“Moonstruck Customs is just about spreading positivity. I started it so that I could give people an option for buying people gifts, and through that spread happiness. If getting yourself a shirt will make you happy then go for it. I just want to spread positivity.”
That’s Kayda Loney, the Owner and Operator of Moonstruck Customs, a clothing printing business.
“I provide custom t-shirts, crewnecks, and hoodies in whatever style, size and colours the customer wants,” Loney says
“I always thought of owning my own retail store, no matter what it was. I’ve just been a huge fan of fashion and for a long time I would look at something and think ‘that would look really good on a shirt,' and that design or idea wouldn’t exist or it would be really expensive.”
Loney continues, “I know there are people out there who think the same as me who want something specialized on their clothing to represent who you, are and you can’t actually get that, so I wanted to be the person who can make that happen for myself and for others.”
Loney says the idea started to form during a trip to Wasaga Beach two years ago.
“They have a store there that is similar to what I’m doing and it was an idea that just stayed in my head for about two years because I kept thinking that it would be such a fun job.”
Loney says what got her motivated to start was going through the Summer Company program, operated by the Business Centre of Nipissing Parry Sound.
“I found out about Summer Company through my brother because he did the program a few years ago. I told him that I really wanted to start this business but I don’t have enough money for it and I don’t know enough about starting a business. He told me to go through Summer Company and they will get me all set up and even grant me some money to help get started.”
Loney says she got accepted for the program and began learning about running a business.
So I thought, why not give it a shot and I got accepted.
“I laid out all my expenses and realized I wouldn’t have enough money for everything I would need to operate the business. Summer Company helped cover me for that. But once I got all the stuff I needed, I had no idea how to run a business. We had multiple zoom calls where Summer Company went over everything like marketing and branding and more. I had no idea how involved those things were, but now I do. It really allowed me to grow myself as a person as well as my business.”
Loney says the biggest eye-opener was the insurance.
I didn’t realize I would need my own liability insurance, that totally went right over my head.
Loney says over the last few months, the business has allowed her to grow as an individual and a business owner.
“I remember the first t-shirt I made, I made it with an iron and an expensive transfer paper and I ended up burning it and it looked horrible,” she says.
“Now, it’s something I’ve learned from and that won’t ever be an issue I have to deal with. Getting to know the ins and outs of perfecting this process has been a joy.”
Going into Grade 12 this September at the Laurentian Learning Centre, Loney says she is going to continue operating the business during the school year.
“I’m going to continue doing this on the side when I go back to school in September, and down the line, I hope to be able to do something full-time where I can work for myself, but right now I’m concentrating on finishing school.”
Loney says she’s learning about the upside of being your own boss.
“I like the fact that if you own your own business and you are doing it full-time, you can still live your life. You don’t have to wait to clock in and out at the 9-5 pace, you can take a week off and continue earning that passive income,” she says.
Loney says she can make her items at a quick pace.
“I need to have the image someone wants on the shirt, and I would need to know the size and colour and whether it is a hoodie, a crewneck or a t-shirt. I then print the image out on a special transfer paper and then I have to let the ink settle on that for half an hour,” she says.
“From there I have to start up the heat press and those two steps take about 45 minutes altogether, but then it takes 24 hours for the whole thing to settle. But our turnaround time from the time you order something to the time you get it is usually 2-3 days.”
And she is having success with this start-up venture.
“People have loved how comfortable the shirts are and how much they like the quality of what I do. I also get a lot of people just appreciating me and what I’m doing compared to other clothing brands,” she says.
“This is personalizing every single item to every single person that orders something. Instead of having a bunch of pre-made prints, you come in and I can make that article of clothing look however you want it to, with a photo of your dog or whatever it is you want to do.”
Loney says her advice for other young entrepreneurs is to have a positive mindset and be realistic about what their goals are.
“My advice is to do a few days of research on the topic of whatever it is that you want to do and then look for opportunities to help you get it started. The fact is, no business just opened one day and made a million sales right away,” she says.
“When you open you are probably going to get one or two sales a month, but eventually if you grow it and get your branding and your name out there through marketing it will build up around you. Don’t get discouraged when you aren’t seeing progress right away because every business had to start somewhere.”