Having been around stones and crystals her entire life, Jessica Hoch didn’t get an idea for her business until she started making malas as gifts for friends. The demand for her creations quickly grew, prompting Hoch to open Moxie Malas in 2015. “I’ve always been drawn to crystals,” says Hoch, explaining how her grandma kept amethysts and malachite in her house. “I used to hunt for stones with my cousins and bead with them. The stones and crystals have just always been there.”
Originally from Shoreview, Hoch grew up working in her family’s floral shop, Lexington Floral. Even at a young age, customers would quickly open up to Hoch, telling her personal stories as she wrapped up their orders. “I learned so much about life working behind that counter,” Hoch says fondly. “People come in there and they’re buying something for an emotional reason. They would leave and the woman working next to me would ask, ‘Do you know them? I feel like they told you a lot!’” Hoch recalls with a laugh.
Hoch’s natural gift for talking to people and her love of stories connects her to customers no matter where she’s selling. She’ll commonly receive questions from a customer unsure of what stone to pick. Hoch will often reply, “Where do you feel like you need support in your life?” She laughs as she explains customers don’t always want to go deep right away, telling the story of a woman at a trade show who picked up a bracelet with ‘worthy’ inscribed on it. “On the inside it says, you are worthy of your greatest life, no matter what’s happened to you, what happened because of you. And she’s standing there and she’s like, ‘Oh my God, I’m sorry… I’m going to cry!’ I’m like, ‘It’s okay, I’m here. You’re in a safe space.’”
Originally a distance runner, Hoch remembers sprinting on the treadmill at the gym, looking over at a yoga class, intrigued. Six months later, she found her way to her first yoga class and it changed her life from that moment on. “The first thing [the teacher] said was there is nobody needing or wanting anything from you. There is no competition, no expectation. And I just started crying,” Hoch says. The concept of no competition or expectation stopped her in her tracks – and six months later she enrolled in her first teacher training. Hoch trained with YogaFit and began teaching at gyms around the Twin Cities, eventually earning her RYT 500 through Devanadi School of Yoga and Wellness in Minneapolis.
A no-brainer for Hoch, she started creating jewelry and malas (spiritual meditation beads originating in India) as she taught yoga, desiring for her business to be a vehicle for a broader message. “I wanted something really approachable,” she explains, “something that would open people up to self-discovery and transformation.” While she uses over 200 stones in her designs, Hoch recommends a crystal newbie start with rose quartz, either by placing stones around the house or by wearing them as jewelry. “A bracelet is very approachable,” Hoch explains, noting she often encounters skeptical customers when she’s selling in person. “I teach a lot about the chakras and energy work, and all these teachings [emphasize] our connection to something bigger. Nowhere is it defined by any one religion; it doesn’t belong to anyone.”
Hoch quickly clarifies that crystals aren’t a deity, something she explains to people who approach her with religious questions. “I’m really open to those conversations,” she explains, as she feels like avoiding conversations about religion and politics hasn’t gotten us to a good spot. “The more we talk, the more we realize we’re all in this together. We probably have more in common than we think.” Hoch hopes the message of her jewelry will help people find their own self-worth, no matter where they come from. “There’s so many people who feel lost and disconnected from purpose,” she explains, “when really your purpose comes from within, not from something external.”
While Hoch sells her jewelry online, at trade shows, and in over a hundred stores throughout the country, she’s fueled by a small team that helps her make all the jewelry by hand in Minnesota. “It’s really important to me that we are not just selling jewelry,” she says. “As we grow the business, we want to stay true to the core of self-discovery and healing. It’s not just about jewelry.”
And she really means it. On top of selling, Hoch hosts monthly workshops, retreats, and a new mentorship program launched in February 2023 called Moxie Mentors. The program focuses on creating community around self-discovery in a way supporting the individual person. The idea of being spiritually and financially abundant is the goal, explains Hoch. “I want to do [Moxie Mentors] in a way that supports the person not only spiritually, but also abundantly, earthly. Really using our financial abundance as a tool to further spiritual abundance.”
Not a stranger to struggles, Hoch knows what it’s like to really need inner spiritual connection. In 2022, shortly after Hoch’s beloved dog died, an accident left her mother paralyzed as a quadriplegic. Speaking in a hushed tone, Hoch acknowledges the challenging past five months, full of grief. To get out of her head, she would hop on her motorcycle, often ending up in Taylor’s Falls to visit her favorite bead shop. She recalls sitting outside in the sun, amazed at the goodness of life amid the hardness. “Those moments just keep you going…my life is good and these very horrific things are happening – they exist together,” she says.
Hoch’s determination is evident from Moxie’s logo which features a zinnia flower inside the O. “My grandpa used to grow rows and rows of zinnias in his backyard,” she says, explaining how zinnias can withstand the highest heat in the driest drought and still produce a bright, vibrant flower. “That goes back to the whole reason I’m doing Moxie. Building people up so they have this resiliency to say, ‘Oh my God, I’m being thrown a left hook from life, and I still have the tools in my toolbox to deal with it, I have the capacity to hold it.’ As long as they find healing and self-awareness – that’s where I want to bring people. That’s what it’s about.”
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.