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

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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.


  • Why Alex switched from software to stationery

  • How she decides to move forward with a product line

  • Her theory on making things nice or funny

  • Incorporating optics and organization into merchandising

  • Alex’s process for research, development, manufacturing and pricing

  • Why everything Alex produces is something she uses

  • The importance of managing your margins

  • Challenges of storing hard goods vs stationery

  • Tactics for mitigating risk and designing sustainable products

  • How Alex grew to 1,500 active accounts in 4 years

  • Future plans and products Alex has in the works

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“It's strange to look back now, but I've actually always made greeting cards for people. I've always sent Valentines Day cards. And that's been something that I've done for years.” - Alex Gagne

“It came full circle.I found something I was able to communicate my sense of humor with, as well as greet people and make them laugh.” - Alex Gagne

“Our business is based on the model of, "If you can't make it nice, make it funny." So we have a little bit of everything.” - Alex Gagne

Everything we've ever brought into the line has been something that I want to use. We will never bring anything into the line that is something that I wouldn't use. That, for me, is totally disingenuine.”  - Alex Gagne

“The agility of being a business owner is a very special thing, in that we can decide to move forward with something or we can decide to cut it from the line. We can't always do that in corporate America.” - Katie Hunt

“There's only so much risk you want to take with a new product category.” - Alex Gagne

“We pulled our best selling phrases from our greeting cards, and put them on mugs. And now we're putting them on wine glasses, they're on rocks glasses, they're on candles.” - Alex Gagne

“As a business owner. I don't want to put anything out there, that I know is never going to be used again. We're producing so much crap as a society, that it's hard sometimes to put out gift items, because you feel like it's going directly to a landfill.” - Alex Gagne

“Bottom line is, people want to have an experience these days. They don't necessarily need a lot of junk in their lives, but they want to have an experience, and I think people have an experience with our products.” - Alex Gagne

“Once we get something set up, then we can turn, and focus on other aspects. But it's always shifting.” - Katie Hunt

“It's been a lot of hustle. It's been a lot of late nights, and I'm really fortunate to not have to really do that as much anymore. There was definitely a time there, where I was staying up until 2:00 in the morning, every night, reaching out to retailers, finishing out orders, just trying to make it work.” - Alex Gagne

“It's hard to delegate. I am a control freak. And I think being a letterpress printer is probably really a good indication of that.” - Alex Gagne

“The brand perception for people who are very wary of curse words, or snark and sassy humor, has been a challenge for us. But it's also been a reason we've done incredibly well.” - Alex Gagne


Website: Chez Gagne | Facebook: @chezgagne | Instagram: @chezgagne

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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