Posts in Operations & Sales
121 | The Joy of Missing Out with Tonya Dalton, inkWELL Press

Do you ever sit down at the end of a long day of work, after checking box after box off your to-do list and still think, wow, I have so many more things I should get done. This feeling of overwhelm is common for small business owners and mompreneurs alike and it’s the reason today’s guest, Tonya Dalton, was inspired to write her new book, The Joy of Missing Out. 

You may remember Tonya from Episode 26 of Proof to Product, where she shared her start-up story of founding inkWELL Press and how she built systems and processes for both work and home. Since then, Tonya has been featured on Real Simple, Entrepreneur, Inc., Apartment Therapy, Lauren Conrad, and HGTV. In 2019, Tonya received the  Enterprising Woman of the Year Award and was named North Carolina's Female Entrepreneur to Watch by The Ladders. Tonya is truly a productivity expert and has made it her mission to help other women reduce and remove the overwhelm in their lives through her inkWELL Press products, liveWELL Method Course, Productivity Podcast, and book that comes out October 1st. 

On today's episode, Tonya takes us behind the scenes of The Joy of Missing Out. She shares her motivations for writing the book, why she chose to weave stories in as lessons, and the power of saying yes and no. I also discuss a personal story of my own that Tonya shares in her book. If you’re looking for ways to reduce overwhelm in your life and carve out more time for the things that matter most, this one's for you!

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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! 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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099 | Pivoting to custom wedding work with Emily Asher, Emily Rose Ink

Today on the 99th Episode of Proof to Product I’m joined by our friend and Tradeshow Bootcamp alumni, Emily Asher. Emily is an artist, calligrapher and the owner of Emily Rose Ink, a boutique wedding stationery studio based in Chicago. Emily started designing wedding stationery as a side hustle while working as a high school English teacher, but since taking the leap to make it her livelihood, her wedding stationery has been featured in countless publications and blogs, including Vogue, Martha Stewart, Style Me Pretty, and Oh So Beautiful Paper.

Early on in her business journey, Emily made the decision to intentionally narrow her focus, from art prints and greeting cards, to custom wedding stationery. Although this felt like a risk at first, this allowed Emily to perfect her design aesthetic, grow customer relationships, and solidify her business foundation. As a result, Emily’s wedding stationery business took off and her designs made celebrity status. Seriously… She just did Hillary Swank’s invites!

On today’s episode, Emily shares her startup story. She talks about how she got her foothold in the stationery industry, what inspired her to dive fully into her business, and why it was important for her to narrow her focus to solely doing custom wedding work. Emily also shares what she learned from celebrity weddings, how she manages her growing business today, and what’s coming up next for Emily Rose Ink!

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097 | Hiring a licensing agent with Ilana Griffo

Welcome back to another episode of Proof to Product! Today’s guest is Ilana Griffo, an illustrator, designer, author, and Tradeshow Bootcamp alumni! Like so many of you fellow entrepreneurs, Ilana built her business from the ground up. She began by launching her own stationery line, moved into designing her own product lines, signed major licensing deals with nationally recognized brands like Pier 1, Homegoods, and Michaels, and just published her first book, Mind Your Business. The key to Ilana’s success? She points to the way her business is always transitioning, pivoting to get to where she wants to go!

On today’s episode, Ilana and I sit down to talk about her career journey and the lessons she learned along the way. She talks about how she got her start in the stationery industry, why she decided to hire a licensing agent, and how that has freed her up to do more creative work. We also talk about pushing yourself to create for fun, fighting for your value, and rethinking failure. Ilana shares some examples of tough situations she went through in her business and how they resulted in some of her proudest moments.

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096 | Rebranding to a new name with Julie Richardson, Unblushing

Lately, I’ve had lots of feedback and questions from our audience regarding the struggles of marketing strategy. It can be so hard to know where to direct your time and energy with so many social and marketing channels available now, and that’s why I’m really excited for you to hear this week’s episode with Lindsey Morando, the Director of Marketing for Hello Bar. Lindsey has more than fifteen years of experience in business development and marketing that spans multiple industries including health & wellness, SaaS, lifestyle, and hospitality. No matter which industry she is focusing on though, Lindsey prides herself on the creation and implementation of engaging grassroots and online marketing tactics that convert fans into paying, happy customers. When Lindsey is not moving the marketing needle for businesses, she is a marketing professor at the San Diego Fashion Institute and the author of It’s Just Beginning– Break Up, Get Up and Walk Away.

Hey Friends, it’s Tuesday! Which means we’re back with another episode of Proof to Product, and this week I’m sitting down for a very fun interview with former PTP guest, Julie Richardson. You may remember Julie from Episode 20, where she shared her startup story and told us how she built her Etsy shop, Julie Ann Art, into a successful wholesale enterprise. If you haven’t heard her story, it’s definitely worth heading back for a listen!

For some background- Julie founded Julie Ann Art shop in 2008 and quickly gained the attention of the internet with her combination of raw illustrations and irreverent wit. Her brand brought a refreshing take to stationery, and with features in People, Bored Panda, Refinery and more, her side hustle hobby grew into a national lifestyle brand.

In 2019, Julie Ann Art rebranded as Unblushing to better represent the strong-willed, unapologetic voice that is quintessential to her stationery and gift brand. On today’s episode, Julie and I dive into this recent rebranding experience. We talk about how she knew she was ready for a new name and a fresh look, how she narrowed down potential names, and how she ultimately decided on Unblushing. Julie pulls the curtain back on what happens behind the scenes during a rebrand, shares her roadmap for planning the transition and tells us how she dealt with the unexpected details she never saw coming.

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094 | Creating strategic business plans with Emily Marks, Carina Paper Co

This week we have a great episode in store for you – one that will definitely resonate with any of you who are hustling through a day job to fund your dream job. Emily Marks, once a forensic accountant, took the leap and left a stable job to pursue her passion. She is now the businesswoman behind Carina Paper Co., a stationery company inspired by her Italian heritage and from her heart as a new mom, wife, daughter, and friend.

On today’s episode, Emily gives us all the details on how she turned her side hustle into a full-time gig. She tells us the reason she left her job with a major accounting firm and how her former role actually helps her in business now. We talk about the importance of strategic planning, project management, and how being in a state of discomfort provides space for personal growth. Finally, we talk about the danger of overthinking things and why sometimes, you just have to go for it.

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093 | Fears, pivots & growth through 10 years in business with Mary Phan, Very Mary

I can’t wait for you to hear this week’s episode with entrepreneur extraordinaire, Mary Phan. Mary owns a multi-faceted business which includes — Very Mary Inspired and The Sketchbook Series, illustration courses for designers and event planners. Mary is also a TSBC Alumni and just recently published her first book, The Artful Sketch, a gorgeous how-to sketchbook for beginners and experts alike.

Mary has always been drawn to the arts. After beginning her career as an interior designer, dabbling in fashion and staging model homes, she launched Very Merry Events in 2008. Mary enjoyed creating memorable experiences filled with atmosphere and feeling, but she became known for the beautiful, custom illustrations that were an indispensable part of her design process. In 2013, Mary took that love of illustration to the next level, launching The Sketchbook Series to help other event planners and designers master creative drawing.

Today Mary tells us all about her entrepreneurial journey, and how she went from being an interior designer getting laid off, to starting her own business. We talk about the real fears, pivots, and transitions that come with running your own business, and the joy of stepping into your true passion.

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092 | Creating a minimalist business with Paul Jarvis, Company of One

My guest today is Paul Jarvis, entrepreneur and author of the book Company of One: Why Staying Small is The Next Big Thing for Business. I read this book over the winter break and so much of what Paul talks about resonated with me. We live in a world where we’re conditioned as entrepreneurs to strive for more — more revenue, more products, more customers, more followers, more visibility and notoriety. While it’s true striving for bigger isn’t always better, I know many of us still struggle with the big question – How do we grow strong, profitable businesses but in a way that feels good and sustainable?

In his book Company of One and during today’s interview, Paul challenges us to explore a different way of thinking about business. During this episode, Paul and I discuss the contrarian view that business growth isn’t always good, and isn’t always required. We also talk about being a solopreneur, why that doesn’t necessarily mean your working alone, and why we need to know our “enough.” If you’re trying to break the mold, embrace minimalism and find balance in your own biz, trust me, this episode and book will help a ton!

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