Alumni Spotlight: Q&A with Alli Truttmann '06

September 28, 2018


Bellarmine University's Alumni Association is launching a monthly alumni Q&A feature, catching up with Bellarmine graduates about interesting things happening in their lives.

This month's alumni spotlight features a conversation with Alli Truttmann '06, an entrepreneur and adjunct professor who recently had her product featured on QVC, a televised home shopping network. Watch her QVC appearance.

truttman-portraitTruttmann is founder, president and CEO of Wicked Sheets, a 10-year-old business that provides comfort sleep solutions for people suffering from night sweats and hot flashes. She's also an adjunct psychology professor at Bellarmine and a member the Alumni Association's board.

Bellarmine: So... QVC. What was that day like for you?
Alli Truttmann: The whole process leading up to the "day of" was quite stressful and intimidating, so when I actually arrived on set to do our live airing it was a breeze compared to the 14 months prior.

Of course I had the expected nervousness and I couldn't sit down the entire morning. Not only was I afraid I was going to wrinkle, I just kept moving to walk off the nerves. And chewed at least five pieces of gum!

I just kept telling myself, "you've done this 'pitch' for the past 10 years, and today is no different."

BU: Was anything way different than your expectations?
The only thing that was different was how long I waited to go on once I arrived. You aren't given a time slot until you arrive at the studio, so I showed up at 9 a.m. for hair and makeup, but didn't end up going on air until 1:36 p.m. Also, I've equated it to a night in Vegas. They must pump oxygen through their vents because you don't know if it's day or night and the energy level is through the roof! 

BU: What did you do to prepare yourself for that unique opportunity to promote your product? 
Alli: The whole process took about 14 months so I had plenty of time to prepare. Not only did we move our manufacturing overseas during that time, but we changed our entire product. QVC works very hard to provide top quality products for their customers so the quality assurance process is very stringent. I've told everyone that our product, and thus, our business has improved since being featured.

With all of our corporate changes, there wasn't much time for me to diet and exercise like I had hoped for my big debut. Good thing they like their female hosts to wear sleeves!

BU: How has the response been since your appearance?
Alli: The response has been amazing! We were listed as a "Best Seller" and "Top Rated Product" on QVC shortly after we aired because of the sales and the positive reviews.

We haven't done much locally to support the airings because we wanted to see how their existing audience would respond. Next time, however, we're going to shout it from the rooftops so that we can get everyone we know sleeping wicked. 

BU: Did your Bellarmine students have any reaction to your time in the spotlight?
Alli: My airing occurred during Summer break, but this next one is during the semester and the kids all promised to have a watch party in the dorms!

For that first airing in June, my entrepreneur buds, friends, and family hosted six watch parties, however, so we made a cute little video clip of them all to say "Thanks!"

BU: Were there any lessons from your time as an undergrad that you were able to apply to this experience?
Alli: I wish I was able to pinpoint a specific example, but my undergraduate experience was like this crazy culmination of me becoming an adult. So I'd say my entire collegiate experience prepared me for this -- and every other -- event in my life!

That, and there was this one time that I was asked to "pitch" my idea for a new soccer stadium to the Board of Trustees when I was a junior. Scott [Wiegandt, Bellarmine's athletics director] said, "Trutt, you can't cuss or spit in this boardroom, so clean it up and go fight for your stadium." I guess that relates now more than ever, because there is definitely no cussing on QVC! Investor pitches on the other hand, now that's a different story. 

BU: What's next for you and Wicked Sheets?
The plan is -- and always has been -- to grow the business organically with a blend of recurring wholesale orders, as well as continue working directly with our customers. Our customer has always been the focal point of our new product development, so it's important for me to keep an open line of communication with them and keep building products that meet their needs.

We've launched both a baby line, Wicked Little Sleepers, and a breathable mattress, Wicked-Cool Sleep, over the past two years and will be releasing another new product this year. Big things ahead!

BU: Why did you choose Bellarmine?
Alli: I was very fortunate to receive both a soccer and an academic scholarship. After visiting a few Division I schools where I would be "first off the bench" and have other students take notes for me while I was traveling, my parents and I decided that Bellarmine was the best fit. I could be both a full-time athlete and a full-time student, all while being only four hours from home. Then we visited our beautiful campus and it was a done deal! 

BU: What’s your advice to your fellow alumni for how to stay connected to the Bellarmine community after you graduate?
Alli: I was very active in all things Bellarmine while I was on campus, so that mentality just stayed with me when I graduated. Thankfully, the Alumni Association hosts a slew of events that always interest me. I loved attending the Day of Service and the Brew at BU festival, and I've tried to offer mentorship as much as my schedule allows.

Being back on campus, regardless of the event, always brings me back to the memories we created while we were students. And for that, I'm forever grateful!

BU: Describe your Bellarmine experience in five words.
Community. Compassion. Creativity. Shenanigan's (Proper Noun). Shenanigans (Noun). 


All News Stories