Growing up, Heather Wiese Alexander was perfectly happy to do what she was told, as long as she understood the reasoning behind it. “I think there was a relentless curiosity that made me want to dive deeper into things like etiquette and formalities. I wasn’t satisfied just knowing about fork and napkin placement, or how to word an invitation,” Wiese Alexander recalls. “Knowing what to do was fine, but it felt empty without knowing why.”
That energy —rectifying the whys with the because I said sos — carried with Wiese Alexander through her school years, then on to her first out-of-college role as an assistant art director with Neiman Marcus. The knowledge her grandmother shared with her about etiquette and meeting expectations came in handy when interacting on behalf of such an established brand. “That’s when I really began studying [etiquette], rather than just knowing what the expectations were,” Wiese Alexander says.
Many in Dallas may know Wiese Alexander from her shop girl days co-owning Nest. The popular gift shop found homes in Snider Plaza and Knox before ending its decade-long run in 2016 to allow time for Wiese Alexander to focus on her other venture: luxe stationery brand Bell’INVITO. Wiese Alexander’s meticulous attention to detail — both in paper craftsmanship and how each product communicated — earned Bell’INVITO the distinction of being one of our city’s most coveted stationers, and solidified Wiese Alexander a bit of a modern etiquette expert (she prefers the term “ambassador”). The Dallas entrepreneur has offered her thoughtful insight in the pages of Town & Country, D Magazine, and Brides.
But beyond the realm of the luxury stationery world, Wiese Alexander also recognized first-hand the impact proper etiquette — a word she knows can sound deeply antiquated — can have for anyone. Knowing you’re armed with the right moves when walking into any situation builds confidence, which can lead to opportunity. “That’s where the real power lies,” Wiese Alexander says. “This whole thing is, well, it’s way more than paper.”
Which is why we’re lucky to have her expertise (if she’ll allow us to call it that) at PaperCity Magazine, where Wiese Alexander will be offering her insight for our contemporary world in a new column: “Social in Security.” Think of her as a modern-day Emily Post, who published her bestselling book almost exactly one century ago. “The point of etiquette wasn’t to create a rule book. It was to give people standards so that everybody could kind of level the playing field,” Wiese Alexander notes. “In a way, it was a brave move for Emily Post to do that, which I love.”