117 | How to Time Your New Product Releases with Katie Hunt

Creating new products and tinkering with new design ideas is why most of us went into business. It’s the draw of the creative process. We love to brainstorm, create and then create some more. And it keeps our businesses exciting and alive—for us and for our bank account.

Releasing new products is our ticket to business growth. It sets us apart from the competition and shows retailers that we're serious about our business and our product line. But it’s important to realize that timing is a major factor with new releases, particularly when you’re selling wholesale.

At Paper Camp, we talk a lot about scheduling and timing, but the three things we need to consider are:

- Timing

- Frequency

- Reorders

We dive into each of these during today's episode.

Don't forget to download our free workbook:  How To Build a Profitable Product Line or connect with us in our Friends of Proof to Product Facebook Group 

Read More
productKatie HuntComment
116 | How to know if you're ready for an Integrator with Kristin Kaplan

As entrepreneurs and product-based business owners, there comes a time for all of us when we have to make the decision to pivot. The pivot period can be a tough and turbulent time, but today on Proof to Product, my friend Kristin Kaplan is here to tell us how she managed to gracefully pivot away from her successful wedding planning business after 10 years to begin working as an integrator for online entrepreneurs. Kristin now creates strategic plans, action steps and manages profitable, sustainable businesses. She is also the host of the Planning for Profit Podcast, the creator of The Pricing Workbook and the founder of Plan to Profit, a monthly program to help visionary business owners reach their goals. On top of all that, Kristin also balances life as a wife, mother to three kiddos, organization addict, beauty & skincare lover, marathoner, and wine drinker (she needs at least one vice to manage all of the above).

On today’s episode, Kristin and I are talking about what it means to be an Integrator - what they do and how to know if you’re ready for one. We also talk about pivoting in business - the fears surrounding it but also how it shows growth as a CEO and money mindset, particularly how to positively frame your thoughts around money. If you’re looking for advice on how to manage it all, or how to make your pivot period easier, this episode is 100% for you! 

Read More
115 | Scaling a handmade jewelry business with Dani Paquin of Agapantha

We’ve heard a lot of fun origin stories on the Proof to Product Podcast, but today’s episode with Dani Paquin, founder of the jewelry company Agapantha, is an extra sweet and serendipitous start-up story. Dani founded her jewelry company in 2004 somewhere on a dusty road as she was touring the United States as a singer-songwriter. Between tours, Dani worked at her home in Brooklyn assembling jewelry for other designers, but at that moment on the road, she finally realized she had to bring her own designs to life. So Agapantha was born and an important artistic shift was made. 

What does Agapantha mean? It's the first flower that Dani's grandmother taught her to say. Today, Dani pays homage to her and the inspirational women in her life by naming each collection after someone special. Her delicate, minimalist layering jewelry that is sold in boutiques around the world and Agapantha recently celebrated 15th years of business. 

On today's episode, Dani shares her start-up story. We talk about how she slowly and thoughtfully grew her jewelry line over the years and how she scaled production for a handmade product. Dani also encourages all of us to just keep going - because you never know where things will lead. 

Read More
114 | E-Commerce Strategies & Abandoned Cart Emails with Arianne Foulks, Aeolidia

Has being an entrepreneur and your own boss helped unlock new skills or uncover new parts of your personality? It definitely has for Arianne Foulks, founder of Aeolidia, a design studio specializing in designing and developing custom e-commerce websites using Shopify, as well as logo design, product packaging, product photography, content creation, and business naming. Before starting Aeolidia in 2004, Arianne was shy and avoided talking to clients over the phone. Today, after 15 years in business and growing her team to more than twenty-three employees, Arianne is bold in her business. She speaks and teaches at events, hosts business owner brunches, and looks forward to talking with people about their companies.

On today's episode, Arianne and I chat about how she built her agency and grew her team over the years. We talk about common misconceptions some creative entrepreneurs have, the advantages of using Shopify, and the importance of abandoned cart emails. Arianne also shares details about the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program, an investment program that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses through education, capital and support services. 

Read More
113 | Why you can’t rely solely on social media for sales with Nicole Walters, The Monetized Life

Have you ever come home from a long day at your corporate job and realized like, “Okay, so my job is feeding my family, but definitely not my soul.” What do you do? Well, today's Proof to Product guest is telling us how she figured it out. By age 28, Nicole Walters was a highly-paid executive at a Fortune 500 company, managing multibillion dollar accounts, but something wasn’t right. So Nicole quit her corporate job, and she made waves when she quit in front of 10,000 people while live streaming on Periscope. She went on to open her own private business and product development consulting firm, The Monetized Life. 

As Nicole’s audience ramped up so did her revenue—she made $11,000 in the first three weeks of working with small business clients full time. Now, when she’s not hanging out with her husband and their three foster kids, she shares her secrets to earning “passive income” with other entrepreneurs through her wildly popular online course, 1K1Day. “I teach people how to add commas to their bank accounts,” says Nicole. “They learn that they don’t have to trade time for money.”

On today's episode, Nicole and I sit down to talk about common mistakes she sees eager entrepreneurs making and why old school sales strategies still work. We also talk about why you can't rely solely on social media for sales, the importance of having multiple revenue streams and why you need to treat your business like a business from day one. 

Read More
112 | Scaling a Subscription Based Business with Samantha Barnes of Raddish

Hey friends, have you heard of Raddish? It’s a super cool monthly cooking club that empowers kids to build confidence in the kitchen and beyond. Today’s guest, Samantha Barnes the CEO and founder of Raddish, founded the company after working as a middle school teacher. A mom of two, Samantha realized the kitchen was the best place to connect with her kids in a meaningful way, and in true entrepreneurship fashion, she was inspired to start her own company. Samantha’s passion for family is visible in every aspect of her company. As a female founder, she is committed to running results-oriented and flexible company built on autonomy, working smart, and a positive work/life balance. 

On today’s episode, Samantha and I dive into her subscription based business model and how it has evolved over time. The two of us talk about her business journey, how the company started out of her garage, how her team has evolved, the logistics of getting her product to market. We also talk about the pros and cons of running a subscription based business, how she learned how to delegate, what she does when she’s feeling burnt out.

Read More
111 | Realizing You Don't Want an Empire with Kiwi Schloffel, Craft Boner

On today’s episode of Proof to Product I’m sitting down with a gal I greatly admire, who I have had the pleasure of working with for a few years now through Paper Camp and my Proof to Product Mastermind coaching program. Meet Kiwi Schloffel, the brains and brawn behind Craft Boner, a stationery gift brand with the sole focus of making people chuckle. That’s a common theme in greeting cards, Kiwi takes it seriously. Her goal, in her own words, “Is to make you laugh. Not in the ha-ha-I’m-being-polite kind of way but actual big belly laughs that make your eyes water and give you an annoying stomach cramp because you just can’t stop.” 

Over the course of the last eight years, Kiwi opened a retail space then decided to leave that retail space. She expanded her product line to more than 300 SKUs across multiple product categories and then recently discontinued over half of those products. She amassed an Instagram following of over 16,000 people just like that, and today we are talking about all of it. Kiwi and I sit down to talk about the transitions, the fears, and how making these shifts have allowed her to do fewer things even better within her business. Kiwi acknowledges that she's still figuring out her next steps, and that’s why this interview is so important. At the end of the day, no matter how successful, aren’t we all just trying to figure it out? I hope you enjoy this fun episode! 

Read More
5 Tips When Applying for Scholarships with Katie Hunt

Scholarship applications for our Paper Camp conference opened today, July 5th and will stay open until July 12th so I wanted to hop on here and share 5 tips for how to put your best foot forward when applying for scholarship opportunities, like ours.

A little background first…. Giving back is an important piece of the Proof to Product mission and we offer one full tuition scholarship to each and every Paper Camp conference and e-course that we offer.

Since 2011, I’ve awarded over $100,000 dollars worth of scholarship funds to our students. And, in that time my husband and I have reviewed tons of scholarship applications.

Here are our 5 ways to stand out in your scholarship application.

Read More
110 | Business partnerships with Minna Khounlo-Sithep & Jacqueline Snyder, The Product Boss

So many of us are solopreneurs, but have you ever met another small business bad-ass and totally clicked? That’s what happened for today’s guests, Minna Khounlo-Sithep and Jacqueline Snyder, voices behind The Product Boss Podcast.

For some background, after Minna had her first child she was inspired to start Lil' Labels, write-on kids labels that are sold at retail giants like Amazon, Walmart and Jet. At the same time, Jacqueline was running her own product based business, Cuffs Couture, and growing her international sales. Jacqueline reached out to Minna in a business Facebook group, and the two totally hit it off. Today, Jacqueline and Minna work together to teach business owners how to grow their product-based businesses with smart strategy and a community around them. In addition to running the podcast, they each still own their own businesses.

On Episode 110, we’re all sitting down to talk about the pros and cons business partnerships, how Minna and Jacqueline divide responsibilities, and what to look for if you’re considering taking on a new partner. We also talk about how Minna and Jacqueline juggle their multiple businesses, and they share their top tips for product based business owners.

Read More
109 | Discontinuing an entire product line & starting over with Alicia Heater, Slightly Stationery

Do you remember when you first started your business? How about your first card? Do you ever go back and look at work you were doing in those early stages and wonder, what was I thinking?! I know from experience it can be cringe-worthy or just hilarious, but that’s the beauty of the business journey!

Today on Proof to Product we’re welcoming Paper Camp alum, Alicia Heater of Slightly Stationery, to share her business beginning. When Alicia started Slightly Stationery, it was with the belief that women be encouraging and loving to each other through the timeless art of handwritten notes (Oh, and that these handwritten notes should make people chuckle, and also be super cute, too.) Today, continuing this spirit of mutual support, a portion of all Slightly Stationery proceeds go to the Malala Fund to help girls around the world receive a good education.

On Episode 109, Alicia talks about how she started her first line, the changes she made along the way and what she learned at Paper Camp. We discuss the financial challenges of business and why giving back is a key  part of Slightly Stationery’s mission and values. Alicia also shares the importance of taking advice, not being afraid to start over, and what it’s like today to have cards in more than 400 stores throughout the U.S. including Paper Source and Anthropologie.

We hope you enjoy this fun episode, and that it inspires you to look back at how far you’ve come in your business journey too!

Read More
108 | Shifting our definition of success with Ginger Lyons, Buffalo Girls Salvage

Hey friends, welcome back to Proof to Product! Today’s guest is Ginger Lyons, a serial entrepreneur who believes positive attitude, abundance mindset, and perseverance are the keys to a successful business model. A military veteran, Ginger is the creator behind Buffalo Girls Salvage, a jewelry design company that transforms salvaged copper, metal and bullet casings into beautiful, handmade pieces.

Since 2012, Ginger’s company has been inspiring women and honoring law enforcement officials through creative designs. She is also passionate about investing in mainstreet America, supporting small businesses and coaching female entrepreneurs.

On today's episode, Ginger and I talk about her incredible “backward” business journey. She shares what it was like to have a storefront, employees, national manufacturing network and the opportunity to appear on Shark Tank, and why she pivoted her business to stay true to her ‘why’. We talk about how our definition of success often changes over the course of time, how entrepreneurship is always a choice, and the importance of sharing our journey to help others.

I hope you enjoy Ginger's story of growth, strategic pivoting, and the lessons she learned along the way!

Read More
107 | The long game of licensing & surface pattern design with Jeanetta Gonzales

Welcome back to Proof to Product, all you small business hustlers, and creative entrepreneurs! Today we have a great episode in store for you with guest Jeanetta Gonzales, a Los Angeles-based graphic designer, and illustrator. Jeanetta began her career as a graphic designer working for corporate companies such as WedMD, Mattel and The Disney Store. She later parlayed her digital and fine art skills into surface design working as a textile designer and style guide designer for consumer products and creating illustrations and art that she licenses to manufacturers for products sold online and in major retail stores. On top of all of this, Jeanetta also runs her own online store where she sells her art on print items, mugs, fabric, home decor items and more.

On today’s episode, Jeanetta shares her experience with licensing and tells us why you have to be in it for the long game. We talk about why relationships are so important in business, why it’s necessary to create art and products with a unique point of view, and her goal to spread joy through a variety of creative means.

Read More
106 | Product diversification and scaling wholesale with Alex Gagne of Chez Gagne

Today on Proof to Product we’re welcoming Paper Camp Alum, and founder of Chez Gagne, Alex Gagne! Alex attended our Paper Camp Conference back in February of 2015 before debuting her wholesale line at the National Stationery Show. Since then, Alex has gone on to expand her product offering, add new team members, and achieve her vision for the Chez Gagne brand.

Chez Gagne is a paper and gift brand that offers greeting cards, wine and spirit tags, mugs, wine glasses, candles, and rocks glasses. Alex currently sells to 1,500 stores throughout the world, works with sales reps nationally, and exhibited at six trade shows this winter alone. With more than 93% of Alex’s annual revenue coming from wholesale, much of her time is spent planning, prepping and traveling across the country for trade shows.

On today’s episode, Alex is sharing with us how she does it all. We talk about how greeting cards became more than just her creative outlet and how Alex made the jump from paper goods to other products. We also how Alex decides which new product categories to pursue, challenges she faced in her business journey and key factors to Chez Gagne’s exponential growth.

Read More
105 | Digital Marketing Strategies for Product Businesses with Allie Morris Nute, Verb House Creative

Our guest today is Allie Nute, the creative lady behind Verb House Creative. Allie provides content creation, digital marketing management and consulting services to incredible, creative businesses - businesses with personality, heart and dedication. Allie calls them her client-friends.

On this episode, we are talking about misconceptions that creative entrepreneurs have around marketing and how Allie helped one of her customers increase their wholesale sales by 250%. We also find out why fewer emails is often-times more impactful, why you don't need to be focusing on all of the social media platforms, and when it's best to pick one and run with it.

Read More
104 | Turning a Hobby Business Into a Thriving Retail Shop with Audrey Woollen, Urbanic

Hey Friends, have you had the chance to visit the famous Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Los Angeles? This mile long street located in Southern Venice is home to amazing creative galleries, internationally recognized brands and one-of-kind local shops like, Urbanic Paper Boutique. Audrey Woollen founded Urbanic thirteen years ago, and since then, her original lifestyle brand and retail shop has attracted a great deal of press, a large social media following, and has developed collaborative signature lines with some of the nation's top designers.

On today's episode, Audrey shares how she discovered her passion for paper and product based business. She tells us how she got started, how Urbanic has evolved over the years, and how she turned her weekend hobby into a thriving retail shop. Audrey also talks about the challenges she faced along the way, including an IRS audit in her third year, and the store getting robbed at times. Audrey brings us into her journey, talking about the passion she has for her industry, the creative community which she's in, and why creating a strong customer experience is so important to her and the brand.

Read More
103 | Marketing our Rebrand with Katie Hunt, Proof to Product

This is Part 3 of our three-part series exploring Proof to Product’s exciting new rebrand. On Part 1, which was Episode 101, guest host Caroline Hull and I talked about why I decided to change my business name from Tradeshow Bootcamp to Proof to Product. On Part 2, we dove into the logistics, business formation, legal decisions, and building out the new website. If you missed those two episodes, I encourage you to head back and listen to 101 and 102 first!

On today’s episode, Caroline and I are breaking things down to talk about the marketing plan. Specifically, how we rolled out the new site and the news about the Proof to Product name change.

Our audience has been such an important part of this process, and I’m so excited to share all of these new changes with you. I hope you enjoy Part 3 of this three-part series and be sure to check out our new online home at prooftoproduct.com!

Read More
102 | Logistics of Our Rebrand with Katie Hunt, Proof to Product

Welcome to Part 2 of a three-part series exploring Proof to Product’s exciting new rebrand. On Part 1, which was Episode 101, guest host Caroline Hull and I talked about why I decided to change my business name from Tradeshow Bootcamp to Proof to Product, and all the fears I had going into the transition. So if you haven't caught that episode yet, I encourage you to go and start there!

Today, on Episode 102, Caroline and I are diving into the logistics behind the rebrand, from the business formation and legal decisions to marketing planning and building Proof to Product’s new website. Tomorrow, on Episode 103, I share our marketing plan, how we’re rolling out the new name and the best parts of our beautiful new website.

Our audience has been such an important part of this process, and I’m so excited to share all of these new changes with you. I hope you enjoy Part 2 of this three-part series and join in to celebrate with us!

Read More
101 | Why I Rebranded to Proof to Product with Katie Hunt

Hey friends, can you believe it?! This is Proof to Product’s 100th Episode! It’s been amazing to watch this podcast, which began as a creative way to connect with members of the stationery community, grow into so much more – a platform, resource, and launching point for stationery and creative entrepreneurs alike.

Over the last year and a half, we’ve heard some incredible, inspiring startup stories from entrepreneurs making physical products, just like you. We have talked about successes and struggles, mindset shifts, and the importance of taking action to reach your goals. Entrepreneurs like Katie Wilson of The Good Twin, Rachael Hetzel of Pistachio Press, Mary Phan of Very Mary Inspired, Ronnie Williams of DeFrance Printing, Taylor Elliot of Taylor Elliott Designs, Natasha Case of Coolhaus, and Viola Sutanto of Maika Goods, just to name a few, all shared their stories, struggles and advice of growing and thriving in business.

To celebrate this 100th milestone, we’re revisiting our favorite episodes and the Proof to Product lessons that continue to inspire our lives and business. We’re honored to share the personal stories of our amazing audience members and hope you enjoy this special edition episode!

Read More
100 | Listeners help us celebrate episode 100!

Hey friends, can you believe it?! This is Proof to Product’s 100th Episode! It’s been amazing to watch this podcast, which began as a creative way to connect with members of the stationery community, grow into so much more – a platform, resource, and launching point for stationery and creative entrepreneurs alike.

Over the last year and a half, we’ve heard some incredible, inspiring startup stories from entrepreneurs making physical products, just like you. We have talked about successes and struggles, mindset shifts, and the importance of taking action to reach your goals. Entrepreneurs like Katie Wilson of The Good Twin, Rachael Hetzel of Pistachio Press, Mary Phan of Very Mary Inspired, Ronnie Williams of DeFrance Printing, Taylor Elliot of Taylor Elliott Designs, Natasha Case of Coolhaus, and Viola Sutanto of Maika Goods, just to name a few, all shared their stories, struggles and advice of growing and thriving in business.

To celebrate this 100th milestone, we’re revisiting our favorite episodes and the Proof to Product lessons that continue to inspire our lives and business. We’re honored to share the personal stories of our amazing audience members and hope you enjoy this special edition episode!

Read More