The Story Exchange, Melissa Moo Harkins, MooMotionYour Name: Melissa Moo Harkins

Business Name: MooMotion, a clothing line for triathlon athletes

Type of Business: Clothing & Accessories

Business Location: New York, New York, United States

Twitter @MooMotion

Reason for starting
As an avid triathlete and Parsons alumni, I wanted to combine both loves and create a business that gives women more options to feel and look great during training and racing. The womens endurance market is highly underserved and in a world where “shrink and pink” is the norm, I wanted to challenge the notion of what a triathlete should look like. Lastly, for selfish reasons, I love being able to train and race in gear that I love!

How do you define success?
My definition of success is being true to yourself and defining your happiness by your own expectations. Also necessary to the equation is giving back to those who have given you happiness.

Biggest Success
My biggest success has been building my business and launching it from scratch. Prior to starting my company, I had what most people would define as a successful career on Wall Street. I found myself complacent and the work uninspiring. It was during this time that I started racing and training and it proved to be a nice outlet and a place where I could be my best self. I have always been inspired by each athletes individual motivation to push their bodies and minds to the highest limits. Regardless of race, age, and size, we all share a mutual respect. The sport is equal parts thrilling as it is humbling. Although I’m still navigating the ups and downs of launching a new business, I love combining my interests and passion and creating a role that I love.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Finding a work-life balance has been the greatest challenge of starting my business. I love being held accountable for own successes and failures, however, it can also be overwhelming especially when I’m thinking about it 24 hours a day. I am a one-woman team and do everything from design, marketing, sales, and production. The quintessential NYC mentality of “I want it NOW” is probably not the best attitude! I have to constantly remind myself that laying the groundwork is equally important as building and growing. Knowing my limitations and when to ask for help has been beneficial. Lastly, aside from family and personal priorities, I make the time to hit the road and exercise. Due to the nature of my business, I always have plenty of outfits to choose from!

Who is your most important role model?
My mother has played the most influential role in my life. She came to the United States as a young woman with a goal of a better life. With limited English, she studied and worked hard and has had a career in nursing spanning over 40 years. She has taught me the meaning of hard work, dedication, independence, and is the toughest woman I know. Although she will never admit to agreeing with my career change, it is because of her that I have the strength and courage to pursue my dreams.