The world is almost two weeks deep into June of 2021. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month is in full swing! According to the Library of Congress, the significance of this …
The world is almost two weeks deep into June of 2021. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month is in full swing! According to the Library of Congress, the significance of this commemorative period is “to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.” In celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, The Journal is highlighting some noteworthy LGBTQ+ members that reside here in Cottage Grove. This week, readers are invited to get to know Moonstar Jewelryy shop owner, Gregory Ross.
Entrepreneurship is in Gregory Ross’ blood. He was born into a family of several business owners fifteen years ago. At a young age, Ross began crafting goods and expressing himself. In an exchange with The Journal, Ross recalled, “I tried to make a business out of everything I did like slime, rainbow loom, Perler Beads, all of that.”
Meanwhile, Ross has been coming to know Cottage Grove thoroughly. When he was less than one year old, his family established roots here. Cottage Grove is the place in which Ross spent the majority of his early years. “Pretty much every activity I’ve been involved in has been in Cottage Grove…it’s just all been here,” summarized Ross.
The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Cottage Grove Middle School is one of the extracurriculars that he has participated in. Ross has always been aware of his stance in the LGBTQ+ community. Even so, during junior high, he noticed distinctions between the way his peers treated him and others. Ross then initiated a period of “self discovery.” “I went to the GSA…in middle school and seeing other people and talking to other people who kind of felt the same way just really like, explained to me what was going on…It kind of helped me realize why I was different,” Ross outlined.
Occasionally, people will attempt to bring Ross down with negative words because of his sexual orientation. Fortunately though, Ross has not undergone major oppression. His experiences as an LGBTQ+ member living in Cottage Grove appeared in last week’s issue of The Cottage Grove Journal.
The becoming of Moonstar Jewelryy was stated by Ross in a single phrase: “It kind of happened like, all of a sudden.”
Prior to developing a jewelry-making hobby, Ross mainly operated as a self-taught makeup artist. He busied himself with creating looks and uploading content to YouTube and Instagram. As Ross was working last year, he sensed that his art needed something extra. That “something” was jewelry. He searched everywhere for necklaces, rings, and other pieces that matched his budget and style. In the end, there were not any items on the market that satisfied Ross’ expectations. He did not back down. “I ended up just making my own,” Ross stated.
The jewelry that Ross designed appeared in his Instagram photos and YouTube videos. These items did not go unnoticed. Ross recounted, “After some people on the Internet saw [my jewelry], they were telling me that they wanted it…I think that making the stuff that I like speaks to people, too.”
Acquiring tremendous inspiration from his entrepreneurial family, Ross mapped out plans for his brand. These initial ambitions included developing a name and brainstorming a first piece.
After adjusting the title of his business multiple times due to copyright, Ross finally decided on, “Moonstar Jewelryy.” “I loved space. I love the aesthetic of it. It’s just cute to me. And then, the two “y”s on the end come from my internet persona,” he reasoned.
On Instagram, Ross is known as @gregoryyrosss. The additional “y” at the end of his first name led Ross to incorporate a second “y” to the word “jewelry.”
Moonstar Jewelryy had gained its name; it was on track to open for business soon! Ross’ next step was to craft some jewelry to launch with. The first piece that Moonstar Jewelryy finalized was the “Pixie Dust Choker.” It is a short chain with a clasp that is meant to be fastened around one’s neck. Three pink flowers and a charm that appears to be a jar filled with miniscule flecks of glitter, are adhered to the choker. According to Ross, he first envisioned the image of the “Pixie Dust Choker” at the age of seven. Starting Moonstar Jewelryy with it would mean exposing the world to a nostalgic concept of his.
Since the fabrication of the “Pixie Dust Choker,” Ross’ small business has evolved into a dual-collection shop. On January 15, 2021, “The Pixie Collection” introduced Moonstar Jewelryy to the market. This series consists of the “Pixie Dust Choker,” “Key to the Forest Chain,” and “Fairy Angel Earrings.” Under one month later, “The Valentine’s Day Collection” launched. Moonstar Jewelryy fans could purchase the “Mystic Heart Choker” and “Blooming Rose Earrings” beginning on the third of February.
When invited to describe the goods in his own words, Ross voiced, “My jewelry is…alternative but still wearable… I think they’re perfect for everyday wear honestly, because you can pair them with…the outfit you’re wearing or the makeup you’re wearing which is one of the main reasons I made the brand. And, I sell mostly silver stuff but there’s little pops of color here and there.”
Six months have passed since Moonstar Jewelryy initiated sales in January. Ever since, it has proved to be prosperous. A few short weeks after “The Pixie Collection” launched, for instance, Ross earned a table at a boutique located on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. He shared with The Journal, “I’m most proud of making it into an in-person store. I feel like that is such a huge step and it happened so early for me…It’s just opened so many doors for people to be able to see my stuff and be able to feel it and touch it and…just experience it.”
Although Moonstar Jewelryy has already seen immense progress, Ross is not quite finished with it. When it comes to the short-term future, Ross said that he has at least three new collections lined up. As for long-term goals, Ross simply desires to connect more people with his art. “I’m just hoping to see people from other states and even other countries wearing my stuff. I just want everyone to experience it and to wear it,” yearned Ross.
Now is an ideal time to support Moonstar Jewelry. Ross is an LGBTQ+ community member and the globe is in the midst of Pride Month 2021. According to him, investing in LGBTQ-owned businesses is “important.” Ross elaborated on his claim, “For me, I’m still underage so I don’t have any bills or anything I need to pay. But for adults, sometimes it’s hard for LGBT adults to get…good-paying jobs and they rely on their own businesses, and it’s important to support those because that may be their only stream of income.”
Ross is a busy advocate of Pride Month himself. Some of the ways he chooses to celebrate June is by applying rainbow- colored makeup looks, donating to The Trevor Project, funding LGBTQ-owned brands, promoting LGBTQ+ community members, and focusing more on the demographic overall. Even when the month closes, Ross proceeds with these doings. “And outside of the month of June, I would say don’t leave Pride in June. Be sure to support us all the time… keep us in mind,” he preached.
Readers may feel compelled to support the young entrepreneur from Cottage Grove. There are a couple of strides one may take to do so.
To begin with, Moonstar Jewelryy is sold digitally, on Etsy, and in-person, at The Grand Collective. To visit Ross’ virtual store, one can navigate to https://www.etsy.com/shop/ MoonstarJewelryyShop. For experiencing his art in-person, consumers may travel to 791 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul, MN.
A second approach one can execute to extend love to Ross as a small business owner is via social media. Anyone with an Instagram handle can friend @moonstarjewelryy on the platform. It may seem like a simple deed, but it is quite meaningful to Ross. “It’s a really big encouragement, like, it helps me a lot to stay-to keep going,” he claimed.
Ross wants the public to know that he is available to serve them as well. He communicated through The Journal, “If you have questions, feel free to contact me on anything…I’m always open…I love to answer questions. And if you need help with anything, I’m here…I love meeting new people.”