Published on October 24, 2023  
Matthews Mallory

Mallory Matthews, a junior marketing major, is the owner of Mementos by Mallory and a resident in the Samford Startup student business incubator program. She blends art and strategy, crafting vibrant artwork that uplifts others. Mallory has the heart to help support families facing unexpected pregnancies, which has led to her donating 10% of her proceeds to help this cause.

What is the story of your company? How did it start?

From a young age, I have always had a creative and driven mind. I would spend hours drawing, painting, designing, collaging, and bringing to life the many ideas I had in my head. When I was in the 4th grade, I imagined and sketched different businesses that I could own, including jewelry shops, bakeries, art galleries, and clothing stores. Entering college, I never knew how to combine my love for art with my strategic and organizational skills until I stumbled upon an idea from my 4th-grade head: entrepreneurship. Through Mementos by Mallory, my very own small art business, I hope to provide customers with a vibrant piece of artwork that will be a "memento," or reminder, of the many ways you can uplift someone else. That can be carried out specifically through my business, as I donate 10% of proceeds each month towards families facing unexpected or unwanted pregnancies. This is a topic that I am passionate about after hearing a speaker at an event on Samford's campus talk about the need for pregnancy aid in our society, specifically for low-income families. I hope to uplift not only those families through my business but also my customers who get to enjoy my artwork that I pour my heart into.

Why did you want to join the Samford Startup program?

I wanted to join the Samford Startup program because I wanted to be a part of a group of fellow like-minded student entrepreneurs who I could build a relationship with and seek business advice from. I also wanted an outlet to grow my business, as I am extremely passionate about it, and I would love to pursue it full-time.

How has the Samford Startup Program supported your business?

In just the short few weeks since I have had the honor of being a cohort member, the Samford Startup Program has already shaped the way I have seen entrepreneurship. The meetings that we have had have allowed me to hear other student entrepreneurs' perspectives and ideas, which has fed into my own business in a variety of ways. As a resident of the cohort with my own office space, I now have the convenience and ease of operating my business from both my apartment and the Brock School of Business. I also learned a lot from the most recent guest speaker, Wink, who explained his journey with owning a business and how he has been able to thrive. Most importantly, Dr. Mazzei cares about every one of us and wants us and our businesses to succeed. His support is evident in the meetings and communications that he coordinates. I am already beyond grateful for this opportunity that has allowed me to thrive as a student entrepreneur.

What has been the most challenging part of launching your business? How did you overcome this?

The most challenging part of launching my business was getting started. As an ambitious perfectionist, it took me a very long time to take action on my ideas and passions. I wanted everything to be perfect, which made getting started much more difficult than it needed to be. Luckily, my drive allowed me to be able to overcome my need for perfection and control by pushing me to listen to podcasts, get advice, and just get started. I didn't have everything planned out exactly how I wanted but with the advice of others (including Dr. Mazzei!) I was able to push myself to put my business out into the world.

How has the Samford Startup program helped you grow professionally?

The Samford Startup program has helped me to grow professionally through connections opportunities and an abundance of advice. Not only do I have other student entrepreneurs to give me connections, but Dr. Mazzei himself along with the guest speakers he invites to speak to us present many opportunities for meeting people and networking. In addition to connections, the professional entrepreneurial advice from both Dr. Mazzei and the guest speakers gives me insight into the lives and inner workings of iconic entrepreneurial minds who have seen much success with their businesses.

How has the Samford Startup program helped you achieve or exceed your business goals?

The Samford Startup program has helped me achieve my business goals by giving me ideas for my business and pushing me to get out of my comfort zone. The other cohort members give valuable insight into how I can improve my own business, and the advice offered often involves trying new things and putting myself out there.

Looking to the future, what do you envision for your business?

I envision a business that provides textile designs for items like planners, pens, notepads, stationery, cups, mugs, plates, and even clothing that will be distributed in both big and small stores while making a difference in the lives of others. I do not know if I will continue selling handmade paintings, but for now, it is a solid starting point. The purpose behind my business is what drives everything that I do, and I would love to grow my business on a large scale so that the social impact of my business can spread farther and wider than I could ever imagine. I want my designs to be known and loved so that they can uplift customers as well as the families they are helping.

How is your business redemptive in a Christ-like manner?

My business seeks to aid families facing issues surrounding unexpected or unwanted pregnancies. I donate 10% of proceeds each month to non-profits that provide support, relief, and aid to women and men experiencing pregnancy hardships. The controversy with Roe v. Wade has presented a need for lower-income families to receive support for the circumstances that arise with pregnancy, and as a pro-life Christian, I want to stay true to my pro-life mindset and provide for them to raise their babies in a safe and loving environment. I believe that the family unit is the most important aspect of our society, and I want to contribute to aiding the cause in whatever way I can. God has blessed me with an amazing family, so I want to help others achieve the same.

How do you see your company having an impact on the Samford and Birmingham communities?

I see Mementos by Mallory having an impact on Samford by inspiring students to take action on their dreams. I have dreamed of having my own business since I was a little girl, and seeing those dreams come to life is something that I want every person to experience. I also want my business to be an inspiration for other student entrepreneurs, and to act as an example that owning a business while still in school is possible and even profitable. I see my business having an impact on Birmingham communities by providing handmade products that make a difference. I am planning on eventually selling some items in small stores in Birmingham.

Why would you encourage other student entrepreneurs to also join the program?

I would encourage other student entrepreneurs to join the Samford Startup program because it is an opportunity that opens up many doors to other opportunities for entrepreneurship success and growth. Owning a business in college can be hard, and having a cohort of like-minded and passionate individuals to help you through is an extremely valuable asset.

Learn more about Mementos by Mallory:

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.