By Trevor Anderson
Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
In the greeting card business, “divine inspiration” usually defines the succinct, well-written phrases printed over pictures of nature.
For local entrepreneur Mary-Grace Wallace, it’s a concept that permeates every aspect of her new philanthropic stationery venture WritefullyHis LLC.
On Sept. 12, the recent Wofford College graduate celebrated the official launch of her business with a shindig at Hub-Bub’s Showroom in downtown Spartanburg.
Wallace, 22, treated her guests, which included local and national business leaders, to a look at the full scope of the company’s foundation, mission and products.
The colorful array of delicate paper products represented the means by which Wallace will help children in Uganda and other impoverished areas of Africa to get something that could drastically improve their lives—an education.
“I had no idea where this was going to go,” Wallace said. “I just felt God leading me… He gave me this company to be a steward of, and I’m putting everything in His hands.”
Wallace was sipping coffee in a café in the south of France three years ago when she scripted out the plan for WritefullyHis.
She had just been inspired by a story from Twesigye Jackson Kaguri where the Ugandan author told of his father having to break up one No. 2 pencil between himself and his four siblings so they could go to school.
“One-fifth of a pencil. That’s all that stands in the way of children affording school,” Wallace said. “I thought there had to be something I could do. That’s what formed my mission: one child, one pencil, one notebook at a time.”
Last September, the Spartanburg native launched the company from Wofford’s Mungo Center for Professional Excellence while finishing up her studies, which included a major in humanities and a minor in business.
About 20 percent of the proceeds from her sales go to the faith-based nonprofit Xchange International. The organization uses the money to purchase the charitable products in Africa to benefit communities in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.
“It’s a very sustainable system,” Wallace said.
The owner spent three weeks visiting Uganda this summer to meet some of the students that will benefit from her contributions. It was there Wallace met local artists Angelo Edrine Wasike and Jaffer Buyinza of the Jinja Art Studio. The artists agreed to produce a line of handcrafted cards inspired by Africa.
Wallace has begun the push to get her products into more retail stores and has even discussed placement with Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
She has formed an advisory board that includes former Spartanburg Mayor Bill Barnet, Wofford benefactor Mike Brown, Scott Cochran, dean of Wofford’s Mungo Center, Steve Hahn, head of entrepreneurial services for the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Chapman Cultural Center President Jennifer Evins.
Wallace’s current headquarters is in the digital health accelerator The Iron Yard LLC’s CoWork space at 151 S. Daniel Morgan Ave.
“She’s always learning, always thinking about what things could be and never accepting the way things are,” said Jeremy Boeh, director of The Space at The Mungo Center. “Grace is so open to new ideas… She’s a pillar of what can happen if you utilize all of the resources available to you and the embodiment of what can happen when you put your mind to something.”
(Reprinted with permission)