February 20, 2017 • Sam Ujvary
Emerging Gift Industry Leader Award
Making the courageous decision to enter the world of the gift industry is no easy feat. Your only goal is to get through the trials and tribulations in order to succeed with a product in which you believe in an industry in which you love. You may spend years pouring blood, sweat and tears into your company, or you may have an overnight sensation that allows you to seamlessly break into the market. Either way, we here at Gift Shop recognize your efforts, and we feel they deserve the utmost appreciation. For under-40 entrepreneurs, we’ve constructed what we find to be a superb way to pay homage to each of the nominee’s hard work: The Emerging Gift Industry Leader Award.
This year, we had some amazing nominees. From those who design diverse heartfelt notecards to the ones who create endearing monsters out of mismatched socks, there was no shortage of wonderful leaders to choose from. There was, however, one that stood out above all.
When it came to the nomination for Mary Grace Moyd, “Grace” for WritefullyHis, the initial draw was co-worker Connor Felder’s reason. “I am nominating Grace because she never fails to make the world a better place through her style, passion and creativity that she constantly brings forth to everyone she meets and pours into her company.”
Moyd is the founder, designer, manager and owner of WritefullyHis and wears a lot of hats. She personally handles all designs of greeting cards or social stationery lines; she works first-hand with all of the brides to design their wedding suites; she runs the WritefullyHis foundation that gives back 20 percent of proceeds to schools in East Africa; and she handles the day-to-day business necessities that keep the company running smoothly.
“Grace never ceases to amaze as she continuously searches for ways to grow both as an individual and her company while she simultaneously brings good to the world,” added Felder. “She genuinely believes that the world is good and that there are limitless opportunities to help and make it better. It is people like her that keep shining their light and give the rest of the world faith.”
Moyd explains her company’s concept as a lifestyle brand with high-end stationery, greeting cards and wedding invitations. But more than that, with every purchase, 20 percent of the proceeds go back to purchasing paper and pencils for school children in East Africa. The paper and pencils are purchased locally from the village markets in order to make it more sustainable for the community. “We have partnerships with local schools in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda,” said Moyd. “WritefullyHis is not looking to change a continent, a country, a town or even a village. Instead, we want to provide the resources to allow African students to do that.”
So, how did all this get started? “Travel back with me two-and-a-half years ago,” said Moyd. The setting: Aix-en-Provence in Southern France. Moyd spent a lot of time reading, specifically remembering “Start Something That Matters” by Blake Mycloskie, TOMS founder and one-for-one movement guru; and “The Price of Stones: Building a School for My Village” by Twesigye Jackson Kagure. In Kagure’s book, he discussed being one of five children in a place where No. 2 pencils were both expensive and required — used or unused — to attend school. His father purchased one pencil and broke it into five pieces, launching his children into an education with one profound act.
From there, Moyd knew her calling and how she could make a difference. The WritefullyHis Foundation was launched in 2014. Through partnerships with nonprofits, it supports the empowerment of students in East Africa by providing access to paper and pencil. Bonus: it aims to fuel the growth and expansion of the handwritten note across the younger generation by connecting with and providing stationery to classrooms that otherwise would not have access.
This past summer, the foundation launched the One for Haiti campaign. For $600, the WritefullyHis Foundation was able to purchase all writing supplies needed for every student at two schools in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, for the entire school year.
Rightfully so, WritefullyHis has been awarded this honor because of how Moyd does what she does. “I love what I do because I get to see how $5 can change a student’s life in East Africa, and how $1 can change a student’s life in Haiti,” she said. “I founded WritefullyHis because I wanted to figure out a way to give back. Never in a million years did I think it would look like this or continue doubling every year we were in business, but it did so we got to keep giving and we got to keep giving in big ways.”
Kudos to 2016’s winner, WritefullyHis, and to all worthy nominees for this year’s Emerging Gift Industry Leader award.