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Local Entrepreneur Uses Facebook's Retail World
Eileen Gallagher turns hair bows into clothing line.
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Entrepreneur Eileen Gallagher launched a Facebook retail business three months ago. "It's growing faster than I anticipated," she said of Moosters Pixie Dust.
About this column: A weekly profile of one of Montville's many residents. Some you may know, some may be new, but all are distinctly Montville. Email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Name: Eileen Gallagher is the mother of three children. Her oldest daughter, Kiersten, is 19, her youngest, Kaitlyn, is 14 months, and her middle child, a son named Christian, is 4.
- Part of Town: In 2004 Gallagher and her husband, Jim, purchased a 120-year-old farm house on Stiles Lane. The family moved in, in 2005. “When we bought the house it had been a day care for 45 years,” said Gallagher. She explained that the home, which had been Silverland Day Care, was outfitted throughout with florescent lighting, exit signs and emergency exit doors. “It was quite an undertaking,” she added, noting that work has slowed since the birth of the couple’s younger two children.
- Current Activities: For the past 4 years, Gallagher, who is a stay at home mom and an entrepreneur, has served as a volunteer dispatcher with the Montville Township First Aid Squad. She doesn’t like to hear people say they do not have time to volunteer. “I do it right out of my house,” Gallagher explained. “I’m not an EMT, I’m not CPR certified, I’m not a first responder, I’m not any of those things, you know? But, to give back to my community I do this right from my house.” Gallagher has a pager provided by the squad. One day a week she serves a twelve hour shift from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “I’m on call,” she added. ‘I have the flexibility of doing it right from my own house. I can stay in town, I can go to the park, I can be in my yard, I can go for a walk, as long as I stay in town… It’s my responsibility to make sure that the crew heard the call. Get’s out to the call. And, then, in the event that my rig is out, getting a second rig together so that a second rig can get out to the next call. ” On her busiest day she has had 10 calls. Some days she has no calls. Some days one rig is all she needs. Other days she has had to assemble as many as three rigs. “You needed no formal training,” she said, noting that the ability to make phone calls and coordinate people was all that was needed to be successful at the volunteer position.
- Why This Squad: “Two reasons,” added Gallagher. “One, my son fell when he was little.” The team responded rapidly and her son was fine. “That peace of mind,” meant a great deal to Gallaghesr during the ordeal. “If somebody had sent me a bill for $500 I would have paid it,” she noted. “But it was free. So I felt like I had to give back.” Gallagher’s other motivation is her sister, Laura, who was killed in a car accident when she was 17. Volunteer EMTs, on call that day, responded. They knew Laura.
- An Entrepreneur: “When Kaitlyn was born, she had hair,” said the 39-year-old mother of three. According to Gallagher, her older two children did not. With the addition of a little girl with hair in the family, Gallagher wanted to dress her daughter in bows. “But, I found that they were a lot of money,” she added. “So, I took them apart and I learned how to do them myself.” Her friends and family loved the results. “After about a year of my friends telling me to sell them, I launched Facebook and ETSY sites… ETSY is all home made goods. You can only sell on there if its home made or handmade. It’s an amazing site.” It has been about three months since Gallagher launched Moosters Pixie Dust. The company is named after her son’s moosters. “My 4-year-old, when he was like 2, would tell me all the time about him and his moosters,” said Gallagher. “We finally got it out of him what a mooster was. ‘It’s a moose,’ he said. ‘That has black and white spots like a cow, and he’s got big antlers like a moose. But, he crows like a rooster, and he’s a monster. But, he’s a good monster, so he’s a mooster.’” Gallagher thought it was cute and decided to name her company, Moosters Pixie Dust.
- Online Marketing: Gallagher wasn’t sure how to go about marketing her small start-up. : “I could not believe the retail world that is on Facebook,” Gallagher said. “I had no idea. I thought it would be a matter of you’d have to get a domain name, and you’d have to pay a monthly fee. You know? But, on Facebook it’s just endless. Absolutely endless.” Within the first month Gallagher became excited when she attracted 25 followers. But then she offered a give-away item, to another talented online entrepreneur. It was a handmade crocheted cap she purchased from another online manufacturer. That hat is being raffled as a promotional item. “Four hundred and nine people have entered to win that one hat,” Gallagher said. After less than three months, Facebook followers are topping 500. “It’s growing faster than I anticipated, she added. “I had no expectations. I just figured: I like making the bows. If it takes off great. If it doesn’t, I have more bows for my friends and my kids.”
- Expanded Product Line: Now Gallagher is finding that her product line is growing. From bows and headbands, that sell for $2 to $10, she has expanded. Handmade crocheted hats and booties, pink and blue diaper cakes for showers, homemade blankets, tutus, and wreaths, are part of the Moosters Pixie Dust experience. Some items she purchases from manufacturers who are making hand made goods, other items she makes herself. Gallagher also sells chocolates locally.
- New Line: By next month Gallagher plans to launch her own line of children’s clothing: Sunflowers and Frogs, named in memory of her sister, Laura Kennedy. “The sample dresses are in production right now,” she said. The hand smocked garments will feature cupcakes, castles or ducks, and will sell for $28 to $32. Other designers charge $60 to $80. “Mine won’t be like that,” said Gallagher.
- Early Career: Before her son was born, she worked for an office equipment supplier, and was a marketing and bid consultant. “I love being home with my kids,” Gallagher said. “But you don’t get that adult conversation.” Moosters Pixie Dust and Sunflowers and Frogs provide her with that outlet.
- Favorite Thing About Montville: Born and raised in Brooklyn, Gallagher lived in Vernon and Jefferson for many years. “My favorite thing was Montville Day, but that’s gone now,” noted Gallagher about the township. “But I love the carnival and fireworks that they do. I love the idea that it’s a big town, but, it has a small town feel. The community park; love it. I’m very, very happy with the town. I love the people.”
- Something You Would Change: “I hope the ambulance squad doesn’t go away,” said Gallagher. “I think it’s great the way that it is. It’s obviously working. If we can push out 10 calls a day we are doing something right. So, I don’t think that they should change what’s not broken.” She would also like to see sidewalks and the return of busing. “But those things are not going to happen,” Gallagher noted.
- Hobbies Gallagher has turned her hobbies into a career. One that she can run from home while raising her children. “There’re headbands that I sell for $4 each, and there’s a woman online selling the exact same things, two for $25. You know, I just enjoy doing it. I think the stuff looks good, and I like making it, and if I can give it to people for cheaper than 2 for $25, well then, why not?” Each headband takes about 20 to 25 minutes to make and assemble.
- Time: “Well, I stay up pretty late at night. I try not to take a lot of time away from my family, so after I put the kids to bed I stay up and do some bows or whatever,” said Gallagher. The creative mom makes designer items out of scrap material and unique items. “David’s Bridal wanted $50 to make flowers for my cousins wedding dress. I had her bring me the scraps from the hem and I made them for her from that.”
- Philosophy: “To have fun. Don’t have any regrets. You don’t get second chances. So, you know, take a chance. Take a risk. I don’t want to be old and say, ‘You know, I had that idea for that dress line and I never did it. I was afraid.’ Just take a chance.”