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How I built my business: Paper Moon

Building a business is a dream for many of us. It’s ideal to be your own boss, to have freedom and endless creative control; the benefits are appealing. But it’s also a very challenging endeavor with plenty of obstacles to navigate. Though I haven’t always envisioned myself on this particular career path, I honestly can’t imagine my life any other way.

I purchased The Paper Moon in March 2018. While the existing store was known for gifts and event invitations, I wanted to use my degree in graphic design and passion for art to expand the services available to our clients. In the last two years, The Paper Moon has changed locations and grown to include a retail storefront, curated event design and branding services, customized invitations, stationery and favors.

I’ve found one of the main components to building a successful business is being mindful of the company you keep. It’s so important to surround yourself with people who are well rounded and have good energy and talents that compliment your own.

Owning a business means multi-tasking, putting in long hours and constant problem solving, so it’s also important to prioritize health, family time, breaks and self-care. This solid foundation enables me to have some much-needed flexibility. Whether it means having my 1-year-old daughter, Caroline, at the store with me or taking a kickboxing class with my dad, I know I have employees I can depend on to keep the store and our ongoing projects intact.

For me, finding a solid team of employees, who I feel good around and who can inspire each other with their differing strengths has been such an important part of maintaining and growing my business. We work hard to build trust and exceed the expectations of all our clients, but we also make sure to refuel with coffee, laughter or eating lunch together.

It’s important to keep challenging your team and yourself to grow and work smarter, not harder. If you love what you’re creating every day and who you’re creating it with, your business will be a place both you and your clients want to be.

Carson Thrash is the owner and head designer of The Paper Moon in Gulfport. You can reach her at or (228) 731-7099.