Successful entrepreneur, creative genius, passionate leader. They may seem like buzzwords, but nevertheless they describe Allison De Meulder. In 1999 she launched InvitationConsultants.com, one of the first online retailers of personalized invitations and announcements. In 1999, she was a true pioneer. In 2015, In 2015, she remains at the helm of one of the few original online invitation companies that has survived the dot com bust and the wave of consolidation in the industry. The company is still privately owned and never accepted any capital or debt. Their products have been featured on Good Morning America, the Today Show, Real Weddings, The Knot magazine, HGTV Magazine, Woman’s Day and numerous other publications.
In December of 2013, she successfully launched the wholesale line Matrick & Eve, a strong brand of paper and gifts sold in brick and mortar stores. She saw an opportunity in the market for creative, fun and unique products. The line features greeting cards, coasters, notepads, stationery, and more. All of the products are designed, printed and packaged in-house at the Matrick and Eve studio, proudly made in the USA. In one year, the line went from zero to over three hundred stores, including museums, boutiques, home decor shops, bookstores, and stationery and gift stores, and is still growing strong. This spring Matrick and Eve can be found in such stores around the country as Sur La Table, Francesca’s and Paper Source.
Allison’s main focus is to maintain a company culture steeped in creativity, teamwork, service and out-of-the-box thinking. Fun is always present at the office and can be seen at their craft days, sketching afternoons and monthly luncheons which usually involve movie trivia. Allison has grown her company to be a unique place of opportunity for designers as well as those creative minded individuals who want to be in an innovative and challenging environment where things are always changing and growth is not a noun but a state of mind.
Born in New York City and raised in Miami Beach, Allison dreamed of becoming an entertainment lawyer. She majored in business because she thought it would be a good foundation for law. She studied at Boston University’s School of Management before finishing her degree at the University of Tampa. To her surprise she fell in love with everything business and took a different path. She then earned her MBA. Allison’s work experience includes marketing communications and public relations. She considers her areas of expertise to be: organizational management, product development, creative direction and change management.
Allison enjoys sharing her passion for business and creativity through public speaking and writing. She is currently writing her first book, a business book with a personal twist. To follow Allison’s business musings, and for news about her book, visit http://www.allisondm.com.
She enjoys spending her free time traveling with her family, watching chick flicks, listening to 80’s music, collecting interior design books, walking, writing, reading, dreaming of new products, touring universities and working on interior design projects that focus on rustic chic and modern vintage decor. She and her husband have three children and four chickens.
Getting to know Allison De Meulder
Tell us about your current book
At age 23, I started an online business in a time when ecommerce was a relatively unknown term. Sixteen years later, I reflect back on how I grew the business and how the business turned me into an adult.
This book tells my story. It is not meant to give advice, but rather to inspire women. I want to show women that they can have a successful business, be a wife and be a mother, all at the same time. I have done it all, from hiring my husband to work with me, bringing the kids to the office on holidays instead of brunching with bunnies, to providing jobs and opportunities and inspiring a corporate culture filled with creativity, comradery and lots of sugar, chick flicks and crafting. I did it by choosing the right (and wrong) people for my team, making mistakes at every turn, taking risks and being an introvert. It sounds exhausting and it was, but I am is still standing tall.
Can you tell us four words that describes your writing style
Honest, Sincere, Raw, Chatty
Do you have a writing process? If yes, briefly explain
My writing process is simple. I sit down with a notebook or at my laptop and just type whatever comes to mind. After I have regurgitated all of my feelings on paper or the screen, then I will read it over with a discerning eye. For me writing is a treat that I do not get the time to do often, so when I do, I just like to let it flow. Also, I enjoy good music, and if I can write with a great view outside, even better.
Why do you feel you had to write this book?
I needed to write this book for me. It was my legacy that I wanted to document. It was a culmination of how my business was for 16 years. And recently my business has changed very much, and I wanted to have my story written about the first sixteen years so I would never forget it, and so my kids could look back on it with fond memories as well. My kids have been with me on my business journey and I am very thankful for this.
What genre do you write in? Why do you believe this genre chose you?
Business memoir, because it is what I know best. I hope to write romance one day.
Describe your ideal place of escape to write your books
Any place that is quiet with good music and a view of a city.
What is your favorite thing about starting Invitation Consultants?
I started Invitation Consultants straight out of grad school at 23, so I feel like we grew up together. What I love about it, is that the business has been with me through all of the phases of my adult life, and through the business I can really see how I have grown.
What is your biggest struggle as an entrepreneur and an author?
As an author, my struggle is creating a social media platform, because that is what publishers are looking for. Social media doesn’t always come naturally to me. I try, when I have the time.
As an entrepreneur, my struggle is separating myself as a person and an entrepreneur. It’s part of the work – life balance. It consumes me!
Was it worth it and would you do it over again?
I would do everything all over again, no matter how hard some of the times were. Life is not lived in a bubble, and sometimes it’s messy. Life is about experience so why not live it to its fullest.
Business is about taking chances too, and so yes without a doubt, I wouldn’t trade my experience in for anything.
Are you an early bird or night owl?
Both. I do not sleep that much. But I’m probably more of a night owl.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Stop worrying about everything. 80% of the things get forgotten along the way, so they are insignificant, and the other 20% works itself out for good or bad.
What is one thing you would change about your life?
I would live in or closer to a major city, and we are actually doing that this summer. It’s where I feel most comfortable, amongst people and buildings, and little personal space.
What is your motto for life and career?
Loyalty is essential. Relationships are the building blocks for success. Loyalty and relationships go hand in hand.
What is your favorite quote or scripture?
If you always do what you’ve always done, then you will always get what you’ve always gotten.
About The Book
At age 23, Allison De Meulder started an online business in a time when ecommerce was a relatively unknown term. Sixteen years later, she reflects back on how she grew the business and how the business turned her into an adult.
This book tells Allison’s story. It is not meant to give advice, but rather to inspire women. She wants to show women that they can have a successful business, be a wife and be a mother, all at the same time. Allison has done it all, from hiring her husband to work with her, bringing the kids to the office on holidays instead of brunching with bunnies, to providing jobs and opportunities and inspiring a corporate culture filled with creativity, comradely and lots of sugar, chick flicks and crafting. Allison did it by choosing the right (and wrong) people for her team, making mistakes at every turn, taking risks and being an introvert. It sounds exhausting and it was, but Allison is still standing tall.
*Stay Tune for A&RBC’s review of I Crumpled my Paper Not What? on May 31, 2016.