Monday, May 30, 2016

REVIEW: I Crumpled My Paper

"I have wanted to write a book for a decade, wavering back and forth between a novel and a business book.  Reaching the milestone of being in business for sixteen years had a profound effect on me.  I decided writing a novel is something I can do later on, but now was the time I wanted to tell my business story."

I Crumpled My Paper, Now What?
Tidbits from an Entrepreneur Still in Training
By: Allison De Meulder

Genre: Business, Entrepreneur, Women
Publication date: March 9, 2016
Pages: 113

Recommended by: Worldwind Virtual Book Tours, Read 2 Review
Date read: 5.28.2016

Having started my own business a time or two in my lifetime, I'm always curious how others do it, and the story that goes with it.  Allison De Meulder is the person behind Invitation Consultants and Matrick & Eve, two companies that have really grown since their inception.  When her book came across my desk, I knew that I had to give it a read - How could I not?  This lady is amazing!

Do keep in mind that this is not a how-to book.  It is more a story of how she got to where she is.  You learn about her business acumen and her mindset, and she offers a lot of information on how SHE did it, things that could work in any business.  I especially enjoy her "Note to self" sections that she has throughout the book, showing us that every entrepreneur makes mistakes and learns from them.  

The book is broken down into easily readable sections, with chapter names that make you think, and once you're done with each you realize just how well it was named.  As I read, I felt like I was having a conversation with a good friend, rather than reading her words on paper, and she kept my attention to the very end (something I've found other business books do not do).  I found her words inspiring.

I would definitely recommend this book to any woman who already has a business or who is working to start one.  Some of the things she has learned along the way may help you.  

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, camaraderie 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.

About the author:
Successful entrepreneur, creative genius, passionate leader.  They may seem like buzzwords, but nonetheless they describe Allison De Meulder.  In 1999, she launched, one of the first online retailers of personalized invitations and announcements.  In 1999, she was a true pioneer.  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, stationary, and more.  All of the products are designed, printed and packaged in-house at the Matrick & 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 stationary and gift stores, and is still growing strong.  This spring Matrick & 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 entrepreneur 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 enjoys spending her free time traveling with her family, watching chick flicks, listening to '80s 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.

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