Kelsey Beesley has recently joined an exciting group of young entrepreneurs who are adding to the character and energy of Orillia’s downtown. Beesley’s new shop, My Moon Collective, joins a growing collection of cafes, restaurants and specialty shops that have opened recently by a new generation of business leaders.
Beesley describes her shop, located at 169 Mississaga Street East (the former Wilkie’s Bakery), as Orillia’s modern-day mystics one-stop shop. She offers a fascinating collection of treasures – from crystals and stones, herbs, and incense, to jewelry, books, and personal care items – for the spiritually curious or those looking for a unique gift.
It was her own curiosity and desire to live more intentionally that drove Beesley to making the move from the corporate world to small business owner.
After completing university degrees in business management, Beesley was following a successful career path, having landed a position with a large advertising firm in Toronto shortly after graduating. But she but soon realized the competitive world of corporate marketing wasn’t for her.
She bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand and travelled for a year. “My travels opened me up to a different way of living,” explained Beesley. “I realized I needed to find a way to live that inspired me, and a career that is purposeful.”
After moving back to her hometown of Orillia, one of the first things Beesley did to develop her new career path, was join the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC) Youth Mentorship group.
“I was immediately connected with CDC staff, along with other business owners, who were happy to help me work through my business idea. The CDC staff guided me through the process of developing my business plan and applying for a loan.”
Beesley spent six months developing a plan for her business, focused on her interest in spirituality and astrology.
“Over this time, I was able to develop relationships with the group and I think that’s what the CDC is all about,” said Beesley. “They want to see small business owners succeed. With a traditional bank, the focus tends to be more on the numbers. With the CDC, they are also looking at numbers, but at the person, too.”
Beesley started out with a small product inventory and retail space within a downtown yoga studio. Within months, she successfully secured a loan from the CDC for her current stand-alone storefront location.
“There are a lot of open-minded people at the CDC,” said Beesley. “I was able to demonstrate how intrigued and interested people were in my products and services. I think this made them realize this was something unique and would add to the diversity of the downtown.”
Despite the opening of My Moon Collective just days following the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, Beesley has managed to keep her business alive and well, including the move to her new location, thanks to the resources offered by the CDC, along with her own creativity. She has created a strong customer base through her regular and creative posts on Instagram showcasing her products and services.
Beesley says her journey to a new career would have been much more difficult without the CDC.
“I don’t know if I’d be where I am today. Since starting this journey with the CDC, I have never felt like I’m on the wrong path.”
As pandemic restrictions ease, Beesley says she is looking forward to welcoming people into her new shop.
“I want people to know that this is a place to come and be curious, explore, and hopefully find joy in discovering their authentic selves.”