Celebrating their 1st anniversary this month, Spouse-ly is “Etsy meets Angie’s List” – an aggregate site where veterans and milspouses can share and market their small businesses. Since its initial launch with 30 vendors, the site has grown to a platform that represents more than 300 businesses. What makes the Spouse-ly website unique is that it combines serviced-based brands and products. The only requirement? Having a military affiliation, whether as a spouse or a current or former service member.
It’s a passion project that was brought to life by Monica Fullerton. She said she saw the need for such a venue and made it her focus to fill that gap.
“I saw Facebook groups recommending a different business or service. I wanted to create a central location where they could all come together,” she said.
Fullerton, an Air Force spouse, decided to take a leap of faith in putting this platform together. Spouse-ly = online marketplace for all veteran and spouse-owned brands.
There is a wide variety of industries covered: handmade items, crafts and trinkets, to ads and reviews for services, such as local realtors or plumbers.
Spouse-ly launched in February of 2020, right before the onset of the pandemic.
“I was devastated, I thought it wasn’t something that could grow during challenging times.” However, Fullerton saw just the opposite take place. “We’ve continued to push forward and create a space for our community to grow and shine in,” she said.
From marketing all areas of companies, to helping others accomplish their dreams, Fullerton has a natural motivation for the job. In fact, months into the launch, she quit her full-time career as an Executive Director for the Northwest. Working with Fortune 500 companies, she handled shipping logistics for brands with large budgets. After seven years in corporate logistics, her heart was no longer in the game, it was with Spouse-ly.
For months, Fullerton balanced her full-time job, her side gig, and her 4.5 year old twins. That is, her second side gig – she also co-owns and runs a t-shirt venue with her mother-in-law, an experience which she said gave her insider insight to selling on Etsy.
With the growing stress of kids at home, and a thriving platform that needed more of her attention, Fullerton and her husband decided to make the adjustment to Spouse-ly as her full-time gig. And while the transition was a financial adjustment for the family, she said they’re better off for the change.
“When you do something that you truly love and are passionate about, there’s no better feeling.This has really provided [military business owners] with a new sense of hope and something fun. It’s a community where we can all relate and support one another.”
Spouse-ly is free for shoppers to browse or seek out recommendations. For businesses, an annual slot is $35 for service-based brands, while retailers give 10% of each sale, with platform options that start at $1 a month for hosting their online store.
“My goal is for Spously to be a household name,” she said. “I cannot wait for the day when people can log in and see all these businesses that they can support. There was such a proven need for something like this – it’s an amazing way to support the veteran community.”