Southern lesbians Sarah Jane Moecker, 28, and Misty Lee Branch, 27, started the clothing company Proud Threads while still keeping their day jobs, and each other.
How they met
Sarah: We met on a camping trip through a mutual friend and clicked instantly. We spent the next few weeks always hanging out whenever we had the time. I invited Misty to go to Cancún with my parents and me. Right before the trip, I hurt my back pretty badly in a snow tubing accident. She helped me do everything on this trip while I was doped up on pain medicine. I fell in love with her when I saw how much she truly cared about me and how well she got along with my parents. I asked her to be my girlfriend on the flight back home in sign language.
Misty: It was super cute when she asked in sign language, because she got so shy! She was looking out the window and stopped signing after “girl” so I grabbed her hand and finished spelling out “friend” for her. That was one of the best flights of my life!
Starting the business
Sarah: Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. As a petite tomboi, I’ve always had trouble finding clothes I felt comfortable in that fit right. I dreamed of making a clothing company for people just like me. A couple of months into our relationship, I told my dream to Misty and after lot of hard work, Proud Threads was born.
Misty: When Sarah first told me she’d always had this dream of providing clothes to the LGBT community, I couldn’t understand why she hadn’t started it already. I didn’t see any reason to put off starting, so we started researching what we needed to do right away. We had enough blind optimism to jump into this full force and never look back.
Why they work so well together
Sarah: Our personalities complement each other really well, in both our personal life and business.
Misty: You know how a lot of people always ask which person in a relationship is more masculine? Well, we don’t have the answer which of us is more anything. One day, Sarah will take charge and have to push me to be productive. The next day, I’m telling Sarah what to do and in which order I need it done. I think we both identify when the other is passionate and focused about something, and we do what we can to support making it happen. Also, communication is key. We talk, and we listen. Nothing would work if each of us couldn’t do both well.
What’s next for Proud Threads
Sarah: Currently, Proud Threads is a T-shirt company as a stepping-stone. Soon we will start expanding products to be more than T-shirts.
Misty: We are making a splash in the T-shirt market and getting our name out there, so that when we expand to a full product line, you already know who we are, what we are about and that you love us.