Whether she’s working on her business or spending quality time with her family, Spouse-ly Military Mom on the Street Monica Fullerton brings fun and supportive energy to everyone she meets.
After marrying her high school sweetheart turned Air Force hubby, Monica Fullerton quickly learned that the military community was ripe with creators, makers, and entrepreneurs. Many of her fellow spouses were pursuing their passions between deployments and even as full-time businesses. But there wasn’t a central location to shop and support these deserving entrepreneurs within the military community – so Monica launched Spouse-ly!
She is a twin mom on a mission to provide more career flexibility and stability no matter where the military life takes you. Monica is a firm believer that anything is possible if you just put your mind to it. She hopes that Spouse-ly helps provide a place where everyone can come together and support each other! When you shop small, you are truly making a big impact.
Spouse-ly Business Beginnings
When did you first come up with the idea for Spouse-ly?
I came up with the idea of Spouse-ly in late 2019, I was in the car on the way to dinner with a few fellow military spouse friends, and just in that car ride alone, I was so inspired by how much talent was right around me. I know firsthand that living the military life can be both challenging and rewarding for spouses due to our on-the-go lifestyle. Being a small business owner not only allows you to do what you love, but it provides both flexibility and stability. I knew I wanted to find a way to bring everyone together on one easy platform for people to shop small and make a significant impact.
Did you work in business before, or was this your first business/start-up endeavor?
For the past decade, I was very lucky to hold a career making the salary I always wanted and having something remotely based for the most part, but for me, the passion was missing. I had started a small business with my mother-in-law when I first became a military spouse to be able to have that fun and creative outlet on the side, and it was something that could move around with us.
This is my first time starting and growing a company like this from the ground up, but I have been able to use all my different business, communications, and marketing skills to get off the ground and running. We have a great foundation poured, and now it’s time to continue building!
Why do you think it is important to shine a light on the business owners and creators that are military spouses?
Military families usually re-locate on average every 2-3 years. We frequently face the unknown as we’re usually the ones to hold down the fort when our spouses deploy. Because of this, the military spouse community has seen a high unemployment rate of 24% for nearly a decade, and that number only continues to rise. It can be hard to find a career that can move around with our lifestyle, so many military spouses are turning to entrepreneurship! Our community is filled with so much strength, grit, creativity, and courage, and it is a true honor to be able to shine a light on these amazing makers, creators, and entrepreneurs.
Spouse-ly Military Business Rewards and Challenges
What are some of the biggest challenges and rewards of owning your own business?
Owning your own business provides you with the freedom and flexibility to grow at your own pace while doing something you love. Every business owner has different goals and reasons why they wanted to start in the first place; for me, the biggest challenge is I am a bootstrapping solopreneur who is building a very complex multi-vendor marketplace. But I know how badly our community has needed something like this, and every day is a new step forward!
What sort of products or items does Spouse-ly offer?
You can find a wide variety of both products and services on Spouse-ly! You can find products like home decor, art, food, unique gifts, custom products, and services including real estate agents, marketing companies, and business coaches. The list goes on, and that is the true beauty of our one-of-a-kind marketplace. We encourage more shoppers to purchase with purpose by supporting our nation’s heroes & their businesses.
Spouse-ly Military Family Support and Business Advice
Do your family, friends, and husband support you in your business endeavors? How so?
My husband and family have been some of my biggest supporters, and for that, I am forever thankful! They are constantly finding ways to spread the Spouse-ly love, purchasing on the platform, and being there for me every step of the way to bounce ideas and feedback off of. I will say, and this is something I am sure every business owner will say, it is a little shocking to which friends are excited to find ways to support and those that might not fully understand how something so small such as a like or share can help move mountains for business owners. So many incredible people have just poured so much love and support into Spouse-ly, and it means the world to our amazing community and me.
What is your number one piece of advice to other business owners?
Growth begins when comfort ends! I can’t stress that enough. Being a business owner will challenge you in many new ways, and you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone sometimes to keep pushing forward. You will go through many trials and errors of what works and what doesn’t. But remember to keep going and ask for help along the way!
Where can people find your business on social media/ your website?
Spouse-ly Military Wife Life
When did you become a military wife?
My husband’s in the Air Force, and I became a military wife in 2013 ( I actually ended up marrying my high-school sweetheart)
What are your favorite and least favorite thing(s) about being a military spouse?
My favorite thing about being a military spouse is the community. It is truly a community like no other. We support one another in both business and life, and it’s people that become your family. My least favorite thing about being a military spouse is not having family nearby as our children grow up.
What are your favorite and least favorite places you and your family have been stationed?
My favorite place that we have been stationed is Las Vegas because we have been very lucky to have stability here for quite some time now! My least favorite place is San Antonio, TX. It was a great spot to be but never really felt like home. It’s crazy that Vegas felt more like home.
What is your advice to other military spouses, especially ones going through long-distance/deployment?
Surround yourself with people who can be there to help and support you. If you are new to an area and haven’t met anyone yet, there are many different great groups and organizations that host local meet-ups, and they are an excellent opportunity to meet some new people in your area.
You are a twin mom. What was your reaction when you found out you were having twins?
HA! The crazy thing is, I have always said I was going to have twins and that I would love to be a twin mom. I still, to this day, will never forget the feeling when we found out on Valentine’s Day that we were having twins. It was a true blessing and wish come true. I think I am still in shock five years later…
What are the hardest and easiest things about raising twins?
The best part about having twins is they will forever have a built-in best friend. I am an only child myself, and to see the bond that they have had since birth is truly incredible. The hardest thing about being a twin mom, especially a twin mom with a boy and girl, is that as they get older, it’s hard to find the balance between both of them wanting to do different things and the different stages they are going through.
Do multiples run in your family?
Yes, and we had no idea! My great-grandma was a fraternal twin too, but I never really knew much about that because her brother passed away at a very young age because they didn’t have the technology they do now. The twins were in the NICU for 37 days and were over two months premature, so I couldn’t even imagine what it was like back then when they needed that special care.
Are your twins close?
Yes, they are very close. We recently put them in separate classes so they could start finding their independence without each other. They bicker all the time like an old married couple, but their bond is incredible.
What is your advice to other moms of twins or multiples?
You got this! I know it might seem overwhelming at times, especially in the early stages when you are basically a human conveyor belt, but it is such a blessing, and I wouldn’t change it for a thing. Make sure to connect with other twin or multiple moms. That connection helped me get through a number of things that some of my friends with one baby could not relate to.
What is your biggest hope for your twins as they grow up?
I hope that the twins will always be good people and go after what they want. They are such great kids. People always stop us and say how well mannered they are, and that means a lot to us. I hope by showing them firsthand what it looks like to follow your dreams, they see they can do it too!
Spouse-ly Military Style
Which three words best describe your style?
Neutral, Fun, Classy
What are your favorite places to shop?
Nordstrom, Boutiques, TJMAXX, and The Loft
Who’s your favorite style icon?
Rachel Parcell. She is not only an amazing mama but also designer
What’s your best style advice?
Go with the basics and add pops of color! I love when I can find a good black dress or shirt (love ruffle sleeves), and love pairing the basics with fun and unique jewelry on Spouse-ly!
What article of clothing/accessory would you not want to live without?
Earrings, I love a good pair of earrings. I feel like they can dress up or dress down your outfit for the look you need that day.
Which trend would you want to see make a comeback?
Bathing suits from the ’50s. They are so fun and cute, and I just love how classy they all look!
What should NEVER make a comeback?
Bell bottoms, I am not a fan! I love skinny jeans and pants.
What fashion/style did you love at the time but now cringe when you see old photos?
Overalls, I don’t really think I wore them much myself, but I always get a good kick at seeing some old photos. Or my husband would say this fuzzy pink turtleneck that I wore to his dad’s wedding back in the day. He will never let me live that one down.
What’s your best style secret?
I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to getting ready, but I love a good mascara and makeup. I am not quite sure how to get fancy with my makeup, but I love a clean, fresh look with some nice mascara.
Stilettos or flats?
Always heels, you will very rarely see me in flats!
Spouse-ly Military Family
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family?
In our pool or out biking! We love doing activities together, and when it’s outside, it’s nice because then I don’t sneak away to check my emails. 😉
What’s been your best family vacation?
We usually take the twins every year to Disneyland for their birthday, and that is always a fun vacation because we get to enjoy the magical moments with them!
Best parenting advice:
Everyone parents differently. My best advice is to do what works for you and your lifestyle and don’t worry about comparing yourself to others!
Parenting true confession:
I am so grateful the twins have each other because there are many times that I am working in my office while they are entertaining themselves for a while, and I know that wouldn’t be possible with just one. They would get bored too quickly.
What’s your go-to family dinner?
Cheeseburgers, the twins LOVE them and get excited every time I say that’s what we are having, and that’s really all they ever get when we go out to eat.
What’s your favorite family restaurant?
Lazy Dog, we have been going there since the twins were little, and you can’t beat their yummy food and the kid-friendly environment!
Spouse-ly Military Life
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch?
Shark Tank, I have grown up watching it and can’t get enough. I love watching and hearing about others’ inspiring stories. I also love watching drama and action series. I’m not a fan of reality shows or comedy.
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be?
Natalie Portman. I think she is such a great actress and always has a humble yet powerful vibe.
What’s your favorite beach read?
I am not big on books; I prefer listening to podcasts and such. But I am currently reading one of our Spouse-ly vendor’s books called A Series of Flashbacks: Darkness Within. She is an inspiring mom, widow, veteran, and now self-published author.
What song would you dance to when nobody’s watching?
Badass Woman by Meghan Trainor
If you could go shopping with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be?
Sara Blakely the founder of Spanx. She is a true inspiration, and I would love to spend time with her getting to know about her journey more.
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list?
Tahiti, I would love to go on a beach vacation soon, please! I would love a nice break to sit back and enjoy the beautiful beaches and peace and quiet.
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day?
With my feet up on the couch and a glass of red wine. It’s hard for me to fully unwind, and if I am on the couch it’s a sign that I am really needing it because I am normally moving around all day and night doing different things.
Spouse-ly Military Mom-life
We love how Monica is building a business around supporting military spouses, women, and creators while raising adorable twins and the curveballs that come with the military lifestyle, all along with grace and positivity. Spouse-ly Military Mom on the Street Monica Fullerton is a true inspiration!!