Throughout the year, we are highlighting notable women in our community. We want to spotlight those who are shaping where we live and giving back to our neighborhood. Do you know someone you think we should feature? Let us know in the comments!
Some people feel like they have to sacrifice fashion for function. Well, our latest Notable Woman, Austin Applefield of Moost Bags, proves them wrong every day. Austin and her mom, Denise, are the founders and creative force behind the growing collection of bright, colorful, completely customizable handbags that can be washed in your kitchen sink. Yes, you read that correctly. Stylish handbags that are virtually indestructible? Sign us up! We were excited to sit down with Austin this month to learn more about Moost, especially with some great gift-giving opportunities right around the corner. (Mother’s Day. hint. hint.)
Tell us a bit about your background and what inspired you to launch Moost.
Moost Bags happened by accident. My mom was graciously helping me every day with our newborn twins and 2-year-old toddler. The days were long so the two of us just started creating. One thing led to another and we found ourselves around the kitchen table, while the twins napped, creating prototypes, establishing an LLC, designing a website, and so much more.
My career background is in Hospitality Sales & Marketing and my mom is a Designer/Artist. We make the perfect Entrepreneurial Duo!
If you had to describe Moost bags in 3 words, what would they be?
Creative, Functional, and Fun!
Moost has such a unique approach to function + fashion. What makes Moost different than other handbags?
The interchangeability factor is what really sets Moost Bags apart from other handbags. Between the trims, handles, shells, inner bags, and accessories, customers can create a truly unique bag. That paired with the durability of the handbag shell, which is waterproof and can be sanitized. We also love working with other artisans to create special, handcrafted handbag elements. For example, we have a beautiful Leather Wristlet Handle made by ColsenKeane Leather on 7th Street in Elizabeth. Even with all of the great collaborations, we love that our customers have the creative power. We supply the options, they create a Moost Bag that represents THEM.
Our favorite things about Moost is how accessible you have made it for customers to have a totally unique and fully-customized product. How many combinations of bags and accessories are there?
Umm, probably thousands of different combinations! I haven’t tried to count them all. There are 17 uniquely colored shells. From there, we have dozens of unique, interchangeable handles, inner bag, and trim choices. We have rope, vegan leather, boho paracord, genuine leather, tat trims, hand-painted products, tie-dyed inner bags… just to name a few. Each customer can create a Moost that perfectly suits their personality and lifestyle.
What are some of your best sellers?
Honestly, we don’t have a list of tried-and-true best sellers! In the fall, our darker, neutral colors sell more. While our bright, colorful options sell best in the spring. Customers may buy a dark shell in the winter, but then throw in a bright set of handles and inner bag in April to have a brand new spring bag!
We know that it would be impossible for you to pick a favorite Moost bag, but what handbag & accessory combination are you loving right now?
Hands down the Happiest Handle. This is a current collaboration with the global brand Happy-Nes. They are boho, bright, and so much fun. Pair this handle with a Canary Yellow or Apple Green shell. You can’t help but smile and be happy while carrying it!
What is the best part of your job?
That’s an easy one – working with my mom.
What is the best advice you have received that has helped you grow your business?
Stay authentic to yourself. If it doesn’t feel right in your gut, don’t do it. I always want to figure things out myself and struggle asking for help. So the advice I would give is to network, talk to people, and ask questions to other small business owners who have gone before you. There are SO MANY entrepreneurs out there just waiting to share their experience.
If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it?
I love time by myself so I’d probably spend it alone, outdoors somewhere. It’s been a looonnnggggg year with COVID-19 and I wear a lot of different hats. I’m trying to carve out more solo time for self-care.
You and your family live in Plaza Midwood. What are some of your favorite neighborhood spots?
Does Midwood Park count? We have 3 boys under 6 years old so we spend A LOT of time at the park. We love biking to Book Buyers, playing on the lawn at Pizza Peel, and treating ourselves to Cookie Monster at Two Scoops Creamery!
What is next for you and Moost?
We are ready for the next phase of growth! All three of our boys will be at Chantilly Montessori next year, so I’m planning on devoting more time to Moost Bags. You never know where you might see a Moost Bag next. Or maybe a second, new Moost Bag design! You will just have to stick around and find out. We can’t wait!