Molly Heise’s earliest memories go back to playing marbles on her great-grandma’s avocado-colored shag carpet, captivated by the various floral patterns that surrounded her, she recalled. Today, those memories inspire her personal style and activewear line, GoGoBloom.
“I’ve loved the retro style for as long as I can remember,” she shared. “But in the past couple of years since becoming a stay-at-home-mom and the onset of the pandemic, I found myself in a lot of loungewear and activewear — which tend to come in basic, solid colors.
“For me, style has just been such a part of my self expression and creativity, so I felt like I lost touch with that side of myself,” continued Heise, who created the lifestyle and fashion blog on Instagram, Call Of The Styled.
Unable to find activewear that matched her colorful, retro style, Heise had a lightbulb moment: Why not create her own line of activewear?
As soon as her son began preschool in October 2021, Heise used her weekly 12 hours of free time to hit the ground running with GoGoBloom. By December, she completed a photoshoot for the first line of clothing and officially launched the brand Jan. 1.
“Sharing my designs with everyone was more emotional than I thought it would be,” Heise said. “Once we launched, I would see how many people were on the website, and I was just jumping up and down with every single order that came in. And now people are getting their orders in and sending me photos and videos — it’s just really neat to see it come to life.”
Click here to shop GoGoBloom.
All GoGoBloom pieces are made on-demand, Heise said, noting that the business model is designed to help reduce waste.
“With just starting out, I’m not exactly sure what the bestsellers are going to be or how much I’m going to sell,” Heise shared. “[This model] gives me a lot of freedom in creating a certain pattern in six different shirts; it doesn’t matter if some sell and others don’t, because they aren’t printed until people order them.”
With a professional background in graphic design and art, Heise hand-drew every floral pattern included in the launch.
Pulling inspiration from life
Just as Heise lets her love for retro patterns guide her hand-drawn designs, her motherhood and mental health journey play a major role in her business, she said.
“I have a son, and it’s really hard to find ‘Mommy and Me’ matching sets with boys. I got creative and made some designs so that we could match,” Heise said, noting her children’s collection consists of “Strong like Mama” and “Rad like Dad” designs.
“For me as a stay-at-home mom, that can be a super isolating thing — especially amidst a global pandemic,” she continued. “But if you’re wearing this design that says, ‘Mama,’ then you’re opening up that conversation to other people who may not know you’re a mom, or who can talk about those struggles and joys with you.”
Heise also designed a line around mental health in hopes to destigmatize the topic of conversation.
“I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life and actually had a very traumatic birth that spurred panic attacks and a lot more postpartum anxiety,” she shared. “I’ve been going to therapy and really have come to value people being open and talking about their mental health.”
The first graphic that Heise designed for GoGoBloom was for a sweatshirt that read, “Taking a mental health day,” inspired by her own mother who supported her to take mental health days while growing up.
“Whether it’s a mental health day, minute or hour — that design is meant to promote taking time for yourself,” Heise said, noting that designing the line was a cathartic process for her.
Other phrases included in GoGoBloom’s mental health line include: “happy to be here,” “be kind to your mind,” and “love this journey for me” — a nod to the Canadian sitcom, “Schitt’s Creek.”
Along with pulling inspiration from her own experiences, Heise tapped into the community following her “Call Of The Styled” Instagram page.
“I reached out to them and got a test group of people who I sent around 100 patterns to and asked, ‘Which ones do you like the best?’” she recalled. “… I was able to see what resonated with other people, and it helped me build the final patterns. It’s been really cool to have this community who’s helped me create this brand from the beginning — before the beginning.”
Pop-ups and partnerships
Through Call Of The Styled, she had already built positive relationships with local boutiques before launching GoGoBloom, she said.
What’s in a name?
The name “GoGoBloom” is a playful tie to going out and being active, as well as encouraging individuals to go out into their lives and bloom, Heise explained.
The term go-go (as in go-go dancers or go-go boots) is influenced by the French expression à gogo, meaning “in abundance, galore” — and is then thought to derive from the French term la gogue, meaning “joy and happiness.”
“Before I reached out to any, I had four boutiques reach out to me — that’s something special about the Kansas City community; everybody is so supportive of fellow small businesses,” Heise said.
“And the people of Kansas City love supporting local. My husband and I moved to Kansas City five years ago, and the first thing we noticed was that everybody was wearing Kansas City shirts,” she continued, referencing her arrival with husband Andy Heise, now the managing director of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
GoGoBloom’s first pop-up is in partnership with the Lucca Collection in the River Market 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 11 as part of the boutique’s Galentine’s Day celebration.
To keep with GoGoBloom’s on-demand business model, Heise is set to have a small inventory with each piece in every size — allowing customers to try on what they like, then place an order to be delivered to them.
Shoppers can anticipate GoGoBloom to announce more pop-ups at boutiques in the upcoming months, as well as a summer launch once it warms up.
“I’ve already got a line for swimwear and coordinating beach towels planned,” Heise teased. “I’ve reminded myself to slow down, but I’m already so excited for what’s next.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.