Clutch MOV is proud to sponsor this year’s Mid-Ohio Valley Entrepreneur of the Year. We envision a community where citizens can take risks on the promise that success would uplift the residents of our valley. Artists, creators, makers, and small business owners strive to build something anew, something worth putting their stamp on – to promote and share with each other – and entrepreneurs are on the edge, finding ways to build in a way that hasn’t been done before. This year we received dozens of nominations for innovative, forward-thinking, community-building entrepreneurs from the Mid-Ohio Valley. The panel believed six individuals stood out for the impact they are making through their work. We are sharing their stories in this series.
Molly Floding launched My Mommy Mart in 2009 after she moved back to the Mid-Ohio Valley from Alabama, recognizing the niche for a children’s consignment boutique event that both provided affordable goods for moms and families and a way for parents to turn outgrown and unused items into cash.
“Kids are expensive!” Molly said, always growing out of their clothes, changing their minds, and moving on from whatever toy phase they were in. “We help families by giving them an opportunity to basically trade up for kids items. Our consignors sell their children’s outgrown items and have the opportunity to buy the next size up at a fraction of retail cost.” Every year, families have shared their appreciation for the business model. “They are able to give their kids great, quality items – sometimes even new items – at a much lower cost.”
Molly had participated in several events similar to My Mommy Mart during her time in Alabama. The first event she hosted in the Mid-Ohio Valley featured 26 consignors. “When the business started, I begged everyone I had ever met from the area to participate.” The event was held in the Jr. Fair Building and was less than a quarter full. “It looked like such wasted space for the first few years.” The event still takes place in the Jr. Fair Building at the Washington County Fairgrounds, but with 350 consignors (and growing), Molly and her team now have a more difficult time fitting everything inside the building.
The money consignors receive is the money that often pays for household needs, kids’ activities, and Christmas.
In addition to keeping unwanted items out of landfills and providing affordable children’s items to local families, My Mommy Mart also partners with local charities and organizations to help meet their needs. Proceeds from the ‘Sneak Peek Pre-Sale’ sale benefit GoPacks for Kids and Sufficient Grace Ministries. Proceeds that benefit GoPacks for Kids go towards purchasing food and other supplies for the backpack program within Marietta City Schools. “This organization makes sure that kids don’t have to worry about being hungry on the weekends when they are at home,” said Molly.
Sufficient Grace Ministries provides care for families who are going through the loss of a baby through miscarriage or infant loss. The nonprofit organization is uniquely qualified to help families during this devastating time and does not charge families for their services. Molly said, “The Comfort Doulas of Sufficient Grace Ministries have the hardest job ever and they do it with such grace and love.”
Through Molly’s business model, 350 consignors receive checks for the items their children have outgrown or no longer want. She said that money is the money that often pays for household needs, kids’ activities, and Christmas. Consignors have the option to discount their prices on the final day of the sale if they’d like, and can also choose to donate unsold items to the Gospel Mission Food Pantry.
Molly said the most rewarding part of working for herself is being able to make decisions without having to ask for permission. “It’s also incredibly rewarding when a mom comes to me and says, ‘My husband has been laid off for a couple of months and I never could have bought my kids what they needed without My Mommy Mart.’ It always leaves me completely stunned and humbled.”
It can be challenging, however, to be smart about making changes. Molly enjoys being able to innovate and try new ideas with each sale. “My managers, Nicole and Candice, tell me that I always have helicopters of ideas circling in my head and they never know which idea it will land on next.”
My Mommy Mart did not start out as a success. “I lost so much money the first few years,” said Molly. “I could see the business growing, but there wasn’t any profit.” When she did start to generate a small profit, she had to reinvest all of it back into the business to keep it growing.
It is terrifying to invest in yourself and your ideas – I’ve been there.
“A lot of people assume that since we host our events just a few times each year, that means I only work for a couple of weeks out of the year. That couldn’t be farther from the truth – there are always different aspects to improve on every single time.”
For those looking to start their own business or organization, Molly advocates the importance of first doing the research and building a quality support system. “It is terrifying to invest in yourself and your ideas – I’ve been there. Make sure you find people who can mentor and help you, not just “yes” people.”
And then, she says, go for it!