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

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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!


  • What prompted Alicia to start her stationery line

  • Why she pivoted from custom wedding invitations to greeting cards

  • Following your heart and making decisions based on your strengths

  • Starting from scratch

  • Taking advice and knowing where to improve

  • How to hone in on your audience

  • When Slightly Stationery releases new product

  • Mistakes Alicia made when she first started with wholesale

  • Changes she made to her business after Paper Camp

  • The importance of patience and persistence

  • Differences between big and small company buying cycles   

  • The steps Alicia took so she could start pulling a salary from her company  

  • How she chose a philanthropic organization to give back to

  • What Alicia is most proud of in her business

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“I was doing a lot of custom work and not making any money on it, so I wondered is there's something out there that I can design one time and sell it a whole bunch times?”  - Alicia Heater

“It's an experiment in those early years in business. How do I want to structure this? How can I make it sustainable for the long term? And profitable and make it my full-time gig.” - Katie Hunt

“When you’re buying a card in a store, you're buying it because this is perfect for this one person. I had this thought of like I'm trying to design for everybody, so I wasn't designing those kind of cards.” -  Alicia Heater

“I scrapped the idea of trying to design cards that are going to be so generic and good for everybody, because then they're not really special for any one person, and those are the ones that sell.” -  Alicia Heater

“When it feels like you’re selling the same thing as everybody else, you need to really find what's unique about your products, and really promote that.” - Katie Hunt

“When I turned that filter off of my ideas, it opened up a lot of things.”  - Alicia Heater

“People will pick up a card for the way it looks, if it’s cute, but they'll buy it because of what it says.” -  Alicia Heater

“I had no idea, so I went and did a bunch of Google searches on like how to sell wholesale and learned so much more about that when I did Paper Camp” -  Alicia Heater

“Right after Paper Camp, I went out and was working harder at going to get more reps rather than going to get more stores, and it really empowered me to go do the right things. It was a chain reaction.” -  Alicia Heater

“Now they're emailing me, and Anthropologie's like, ‘Oh, this card’s doing so well for us. Can we carry some more stuff, too?’ and I'm like, hmm. Let me think about that for a second. Yes!” -  Alicia Heater

“Being able to have a business where I can do what I like doing, and it pays the bills, too, is really incredible, and I feel really blessed to have that, so I'm proud of that.”  - Alicia Heater

“Even when you're not making much money, you can still give back.” -  Alicia Heater


Website: Slightly Stationery | Facebook: @SlightlyStationery | Instagram: @SlightlyStationery | Pinterest: @SlightlyPaper

Connect with Katie Hunt

Katie Hunt is a business strategist, podcaster, mentor and mama to four. She helps product based businesses build profitable, sustainable companies through her conferences, courses and coaching programs.

Website: prooftoproduct.com  |   Instagram: @prooftoproduct

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