Stylish Manifestations

When Kaitlin Moss (B.S., ’12) looks back on the year 2017, it’s easy for her to call it one of the most consequential of her life. Already the founder of a successful online business, she had a joyous time planning her wedding and sharing the happiness of new beginnings with family and friends.

Kaitlin Moss with her husband at their wedding
Kaitlin Moss came up with the idea for Wipeys while planning her wedding in 2017.

Wedding bells and excitement about a bright future were mainly in Moss’s thoughts, but as an entrepreneur, business ideas always brewed in the back of her mind despite everything else going on. She and her friends loved to brainstorm about products they could create and enter into a niche market.

“I remember talking with a friend about skin care for the wedding and realizing all the little things we could be doing,” Moss said.

Moss continued to ruminate about more effective skin care products and dove deeper into unique ideas that would resonate in the marketplace. She recognized how something as simple as cleaning your phone – a natural repository of germs and bacteria – could make a real difference.

“I told my friends, how fun would it be to create a naturally formulated and biodegradable wipe to clean your phone and which is also safe on your skin, with no harsh chemicals.”

The idea stuck. But with her wedding coming up and plans to buy a house with her husband soon after, she had other priorities. About a year later, she said “we’re doing this,” and with this simple declaration, Wipeys was born.

From Idea to Reality

Ask any entrepreneur about launching a new product, and they’ll provide details that the regular consumer would never even think about. For Moss, the product development phase for Wipeys was a significant learning experience.

“There is so much that’s involved,” Moss explained. “Coming up with the name, securing the trademark, learning about formulas and materials, designing the packaging, finding a manufacturer, and balancing a cast of characters that I’m working with … There was a lot of self-learning.”

Wipeys products
Wipeys is all-natural and biodegradable and has multiple uses including for hands, surfaces, and devices.

Moss credits CSU’s design and merchandising program, within the College of Health and Human Sciences, for giving her the tools she needed to succeed with Wipeys and for providing the mentorship and connections that put her on the right path after graduation. Her instructor Carol B. Engel, in particular, was key in helping Moss find her passion.

“She was really there to help me,” said Moss. “Some teachers may kind of forget about you, but Carol was dedicated to seeing her students – and me – succeed.”

Although Moss wasn’t exactly sure which career path she would choose at the time, she decided to “try everything” and see what brought her the most joy. After several internships and post-graduation jobs including working for a magazine and a local design store, she felt certain that events were closest to her heart.

“When I realized that I wanted to be involved with events, a mentor put me in touch with a woman who did fashion shows in Denver, and I worked for her. There were about three shows a year, so I looked into do doing blogging in my spare time. This is how my Every Hostess blog began.”

Moss launched The Every Hostess in 2014, which is a source of many stylish subjects including event setup, recipes, what to wear in different occasions, cocktail hour ideas, and much more. She generates revenue from the blog through sponsored posts, working with brands, content creation, and ads, and she continues to grow the business organically to this day.

“Reception has been positive from the start, and it’s been a fun project of building a career off of something that I’ve made on my own.”

With her experience in creating a successful venture from scratch with The Every Hostess, Moss had the momentum to manifest something on a whole different level. As product development progressed for Wipeys, she finalized the formula and design and proudly put in her production order. All she had to do now was wait.

It was early 2020.

Launching Into the Unknown

Moss felt a strange trepidation in the air during the opening months of 2020. Reports of an unusual virus and new outbreaks around the world increased with each passing week. Talk of an uncontainable contagion and an uncertain, undefinable future gave her a sense that something, this time, was different. Masks and wipes began to dominate the conversation.

Kaitlin Moss checks Wipeys inventory
Kaitlin Moss checks her Wipeys inventory.

Her family, friends, and everyone she knew felt the same and were cognizant of the fact that her product could make a difference and help. As she waited for her Wipeys shipment to be ready from the manufacturer, she prepared to act fast to get it on the market. With Wipeys’ all-natural ingredients, pleasant scents, and stylish and unique packaging of individual wipes, Moss was hoping her brainchild would stand out from the pack.

“When the shipment was ready, we put it out in just three days. There was tons to do including photos for the website, getting the message out, and going to stores and online companies to pitch the product. On March 4, we officially launched.”

Her entire inventory sold out in less than a month.

“I called the manufacturer soon after the launch and let them know we needed more product. The normal production time is two to three months, and they were able to turn it out by the end of July, which was pretty good all things considered.”

Kaitlin moss with a friend at CSU
Kaitlin Moss during her time at CSU. She loves visiting her alma mater and reconnecting with college friends.

With Wipeys recently enjoying its three-year anniversary and getting national attention in publications such as Glamour, Vogue, and InStyle, Moss’s creation continues to be popular despite a general decline in wipes sales across the U.S. She is consistently reimagining the product in a post-COVID era and working with wholesalers to continually grow her business.

“I had this idea well before COVID that cleanliness is so important in those little moments of keeping your phone clean, washing your hands, and just doing what you can to avoid getting sick. I never meant this to just be a COVID product, so I’m hoping Wipeys can continue to succeed.”

With all the long hours and dedication required for running two successful businesses, Moss still finds time to enjoy life with her husband and family and to stay connected to her alma mater. Some of her favorite hobbies include skiing, running half marathons, hiking, and pickleball, and she loves to visit CSU during football season and reconnect with her college friends and Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters.

“A fun Fort Collins weekend is always the best. It’s such an amazing place to be.”