This week we are joined by Adrienne Cooper, founder and CEO of Moonlight Roller. In this episode, Adrienne shares the story behind her viral skating company’s rise to the top, along with some tips on building a multi-million dollar business doing what you love.
Adrienne’s business journey might sound like a literal “overnight success,” but that isn’t the whole story. After leaving the military, Adrienne struggled to find her place re-entering the work force and eventually told her husband that she wanted to start her own business. Around that time she took up roller skating as a hobby, and it changed her life. With her background in catering and event planning, she saw an opportunity for an adult-centric rollerskating party venue. Unlike a lot of other entrepreneurs she networked with, Adrienne didn’t have the savings or 401k to fund the endeavor herself. She had to “do it the hard way.” She organized and ran a fundraiser for a rink, using the profit for branding and presentations to attract private investors with a plan to buy them out as soon as possible. She reached out to all of her connections from her catering career for advice and contacts. After a lot of rejection, Adrienne finally found some hope when she landed some investors with whom she had built a strong personal relationship with. She was finally able to fund a downpayment for a rink and start work on a supportive and comfortable custom rental skates, but right when things were starting to move, COVID hit.
Manufacturing was a major logistic and financial hurdle. At this point in time Adrienne had 500 pairs of custom skates with no idea when party-goers would be able use them. She decided to sell the skates online to measure interest in Moonlight Roller’s future. Then, out of nowhere, a screenshot of the promotional post was shared on Twitter, signal-boosting Moonlight Roller as a Black-owned business. The post went viral and the business gained nearly 20,000 followers overnight. Her social media blew up with messages about the skates, and Adrienne realized online retail could be the pivot that would get them though the pandemic. She launched an expended product line a few months later and all 1500 units sold out within minutes netting almost a quarter-million dollars.
Going viral in March 2020 as a fledgling business changed Adrienne’s life completely, but it was just the beginning of a whole new level of incredible challenges. While most successful entrepreneurs spend years scaling their business and tackling the issues of production, Adrienne was suddenly hit with high-level challenges that she had never expected or prepared for. This boom in business required her and her family to change their whole lifestyle while she jumped head-first into learning on the job. Adrienne is a self-taught CEO, and the mission and message behind her brand comes naturally. Her love for the skating community and culture is what gives Moonlight Roller its special authenticity, from the look and feel of the skate to the surprise product drops and fun social media presence. Adrienne credits perseverance and belief in her own idea with Moonlight Roller’s multi-million dollar success and suggests that any female entrepreneur let confidence and commitment drive them through thick and thin.
Moonlight Roller Moonboots are now sold internationally with distributors in 15 countries, 2 pop-ups locations in New York and Miami, and a brick-and-mortar headquarters in Adrienne’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. They’ve finally closed on the property for a skating rink where Moonlight Roller can become the roller disco party it was always meant to be.
To learn more about Adrienne, you can visit Moonlight Roller at: