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Rigby woman launched Minky business on a whim last year, now serves customers nationwide

Business & Money

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IDAHO FALLS – At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when many businesses were shut down and others were struggling to stay open, Kelsey Manzon of Rigby was opening a business for the first time.

She launched Minky Promise in June 2020, an online business that provides homemade Minky blankets, pillowcases, scarves and scrunchies for customers all over the United States.

During a tumultuous time, Manzon tells the business got off to a rough start.

“A pillowcase was the first thing I made and my dad bought it,” Manzon says.

Word spread through word-of-mouth initially and when she created a Facebook and Instagram page, orders quickly started trickling in. She launched a website in March and gained many more customers selling her products at the Idaho Falls Farmer’s Market this summer. Today, Minky Promise is a registered LLC.

“The farmer’s market really helped the business take off and I’ve been able to become a legit LLC because it’s doing so well,” Manzon says.

Minky Promise is a one-woman show for Manzon, who makes all the products with a sewing machine from her home in Rigby. Though she’d like to have her own storefront one day, Manzon says the lack of office space and employees allows her to sell product at a much lower cost than other similar businesses.

An impulsive decision turns to gold

As Manzon looks back on the last 18 months, she’s amazed at how far the business has come. The idea for the business happened on a whim and was conceived during a trip to Heise Hot Springs in the summer of 2020. Her husband, Melborne, had joined the Navy and was leaving for boot camp at the San Diego Naval Base that July.

kelsey and melborne
Kelsey and Melborne, who is originally from the Philippines, shortly after Melborne was sworn-in as a U.S. citizen. He originally came to the U.S. on a student visa to attend Brigham Young University-Idaho. Joining the Navy expedited his application for citizenship, which was approved earlier this year. | Kelsey Manzon

“We were trying to have as much fun as we could together before he left,” Kelsey recalls. “We were literally just swimming and I said, ‘Bon, I’m starting a business.’ After swimming, we went home and showered and I bought my first Minky fabric.”

Kelsey laughs in retrospect because, at that time, she had no prior experience with sewing or making products like this.

She remembers visiting her brother in Salt Lake City while working as an intern. He and his wife owned a Minky blanket and she was enamored with it.

“It was so soft. It was gorgeous … and that was the blanket I would try and steal whenever we’d watch movies at their house,” Kelsey explains.

She eventually bought her own Minky blanket and was shocked to learn how expensive it was.

“They range from $250 and up,” she says. “I finally bought one because it was on clearance … and it was cheap.”

But just having one blanket wasn’t enough for her. Her love affair with Minky continued and she acquired several more blankets over time.

When she had the idea to start her own business, she remembered how outrageous the price was to purchase a Minky blanket and decided she could offer it at a much lower price if she made them herself.

manzon at work
Kelsey Manzon at work on a Minky blanket in her Rigby home. | Kelsey Manzon

Since the company launched, she’s learned to make blankets quickly. Once an order is placed, Kelsey says customers can expect it within a day or two, including shipping time, depending on where they live.

“Unless something crazy happens, they’ll probably get it in the mail the next day. Depending on what time of day they ordered it, they could get it that same day,” says Kelsey.

‘Making my dreams come true … during a dark time in my life’

Though Kelsey talks to her husband almost daily, she says she’s only seen him sporadically over the last year and estimates only seeing him about six months of time.

As business started to pick up, Melborne was deployed for a mission in the Pacific Ocean. Profits from the business allowed Kelsey to take a trip to Guam several weeks ago to spend some time with him.

She’s planning to join him in San Diego in February once his deployment is complete.

Kelsey is grateful for the support she’s received and hopes to see the business continue to grow into a livelihood that will sustain her and her family.

“It’s been really fun. It’s such a rush when you make a sale … and someone likes what I make and is willing to pay good money for it. I’m really grateful for people that support me in any way. It’s really making my dreams come true and kept me happy during a dark time in my life,” she says in reference to being away from her husband for so long.

kelsey and melborne pic
A recent photo of Kelsey with her husband, Melborne. | Kelsey Manzon