Not everyone can take an embarrassing condition and turn it into a great business idea. Meet Alli Truttmann, who used her night sweats to develop Wicked Sheets, bedding that wicks sweat away from your body like your favorite exercise clothes.
What do you do for a living?
I am president and founder of a luxury, medical bedding company called Wicked Sheets. I am also an adjunct professor of psychology at Bellarmine University in Louisville.
Tell us about how you formed the idea for your business.
After ending my collegiate soccer career, I was still sweating — a lot. I went to the doctor and found out that I have an excessive sweating condition (for no medical reason) called idiopathic hyperhidrosis. Soon thereafter I found out that a lot of the members of my family suffer from this, as well. While discussing night sweats with my pregnant cousin at my family Easter brunch in 2008, I jokingly suggested that we should cut up her husband’s Nike Dry Fit golf shirts and sew them into bedsheets. The light bulb went on. After a few laughs and head scratches from the family, I decided that I wanted to give it a try. A few weeks later I had my first set of Wicked Sheets, and I still sleep on that same set six years later.
You are a child psychologist. Do you plan on going back to that?
I use psychology every day in my business, so I feel confident that I’m using my degree. But through my experience working with children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders, I realized that there’s a major family disconnect. The divorce rate is 80 percent in families with children with special needs, in part because of the stress, but also because of the deindividuation that occurs when one spouse becomes “the breadwinner” and the other “the stay-at-home parent.” I’d like to provide jobs for these stay-at-home parents in our fulfillment center, where they can also bring their kiddos so they don’t have to pay extra for child care. That is a very important goal that I would like for Wicked Sheets to meet.
Who would most benefit from Wicked Sheets?
Our company motto is: “We want everyone ‘behind the seams’ to benefit from Wicked Sheets. Whether you’re sleeping under them or helping to sew them, we hope that everyone feels good getting wicked.” Our ideal customer, however, is someone suffering from night sweats or an uncomfortably warm sleeping environment. Wicked Sheets wick away moisture from the body, keeping both you and your bed cool and dry while you sleep.
What is your advice for entrepreneurs just starting with their ideas?
Contrary to most other entrepreneurial advice I’ve heard, I’d say to take calculated risks. Don’t move too fast because that can lead to making expensive mistakes. When you’re starting a business, we all know that cash is king.
Also, ask a lot of questions, and don’t be afraid to tell people when you don’t know something.
What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?
Always have a signed contract in place.
Who is your mentor?
I’m fortunate to say that I’ve had, and have, many mentors. I’ve realized that knowing someone in each facet of the business is crucial to your company’s success (i.e., if you need financial advice, find someone who understands finance).
What is best business advice you have received?
“I can’t tell you what to do next because that’s part of the process. You have to learn how to wear every hat in your business.”
If you were not in your current job, what would you love to do?
Teach a joint kid’s fitness and psychology outdoor learning class.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I played the organ in church from fourth grade through eighth grade at my grade school.
What is your favorite place to eat?
It’s impossible to pick just one, but I’ve never had a bad meal at The Silver Dollar.
Where do you like to shop?
Boutiques or sporting goods stores.
What is a treat or a luxury you do for yourself?
Clean. Scary, but true. I love that the only thing I can really control is the cleanliness of my house!
What is your weakness?
Being too trusting.
What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
I love to be outside when our pollen count isn’t too high. We have the best parks, restaurants and people, so I love being out and participating in all of Louisville’s finest.
What are three things you cannot live without, besides faith, family and friends?
Contact lenses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and sunshine.
What are you reading?
I always have three to five books going at the same time, as I’m a “mood reader.” So currently, Taking People with You by David Novak, In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson and The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.
What are three of your favorite things right now?
Gardening, jigsaw puzzles and cold pressed coffee.
What a pleasure to meet Alli Truttmann and to experience the Wicked Sheets firsthand. It is always inspirational to meet a young, female entrepreneur who has such a positive attitude. Best of luck to you and Wicked Sheets. To learn more about her product, click here: wickedsheets.com
As always, much gratitude to my FACES photographer Adele Reding and her fantastic work. See her profile here: www.facebook.com
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