How She Launched It: Allyson Morehead, Founder of Sweet Potato Paper
Allyson Morehead’s entrepreneurial journey began in 2003, when she unexpectedly became the belle of the ball. While serving as a board member for her local Urban League chapter, Morehead was tasked with coordinating the guest list and invitations for the organization’s annual gala. But when she discovered that funds for the event had already been allocated to other line items, rendering her unable to hire a graphic designer, she ended up creating the invitations herself.
Over the next few years, she would occasionally dabble in creating customized pieces for friends and family members, but it wasn’t until December 2010, during the holiday season, that she started seriously thinking about how to turn her hobby into a lucrative business.
“I’ve always been the hostess/event planner of the group, and when I would research invitations for people of color, I found the offerings were all the same, with outdated images or stereotypical expressions,” said Morehead. “And it wasn’t until I started getting repeat requests to create one-of-a-kind stationery that the light finally went off for me that this might actually work.”
It was this series of events that led Allyson to officially launch Sweet Potato Paper, a line of customized multicultural invitations for weddings, bridal showers, baptisms, parties and more this past summer.
“I wanted to create invitations that celebrated one’s culture—not image—and that were modern and unique in style,” said Morehead.
To that effect, Sweet Potato Paper gives clients the ability to create personalized packages based on the traits, trends, and experiences celebrated in their own backyard—such as hairstyles, skin tones and expressions.
Although the company, run from Morehead’s Upper Marlboro, MD home, with a satellite office in D.C. is still in its infancy, they’ve enjoyed a steadily increasing amount of sales success since the launch.
Allyson recently sat down with Madame Noire to talk about what it’s like to enter an established market, how she’s juggling a full-time job and a side-venture and what’s next for Sweet Potato Paper.