During this episode, Nicole and Claire tell us all about how and why they started this business and the steps they took to get it where it is today.

Here’s What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • The story of how Moonlight Makers began (hint: the business looks VERY different from when it first started)
  • How Nicole and Claire knew it was time to start hiring employees
  • What Nicole and Claire do when they disagree about something
  • Why they decided NOT to outsource their production overseas
  • And many other hilarious (and serendipitous) stories from their journey

Enjoyed this interview? We think you might also dig this episode with Gillie Roberts, founder of Ware.


Show Notes

This episode is brought to you by Range Urgent Care, an Asheville-based clinic that offers affordable healthcare, transparent pricing, and streamlined, friendly service. Learn more about Range Urgent Care.

*Enjoy your first month free of annual membership at Range Urgent Care. Use code ‘makingitinasheville’ at checkout. Offer valid for a limited time only.


Moonlight Makers a T-shirt and gift shop based in Asheville, North Carolina. They make silly, often punny T-shirts, totes, dish towels, mugs, and more. In addition to their brick and mortar store located in downtown Asheville, Moonlight Makers is an Amazon Handmade member.

Salvage Station is an outdoor venue featuring live music, a bar, and small bites. During festivals, Moonlight Makers used to park their bus here and sell products.

Leaf Festival is an annual community arts festival that takes place on the site of the old Historic Black Mountain College. This is one of the many festivals that Moonlight Makers attends.

Tag Gun = the one tool that changed Moonlight Makers forever. For a long time, Nicole and Claire were tagging their T-Shirts by hand using safety pins. When they discovered this tag gun, it drastically improved their production time!

Venture Asheville grows Asheville’s startup community and connects high-growth entrepreneurs to talent, mentors, and investors through unique programming and events. Moonlight Makers if a part of the Elevate Mentorship program. They also ranked #13 in the Venture 15 awards for the fastest-growing startups in Asheville.

Jeff Kaplan is the Director of Venture Asheville and a mentor to Moonlight Makers.

Taco Billy was mentioned during this episode because Claire has a small collection of their taco stickers.

The accounting and finance software, QuickBooks, featured Moonlight Makers is in a special series of video commercials featuring small business. You can watch their episode with Moonlight Makers here.

Amazon Handmade is a brand of Amazon that features unique, genuinely handcrafted products created by artisans around the world. Moonlight Makers is a member.

Derren Brown is an English illusionist and author. During this episode, we talk about his experiment on “The Secret of Luck

Music by Commonwealth Choir


Curious to learn more about what we do?

Making It in Asheville is a podcast where we go behind the scenes with artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs in Asheville. We learn about what they’re making and how they’re making it in Asheville.

Making It in Asheville is powered by Making It Creative, our boutique marketing and business consulting agency. We help passionate small business owners build and improve their sales and communication strategies. Learn more here.


We appreciate your support!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribelikereview, and/or share. Each review means than you might think as they help this episode get discovered on podcast players.

To recommend an interviewee, visit MakingItInAsheville.com/podcast

I’ve always tried to relentlessly focus my thought process to [something that is] reality-based. Get out of your own head and see what the world is valuing.

– Clint Spiegel

When we met Clint for the podcast interview, we began by taking a tour of his 70,000 square feet factory. There are big machines and lots of metal parts everywhere you look. In between each machine, is a handful of employees wearing protective face gear, working away to keep the parts moving through the system. The floor is covered in what can only be described as “metal sawdust.” Oh, and it’s loud. Very loud.

Clint yells over his shoulder, “I’ve been walking on metal shards all my life.”

He’s not joking.

Since the day he was born, Clint has been surrounding by manufacturing. Many years ago, his dad had established a machine shop in Asheville that manufactured parts for a variety of industries throughout the world. At age five, Clint began to join his dad at work, learning the ins and outs of the industry. After graduating from college with a degree in Computer Science, Clint found his way back to his family’s business, eventually taking it over and making it his own. Although the business has evolved since then, he and his dad continue to work together on certain aspects.

Clint identifies as a “constant innovator” with an “overactive mind.” Over the years, he’s started numerous businesses, from manufacturing knives to building engineering software and industrial robotics. Some of these businesses failed and faded away, but some of them—like Industry Nine (appropriately name “nine” because it was his ninth business)—have been wildly successful.

During our interview with Clint, which feels like an MBA-level course on entrepreneurship, we try to unpack what he thinks has contributed to Industry Nine’s success and how he’s thinking about the future.

Here’s What You’ll Learn in this Episode

  • How the idea for Industry Nine came about
  • Clint’s insight on innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship
  • What makes Industry Nine’s cycling parts different from others in the industry
  • What client identifies as “the perfect mix” for entrepreneurship
  • Key milestones and turning points in Clint’s business
  • The importance of focus and keeping your edge when running a business
  • Tips for managing employees (Clint has about 90 currently)

Show Notes

Industry Nine manufactures and hands build custom cycling components. They’re based in Asheville, NC. Connect with them via their Website, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube page.

Places

Miscellaneous

Music by Commonwealth Choir


Curious to learn more about what we do?

Making It in Asheville is a podcast where we go behind the scenes with artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs in Asheville. We learn about what they’re making and how they’re making it in Asheville.

Making It in Asheville is powered by Making It Creative, our boutique marketing and business consulting agency. We help passionate small business owners build and improve their sales and communication strategies. Learn more here.


We appreciate your support!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribelikereview, and/or share. Each review means than you might think as they help this episode get discovered on podcast players.

To recommend an interviewee, visit MakingItInAsheville.com/podcast

People read things and they have great ideas, but they never do anything…that’s the difference between people who have their own business and the people who don’t. You need to take action if you want things to happen.

– Kyle Brown

In this episode, we interview Kyle Brown, the founder of Clawhammer Supply. Clawhammer manufactures and sells home brewing and home distilling equipment online, directly to consumers.

The idea for Clawhammer was born out of Kyle’s own curiosity and love of “tinkering.” He has always loved building things from scratch and learning the inner workings of how seemingly complex processes occur.

“The thing about this story is that I’m just a guy who was just making stills in the basement and one day a lot of people wanted to buy them. I don’t have any formal business training,” says Kyle.

But, as you’ll hear more about in the episode, the key difference-maker that helped Kyle grow his business into one of the largest home-brewing and distilling equipment companies in the world was the guts to take action.

Here’s What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • The story of how Clawhammer Supply got its start
  • How Kyle used Google Ads to test the viability of his product
  • The strategy and tactics Kyle employes to scale his business
  • How Kyle leveraged organic content and email marketing to grow his business sustainably
  • Tips for coming up with new content ideas
  • Fun facts about beer, homebrewing, and distilling

Show Notes

Clawhammer Supply manufactures and sells homebrewing and home distillation equipment online direct to consumers. They were kind enough to offer us an affiliate link so anything that you buy at Clawhammer by clicking this link pays us a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting our podcast and our guests’ businesses!

Connect with them via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

Books:

People:

Podcasts:

Shows:

Places

Kickstarter.co

 

Music by Commonwealth Choir


Curious to learn more about what we do?

Making It in Asheville is a podcast where we go behind the scenes with artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs in Asheville. We learn about what they’re making and how they’re making it in Asheville.

Making It in Asheville is powered by Making It Creative, our boutique marketing and business consulting agency. We help passionate small business owners build and improve their sales and communication strategies. Learn more here.


We appreciate your support!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribelikereview, and/or share. Each review means than you might think as they help this episode get discovered on podcast players.

To recommend an interviewee, visit MakingItInAsheville.com/podcast

If I post a job posting…I get all these awesome applicants and most of them read like: ‘I know my resume is all restaurants and banking, but I just wanna make stuff with my hands.’ And I can relate to that. It’s like this primal instinct or something where you just want to create something because it’s so gratifying.” – Gabriel Hargett

In this episode, we interview Gabriel Hargett, the founder and owner of Oowee Products. Oowee is a handcrafted leather goods company based in Asheville NC. They create all sorts of custom leather products, from high-quality pint glass sleeves to leather-patched hats and more. And you know what else? They employ a hardworking team of adults that are on the Autism spectrum to help them with hand sewing and packaging up their products. Pretty rad. We know.

Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • How Oowee products got its start (hint hint: it’s connected to the brewery industry)
  • Where the name Oowee came from
  • What it was like for Gabriel to transition from a full-time day job to a full-time business owner
  • Why Gabriel decided to employ adults on the autism spectrum
  • Oowee’s marketing strategy
  • How Gabriel is applying the concept of lean manufacturing to his business
  • Gabriel’s favorite things to do in Asheville

Check out the full episode below!


Show Notes

Oowee Products creates custom, high-quality leather goods handmade in Asheville, NC. They are proud to employ adults on the autism spectrum to assemble all of their products. Connect with them on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Mountain Biz Works is a local non-profit organization that helps offers small businesses learning and lending opportunities. This is where Gabriel and his team took business classes that helped improve their marketing and business strategy.

Lean manufacturing is a concept that calls for constantly improving and tweaking the manufacturing process by eliminating unnecessary and unhelpful steps. Gabriel is constantly applying this concept to his business.

The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt is a parable business book on the process of ongoing improvement. It’s a powerful book for anyone who works in the manufacturing industry.

The Wedge is where Gabe likes to enjoy a casual beer.

Mellow Mushroom is where Gabe goes for consistently good pizza with a groovy vibe.

Bent Creek is one of Gabe’s favorite places to go mountain biking.


Curious to learn more about what we do?

Making It in Asheville is a podcast where we go behind the scenes with artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs in Asheville. We learn about what they’re making and how they’re making it in Asheville.

Making It in Asheville is powered by Making It Creative, our boutique marketing and business consulting agency. We help passionate small business owners build and improve their sales and communication strategies. Learn more here.


Show us some love, will ya?

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribelikereview, and/or share! It means more to us than you might think.

To recommend an interviewee, visit MakingItInAsheville.com/podcast

“I’m a Ferrari-in-a-bathroom-doing-donuts-kind-of-person,”

– Jack Roche

And that he is. Jack is truly a Renaissance man, constantly involved in multiple projects and businesses, always in pursuit of learning the next thing.

This conversation was a thrill-ride. Jack, as the owner and founder of Old North, has built a business that is both fulfilling and allows him to constantly pursue new curiosities — like sailing from the Caribbean to Maine or living in the jungles of the Amazon.

Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Old North’s origin story as a retail store in Asheville (it opened at the worst possible time)
  • The importance of pivoting early and often when you’re a new business
  • The logic of understanding and diversifying your risk as an entrepreneur
  • Why positive reinforcement is so important in entrepreneurship
    How critically important resilience is — especially in a seasonal business
  • Jack’s thoughts on working in the clothing industry, why he loves it and why he hates it
  • Lessons on buying products for a retail shop (larry vs nick), including the differences between creating your own private label vs. carrying other brands
  • Jack’s shares some thoughts on his marketing and brand strategy
    We talk about men’s fashion, women’s fashion and what it means to communicate with your clothes
  • What to do if you don’t know where to begin with improving your personal style
  • Jack shares his perspective on the community in Asheville and his favorite restaurants/bars in town


Show Notes

Old North is a boutique clothing store specializing in exceptional quality from American, Japanese, and European manufacturers. Think: timeless tees, casual cargoes, and durable denim made for the effortless stylists. You can connect with them on their website and on Instagram

Books and concepts mentioned during this episode:
During the episode, we talked about a couple of concepts from noteworthy books. One was the idea of building a muse business as referenced in the 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. The other was accessing a state of “flow” as discussed in depth in the book Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Jack’s Favorite Restaurants & Bars in Asheville:

  • Bull & Beggar – “Consistently the best restaurant experience I’ve ever had in my life.”
  • Crucible – “I don’t drink beer — it smells like farts, so this is my favorite bar.”
  • All Souls Pizza – “It reminds me of portland in the 80s.”

Music by Commonwealth Choir


Curious to learn more about what we do?

Making It in Asheville is a podcast where we go behind the scenes with artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs in Asheville. We learn about what they’re making and how they’re making it in Asheville.

Making It in Asheville is powered by Making It Creative, our boutique marketing and business consulting agency. We help passionate small business owners build and improve their sales and communication strategies. Learn more here.


We appreciate your support!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribelikereview, and/or share. Each review means than you might think as they help this episode get discovered on podcast players.

To recommend an interviewee, visit MakingItInAsheville.com/podcast

I think trusting that your customer can handle the truth and treating them like a human you might see in the street really goes a long way.”

– Connie Matisse

Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • The behind-the-scenes story of how East Fork got its start
  • Connie explains how East Fork grew from a small pottery company to a national brand and shares some of the growing pains they experienced along the way
  • Advice for deciding whether or not you should go into business with your friends and loved ones and how to maintain a balanced relationship once you do
  • The unique customer service and care approach that East Fork follows
  • East Fork’s strategy for creating engaging Instagram and newsletter content in order to nurture and gently guide their customers
  • How to know if you should turn your craft into a business
  • The three East Fork products Connie recommends for first-time buyers
  • Connie’s perspective on the city of Asheville and how it’s changed over the years
  • Connie’s favorite spots in Asheville
  • Exciting initiatives coming up in the future for East Fork


Show Notes

About East Fork
East Fork Pottery makes beautiful ceramic dinnerware and pottery using materials from the local Blue Ridge Mountains. Founded in 2009 by Alex Matisse, Connie Matisse, and John Vigeland, the company has grown quickly from a small group of friends and artists who had a good “hunch” and creative sense of style to a full-blown, nationally-recognized ceramic business with multiple product lines, an ever-growing need for warehouse and factory space, and an executive team. Despite its growth, East Fork has strived to remain true to its mission: create beautiful, durable, and timeless ceramics in the U.S. following sustainable and ethical practices.

Connect with East Fork on their Website, Instagram (@EastForkPottery and @EastForkAsheville), and Facebook.

Connie’s Top Asheville Picks
Here are a few of Connie’s favorite places to hang out at in Asheville (among many others on the East Fork Recommends list we mentioned in our Trusted Advisor Theory blog post).

Music by Commonwealth Choir


Curious to learn more about what we do?

Making It in Asheville is a podcast where we go behind the scenes with artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs in Asheville. We learn about what they’re making and how they’re making it in Asheville.

Making It in Asheville is powered by Making It Creative, our boutique marketing and business consulting agency. We help passionate small business owners build and improve their sales and communication strategies. Learn more here.


We appreciate your support!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribelikereview, and/or share. Each review means than you might think as they help this episode get discovered on podcast players.

To recommend an interviewee, visit MakingItInAsheville.com/podcast

Gillie, a Brevard native, opened shop less than a year ago after finally realizing her dream of combining her love of art and fashion with her degree in sustainability.

Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • the defining moment when Gillie decided to open a retail front
  • the steps she took to raise capital funds, source products, and find the right name for her business
  • how Gillie thinks about marketing and community engagement
  • advice and tips for practicing sustainability in your own life

We hope you enjoy Gillie’s go-getter attitude and inspiring story.

Ware Asheville

Show Notes

Check out Gillie’s shop, Ware.

Gillie hosts community events frequently in her shop and is always getting in new eco-friendly products. To stay up-to-date with the latest happenings, follow Ware on Instagram.

Gillie’s Asheville Favorites:

Music by Commonwealth Choir.


Curious to learn more about what we do?

Making It in Asheville is a podcast where we go behind the scenes with artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs in Asheville. We learn about what they’re making and how they’re making it in Asheville.

Making It in Asheville is powered by Making It Creative, our boutique marketing and business consulting agency. We help passionate small business owners build and improve their sales and communication strategies. Learn more here.


We appreciate your support!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribelikereview, and/or share. Each review means than you might think as they help this episode get discovered on podcast players.

To recommend an interviewee, visit MakingItInAsheville.com/podcast