China that actually run in a rainbow of colors, and not in an awesome way. Americans alone dispose of over 13 million pounds of clothing annually. The majority of these fabrics take decades upon decades to break down in landfills, if at all, not just because of the volume but because of the poor quality and fabric ingredients. We tend to be the “anti-fast fashion” chicks. We believe in quality over quantity. Ha! See, told you… deep rabbit hole.
We feel that women are making tremendous strides as leaders in the workplace, and we feel so proud to be two strong women in a predominantly male industry.
Clearly you both have amazing connections in Hollywood. Is there one celebrity kid that you’d love to see rocking your line?
We get asked this often and our answer always tends to be the same – our goal has never been to be a “celebrity” brand. We get so excited when we see our pieces on a cute kid playing at the park or the baby at the local Farmer’s Market. We’ll never get used to that feeling! We honestly created this brand to make kids feel empowered and comfortable, every day, for all of their adventures.
Why do you think it’s empowering for women to collaborate and work together? What have you learned most by working with other women?
By choice, we have partnered with mostly female-based companies. We mainly work with women at our dye house and fabric miller. (But our manufacturer is male and he is amazing!) We feel that women are making tremendous strides as leaders in the workplace, and we feel so proud to be two strong women in a predominantly male industry.
Running your own business and being a mother is all consuming. How do you manage your time between work and family? Do you have any favorite “life hacks” or “non-negotiables” you’ve picked up along the way?
Truthfully, it’s not easy! We spend a lot of time working in our vintage airstream office until 1am because the kids are asleep and we can really focus. We both are very passionate about our kids and want to be able to put the phones away and be present with them. So the night shift it is!
How do you practice self care?
We sneak away for Pilates classes together in between meetings, and try to keep ourselves healthy so we don’t burn out. We are obsessed with Vital Protein’s collagen and try to encourage each other to rest when we need it!
Like any venture, we really don’t believe in one right way of doing things, or a silver bullet. If your whole heart is in it, and you try your best, then you’re already successful.
Be kind... mainly to yourself! We all put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best mother, partner, person we can be. Know that you will make mistakes along the way and that’s ok!
Make time to do the things you love to do BEFORE you have children. Because there surely won’t be much time to do them once the babies arrive.