One of the many wonderful things about the membership of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association is the diversity of members; from apparel shops, breweries, restaurants, gift shops, wine and growler shops, jewelry stores and everything in between. The first 2016 Retailer of the Year recipient introduced through our blog was Starnes Jewelers and the Starnes family of Albemarle. Today we’d like for you to meet Moon & Lola, another 2016 Retailer of the Year awardee.
Moon and Lola is the creation of pharmacist-turned-jewelry designer, Kelly Shatat, a Raleigh native and graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill who launched the line in 2003 after a successful career as a pharmaceutical rep and clinical pharmacist.
Kelly, a creative type at heart, turned to designing jewelry as an outlet to fill the creative void left by her career in pharmacy. She got her start in the jewelry business by making and selling jewels at a Junior League holiday show in Greenville, NC where she took orders from several local boutiques. She began traveling around North and South Carolina, calling on boutiques, hosting trunk shows and picking up new wholesale accounts. She continued to make jewelry on her sofa at home, but as demand increased, she moved production to her dining room table, and then to her garage, at which time she recruited friends and pharmacy technicians to help. Finally, after she outgrew her garage, she moved production to a small studio space in downtown Apex and hired full-time help.
The name Moon and Lola originates from the nicknames Kelly (aka Lola) and her best friend, Avis (aka Moon), chose for one another while in college. The name captures the elements of lightheartedness and joy that their friendship and the company represents. “I wanted to remain lighthearted in business,” Shatat said. “There was nothing more lighthearted than how we felt at that time. The name is such a part of what this is. It’s a story of friendship.”
Best known for its personalized accessories, including its signature acrylic monogram necklace – a Moon and Lola original, pieces are handcrafted and assembled by the company’s jewelry artisans in its Apex production studio. Designs are chic, sophisticated, and classic with a modern twist. In addition to the brand’s best-selling monograms, nameplates, initial charms and cuff links (recently named as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things!), the line also includes sparkly earrings, stackable rings, state charms, zodiac signs, Greek letters and gift and home accessory items including conversation mugs, pillows and wall art.
Moon and Lola has graced the pages of fashion and lifestyle magazines alike, including InStyle, Lucky, People StyleWatch and O Magazine, just to name a few. Today, the line can be found in the company’s four retail locations (Cameron Village, Downtown Raleigh, Crabtree Valley Mall, King Street in Charleston, and Downtown Apex), as well as more than 1,000 boutiques across the country and overseas including, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.
Making people happy through fun and stylish jewelry isn’t the only contribution the company makes. Moon and Lola has a huge impact through its charitable endeavors, not only in Apex where it is located, but across the state, country and world. Kelly designed a collection in collaboration with Bob’s Buddies, a triangle-based charity founded by a Raleigh-based radio host, which funds research for pediatric brain tumors. Moon and Lola donates a portion of the proceeds from sales of the collection to Bob’s Buddies. Kelly was a Make-A-Wish 2016 Wish Champion for the Eastern North Carolina chapter. Moon and Lola partnered with the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Eastern North Carolina to grant the wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition. Kelly is a Woman Inspiring Strength & Hope (WISH) Champion committed to making a difference in the life of a child. Also, Moon and Lola’s Raleigh and Charleston stores sell beaded necklaces made by the Akola Project, a group who trains women in Uganda, and 100 percent of the proceeds go back to their villages.
“It’s such an honor to be named one of the North Carolina Retailers of the Year by the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association,” says Kelly Shatat. “At Moon and Lola, our mission is to spread happiness to others and we strive to do so through our merchandise, customer service and charitable giving. Being a recipient of this award tells us that we are on the right track and helps spread our message and mission across our wonderful state.”