I’ll never forget the stiff, yellow-green-and-blue-checkered comforters my college roommate and I flippantly selected our freshman year for our dorm room. We draped some Christmas tree lights from the ceiling, taped pictures of friends and family on almost every square inch of the white walls, hung a Backstreet Boys poster from the back of the door (I’m embarrassed to admit) and called it “home” for a year. Then we did it all over again the next three years with new comforters, new pictures, new roommates and, thank goodness, no poster.
With my immature design sense as an incoming college student, I sure wish I’d had access to Auburn’s new interior-design business: Moxii. Mother-and-daughter team Melissa Manifold and Katherine Manifold Bailey partnered in May 2008 to create a company advising incoming college students on organizing and maximizing limited space in a stylish way.
The concept originated when Manifold, a mother of six girls, who was accustomed to giving dorm-room advice to parents, realized the business potential. “There was a need for some practical advice on what the students do and don’t need, and what would and would not fit within college-dorm living,” she says. “After experiencing what would not work several times with my own daughters, I developed a personal list,” she says, which she shared with friends and even strangers for years. Manifold eventually asked Bailey, an Auburn University graduate and licensed interior designer, to start a business with her, meeting practical needs and creating designer-style packages for Auburn students.
At Moxii, clients can choose from a variety of styles, hence the emphasis on its tagline: “your personality. your style.” Per Bailey, “This sums up one of Moxii’s goals, which is not to push our designs on our clients, but to work with the client to develop and bring out their own personality and style into the space.” Bailey strives to select and design products that are extraordinary, yet practical, and offers a range of inventory such as bedding, bath, accessories and organizational items.
Their business has exploded, and one reason for their success is that students are grateful for designs that aren’t “bed in a bag,” according to Bailey, and parents feel comfortable leaving their kids behind in rooms of which they are proud.
Also, Moxii’s owners truly connect with their clients. Manifold, a seasoned mother, “has a heart for the parent side,” she says. Bailey, a recent college graduate, can relate to what students want and need, setting the foundation for excellent customer service, which Bailey, Manifold and Moxii employees implement. For example, Tiffany Cummins, Moxii’s Auburn University campus representative, spent hours driving around on Auburn’s move-in day to make sure the students were satisfied with their Moxii purchases. “It was fun to be able to see how the clients’ rooms were coming together and how excited they were about what they had ordered,” she says. “It was also great to be able to answer questions in person and be able to compliment the client on what products they chose and how they pulled various things together for an overall look.”
In the past year, Moxii, which started as a test to Auburn students, has expanded to other college universities, an online-business (moxii.com), a design studio in Birmingham, and a retail location in Auburn. Moxii also provides a design-consultation service for a variety of clients. The first hour of the consultation is free, and a price structure follows for additional time.
Moxii owners love what they do, and it shows. They especially enjoy working together. “We both have strengths and weaknesses that complement each other,” Manifold says. Bailey adds, “I appreciate the fact that Mom’s strengths are the business side, and she appreciates mine are not! We allow the other to complete the tasks where her talent lies.”
They’re thrilled about the company’s growth and hopeful for more expansion in the future. Manifold says, “God has continued to bless Katherine and me with the ability to do what we do each day at Moxii, and to Him be the glory.”
For more information, call 888-mymoxii (888.696.6944) or visit moxii.comMoxii Corporate Office 2515 East Glenn Avenue Suite 301 Auburn, AL 36830 Moxii Design Studio 2828 2nd Avenue South Suite 305 Birmingham, AL 35233