I’ve known Amanda Hart for nearly 20 years. She has always been great at finding good deals, and she loves helping other people find deals as well. A few years before she started Modest Molly, Amanda found a local shoe retailer that was going out of business. She bought the remaining inventory at a huge discount and sold it to her friends and family for amazing prices.
Amanda is a beautiful plus size woman. I remember going shopping with her and she would comment that the plus size clothes weren’t cute and didn’t make her feel good wearing them. I wasn’t one bit surprised when Amanda told me she was going to start selling women’s clothing on the side (in addition to parenting 5 young kids).
Amanda invited two of her friends, Lindsay Gardner and Alyson Harper, to help her with this little project. They all said they thought it would be buying a few clothing items and selling them to their friends and that would be it. What started as a little side gig has turned into a brand that people love.
At first, they invited people to pop-up shops in Amanda’s home, with customers sometimes having to use a pantry as a dressing room when other rooms were full of customers. Now, six years later, they are at their second brick and mortar location (the first one quickly became too small). They have gone from being open once a month to being open 6 days a week. Additionally, they have a thriving website where customers can shop from the comfort of home!
Balancing Career and Motherhood
All three of these ladies were stay-at-home moms with very young kids when they started this journey. Now they juggle the responsibilities of motherhood (with 13 children between them) and running a successful business. I asked Amanda how she juggles everything. She said at first it was really hard finding a balance because she felt she needed to be working and being a mom all the time and there never seemed to be enough time to get everything done.
Amanda said she has learned how to balance much better. She said she gets up before her kids every day so she can be ready for the day before they get up. Then she works hard on her business while her kids are at school so she can focus on her kids before and after school. Amanda is very good at staying organized and prioritizing so she can make family time special.
Lindsay said she tries to be present when she is with her kids, whether it’s at a sporting event or at home. I think a lot of parents could learn from the philosophy of these ladies. Being available and present for our children is so important and will really make a difference in our relationships with our kids. Lindsay said, “We will never get this time back with our kids. They will never be these ages again.”
In the past six years, I have spent some time with Lindsay and Alyson as well, and I can say that they are also extraordinary women. Modest Molly customers love the shopping experience because these ladies make it all about women feeling good about themselves.
Finding Time for Fun
Although they are both extremely busy, Amanda and Lindsay both like to find time for fun. Amanda loves spending time with her family, traveling, playing board games, watching a great movie, and definitely soaking up sun!
When she’s not working, Lindsay can be found watching her kids play sports or jetting off on a fun vacation.
Building a Brand
More than just being a clothing store, these ladies have worked hard at building a brand that their customers love and trust. They provide women of all sizes (small to 3X) with clothing that makes them feel beautiful and comfortable in their skin. Amanda and Lindsay both talked about the fulfillment they find in helping customers find just the right clothing items to give them confidence.
To build their brand, the owners of Modest Molly host parties throughout the year, both in store and online, where they have prizes, games, food, and sales on their clothing items. Women love coming to these events not only to shop but also to enjoy the fun social atmosphere. Shopping at Modest Molly is more of an experience than at other shops. Customers leave feeling like they have made friends and want to come back for more of that atmosphere.
On their social media platforms, Amanda and Lindsay are usually in front of the camera, with Alyson doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes work. Viewers enjoy seeing these ladies model the clothing they are selling, and Lindsay and other employees entertain followers with the latest trending TikTok dances (all while wearing Modest Molly attire, of course). They keep everything light, fun, and upbeat, which customers love and keep coming back for more!
Fostering a Positive Body Image
One of the reasons this business started in the first place was to help women have a more positive body image, especially plus size women. At the Modest Molly brick and mortar location, employees encourage women to try on clothing they wouldn’t usually try. Often that leads to these customers happily finding clothing that makes them feel surprisingly beautiful. Sometimes customers even leave wearing the clothes they have purchased.
Body image is so important to Modest Molly, and they have seen many manufacturers who don’t know how to make plus size clothing in a way that’s flattering to fuller figures. Therefore, Modest Molly works with manufacturers to change the way they make clothing so it’s more flattering and comfortable for the plus size woman. Modest Molly has some of their own original clothing items that have been made specifically for their customers.
Both Amanda and Lindsay said they love seeing people feel confident in their clothing.
Getting out of Their Comfort Zone
None of these women had any business experience prior to starting Modest Molly; they have all learned as they have gone. Their success is a testament to their hard work and dedication. While many similar companies have failed, Modest Molly has just kept growing.
Amanda, Lindsay, and Alyson are constantly learning, embracing their roles, and seeing great success. Lindsay said one of the most rewarding parts of this journey is the confidence she has gained through learning to be a business woman, getting comfortable being on camera, and being willing to be vulnerable.
During Covid, when many similar businesses struggled, had to do major pivoting, or even closed down, Modest Molly grew. Their online presence helped keep sales going and growing.
Advice for Women With a Business Idea
I asked Amanda and Lindsay what advice they have for women who have an idea that would solve a problem or fill a need. They said they recommend to start small and don’t let your idea or ambition overtake your life. By putting the most important things first in your life (especially family), you won’t lose yourself in your endeavor.
They also said to just be brave and try whatever it is you are thinking about. Lindsay stressed that it’s important to find someone to help you, especially with the things you don’t like doing or aren’t good at doing. Hire someone to create and manage your website, to help with shipping, to bounce ideas off of, etc.
Amanda recommended treating your business it like it’s a hobby that you do when you can. She also talked about the importance of keeping going, even when things get hard. There are ups and downs to any business and to business relationships so just keep working.
Follow Modest Molly
You can shop for clothing on Modest Molly’s website. You’ll also find videos of their new clothing on Instagram and Facebook. And be sure to check out their highly entertaining TikTok account; you’ll be glad you did!