Sam Wilkerson, a junior interior design major, is the owner of Heart to Hand and an affiliate in the Samford Startup student business incubator program. Starting with handmade cards for loved ones, her business idea has now blossomed into a mission to impact everyone.
What is the story of your company? How did it start?
Heart to Hand started with me making handmade cards for my family/friends during the holidays, birthdays, and/or other special occasions. I have always valued giving a handmade card over a store-bought one. I find it to be more intentional and personal. My family and friends were filled with so much joy each time they received one of these cards that I thought, how can I make more people feel this loved? So, that's when I decided to turn my passion for making personalized cards into a full-on card business. My goal with Heart to Hand is to bring joy into the lives of others by designing the perfect card that will not only bring a smile to their faces but also make them feel loved.
Why did you want to join the Samford Startup program?
I wanted to join this program not only for the resources it offers but also for the people. I love how this program is student-led and focuses on helping each of us take a step forward from where we are now. Every one of us is at a different stage in our business journey so it is nice to get advice from the "seniors" of the group as I am closer to the starting line. This program truly is a community of like-minded individuals from a variety of majors who are all willing to help and learn from each other as we walk together on our entrepreneurial path.
How has the Samford Startup program supported your business?
Samford Startup has offered me a great space for collaboration and brainstorming which I can utilize to help grow my business as well as learn new skills and marketing strategies.
What has been the most challenging part of launching your business? How did you overcome this?
The most challenging part is honestly starting. One of the biggest questions when starting up a business is "Where do I start?" To overcome this I did a lot of research and talked with a bunch of people on how they started their businesses. Through this, I learned that there is no one right way of doing things. It all depends on what your business has to offer, the goals of it, and what makes it unique. Once I sat down and defined the previous, I was better able to locate a starting point and create a clear series of steps to take that would get Heart to Hand up and running.
How has the Samford Startup program helped you grow professionally?
Samford Startup has taught me the importance of making connections and setting yourself up for possible opportunities. I have also learned to be bold and not be scared to ask for help or advice because it's almost impossible to start up a business solely by yourself.
How has the Samford Startup program helped you achieve or exceed your business goals?
Samford Startup has helped me achieve my business goals in its accountability. Each meeting we set a new goal or tiny step we would like to take before the next meeting. This is one of my favorite parts of the program because it helps keep me on track with my business progress, especially amid the chaos of school.
Looking to the future, what do you envision for your business?
With the help of Samford Startup, I hope to incorporate more sustainable practices into my business. When I first started up Heart to Hand, I envisioned it as having a two-fold purpose. The first is to bring joy and love into the lives of others, and the second is to make a positive impact on our environment. As paper products and production are a huge source of waste and pollution, I hope to use more recycled content and materials that can be recycled/reused to make my products zero waste.
How do you see your company having an impact on the Samford and Birmingham communities?
I see Heart to Hand positively impacting the Samford and Birmingham communities by serving as a reminder to celebrate the simple moments in life as both college life and the real world are hectic. It doesn't take much to send a card in the mail, and it doesn't have to be a special occasion to do so. A little "thinking of you" goes a long way and can make a bigger impact than the act itself.
Why would you encourage other student entrepreneurs to also join the program?
I would encourage other student entrepreneurs to join Samford Startup for the community it offers. All of us are college students struggling to balance school, work, and running our business. Being a part of this program serves as a good reminder that we are not the only ones in this position. It is a great way to talk about our business problems in a healthy, relaxing atmosphere that leaves us with great advice.