Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi! I’m Olivia and I’m the owner and letterer behind Atiliay. I was born and raised in Southern California and currently live in Irvine with my 2 dogs and 3 kitties. I have always loved drawing and making things, ever since I was a little kid! As I got older, I wanted to incorporate giving back into my life and combine it with my love for creating which is how Atiliay came to be. When I’m not working, I love hanging out with my pets, eating yummy vegan food, and catching up on my Netflix shows!
What exactly is Atiliay?
Atiliay is a paper goods company specializing in hand lettered greeting cards for a cause.
What inspired you to start Atiliay?
It actually started a little bit by accident! I had just started to sponsor The Ebongalethu Educare Center Preschool & Nursery through Food4Africa (they are a non-profit I met when I went on a TOMS Shoe Drop in South Africa in 2007) and had been thinking of ways to get others involved in supporting. The next major holiday that was coming up at the time was Valentine’s Day so I thought, if people are already going to buy cards, maybe I can tie the cause into that so I can raise some meals for the preschool. I created a few designs from stamps that I hand carved and offered to hand address envelopes and mail cards directly to the recipients for $5. All the proceeds would be donated to the preschool. I emailed everybody I knew, posted on social media, reached out to some media outlets, and by the end of my Valentine’s Day Cards For A Cause fundraiser, I was able to provide the preschool with meals for over a year! It was really awesome to see everyone coming together and doing some good together! After that, I decided I wanted to continue to make cards and try to support other non-profits in addition to the preschool with them.
What is the mission behind Atiliay?
Atiliay’s mission is to help each of our customers send love to the special people in their lives as well as spread love to those in need around the world. Atiliay hopes to make a lasting and meaningful impact through creativity and compassion.
Your cards are for a cause, can you tell us about that?
Every item in my shop is paired with one of the 4 non-profits I support: Food4Africa/The EEC Preschool & Nursery, Chilis On Wheels, Kiva, and Animal Place. With every purchase, a portion of proceeds is donated to the cause that item is paired up with. Valentine’s Day and all occasion cards support The EEC by providing meals for the preschool, Fall/Thanksgiving/Holiday cards support Chilis On Wheels and help them provide vegan-friendly meals to those in need across the US, Mother’s Day & Father’s Day cards help provide Kiva microloans to mom and dad entrepreneurs around the world, and Easter cards support Animal Place, a sanctuary for rescued farmed animals. I try to match each card with the non-profit that best fits the sentiments of the card.
Where are your products sold? Are they sold in stores?
I sell my products online in my Etsy shop, at pop-up shops and craft fairs, and select stores here in the US and a boutique in Hong Kong!
Is there a favorite product that everyone loves?
The Galentine’s Day cards are a big hit as well as the “Best Dog/Cat Mom” and “Best Dog/Cat Dad” cards (which are my personal favorite). The “I am Truly Grateful Card” has also been a customer favorite for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
How do you spread the word about your company?
I started with emailing all my friends, family, and contacts—don’t be afraid to share what you are doing! I know it feels awkward sometimes, but most likely they people are curious and want to know what you are up to! I also use social media, primarily Instagram and Pinterest. I’ve also been lucky enough to be featured on different platforms and blogs (having great pictures was really the key to how others were able to find me in this situation). I’ve also gone out into the community to share my work through local craft shows and pop ups. It’s a great way to connect face to face.
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?
Dive in! Do be organized and do your research but don’t let all the what ifs or unknowns keep you from getting started.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help—but when you do, remember to be polite and courteous and show your appreciation for someone taking the time to help you. You’re more likely to cultivate a relationship this way and receive additional help in the future if you need it.
- Do product testing before launching and know who your customer is. It is SO helpful to receive feedback from your target customers and to know who they are. It’s also a good way to see if your product will sell and what adjustments you may need to make.
- Start an email list ASAP! Even before you have your website or product ready, have an email sign up page available for potential customers so you have a way to reach out to them when you are ready to sell (put a sign up form on your website landing page, in your Instagram profile, etc). Find a way to add value to each subscriber’s life through your newsletter whether it’s free PDFs, tips, coupons, etc. It’s also a good incentive for people to sign up! I use MailChimp and would recommend it for your basic newsletter needs.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying?
My favorite quotes are: “We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated by purpose.” – Unknown “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”- Winston Churchill