Brooke Shepard always loved her grandmother’s embroidered table linens, but felt there was nothing like them on the market. With that in mind—and a background in fashion to draw from—the Greenwich, CT, resident started Monogram Mary in 2016. “I launched Monogram Mary with the desire to bring beautiful items with a personalized touch back—for gifting, decorating or just for fun,” says Shepard. (That’s not the only nod to family: the company is named for Shepard’s late mother-in-law, Mary.)
Today, Monogram Mary sells products that can be monogrammed in different fonts and styles, from baby and children’s items like teddy bears and backpacks to mens, womens and household wares, like totes, robes, napkins and more. Shepard can also create custom items for special events like weddings or family vacations. There’s another reason her products make exceptional gifts, Shepard says. “With monograms, you know someone thought about you and planned ahead. You weren’t just running to the store and getting something quickly,” she explains. Shepard has spent the bulk of her career in fashion, including fashion product development, which gave her the opportunity to travel regularly (India provided lots of inspiration) as well as a chance to learn about the business.
Now, as an entrepreneur, she says one of the high points has been collaborating with other like-minded brands and businesses. “I have been fortunate enough to partner with some really amazing brands and organizations over the last few years,” she says. Platforms like Instagram have also enabled her to sell products throughout the U.S., she shares. Plus, says Shepard, “I feel extremely grateful we live in a community with so many entrepreneurs who are willing to support each other. I truly believe the [growth] of my brand is from collaborating and networking.”
And when it comes to wisdom she’d share with would-be entrepreneurs, along with prioritizing time and believing in your idea, one of the things Shepard points to is networking and collaborating. She aims to meet with other business owners at least once a week to talk about the ups and downs of running your own venture and find ways to support one another.
Next, Monogram Mary will be launching many more of their own products, including cosmetic cases and children’s sweaters. And while children’s products have been a main focus, she’s had requests for more home items as well. Also exciting: Along with people being able to host trunk shows in their homes, the company launched The Traveling Monogram Trunks Up Show this spring, a pop-up that sells Monogram Mary products in cities across the U.S.