By Aliana Ramos
The Cary News (Cary, N.C.)
Tucked between two storefronts, the door with a striped awning is easy to miss. A large “M and L” is stenciled in the glass, but otherwise there’s nothing to tell passersby that a growing jewelry empire operates upstairs.
Moon and Lola — best known for its monogrammed necklaces, rings and earrings — sells more than 250,000 pieces of jewelry a year across 48 states and nine other countries. And its headquarters are in Apex.
Owner and designer Kelly Shatat’s pieces have been featured in magazines such as Lucky, InStyle, People and Oprah.
Most of the company’s products are sold online and at Nordstrom and boutiques across the country. But as the brand gained popularity, Shatat decided to open her own retail stores.
The first opened in Raleigh in 2012, followed by a store in Charleston, S.C. The Apex store opened in April.
The fourth location, in Nantucket, Mass., is set to open later this month.
The business took off in 2011, when Shatat started working on it full time. In a stroke of good luck, she found a 6,000-square-foot space for a production studio in Apex’s historic downtown.
Moon and Lola is a Cinderella story. Shatat, who was raised by a single mother and now lives in Morrisville, turned her part-time hobby into a multi-million-dollar business in 11 years.
She is still in awe that a project that began as way to help a friend has turned into such a profitable venture.
More than a decade ago, Shatat was working as a pharmaceutical sales representative and later as a pharmacist, channeling her creative energy into home craft projects.
A friend who worked as an interior decorator needed some help with a vendors’ fair. Shatat contributed some pearl and ribbon necklaces and other pieces. They were a hit.