If you're here, chances are good that somewhere along your entrepreneurial journey you've been overwhelmed, exhausted or frustrated. Hell, you might have been all three. And you've probably flown by the seat of your pants for much of that time, crossing your fingers that you're making the right decisions to grow your passion-fueled business into a sustainable brand. I've been there myself.
I know that building a business isn't for the meek. It takes courage, ambition, and tenacity… And I'm willing to bet that you have each of those in spades. But it also takes patience, wisdom, and strategy. While those assets aren't as intuitive or accessible for many creatives, they're the essential building blocks for both short-term and long-term success.

My name is Lela Barker, and I foster emerging creative brands by infusing their passion with the experience, critical thinking, and strategic tools needed to evolve the passion into a sustainable business. I work with makers and product designers on the move: jewelers, stationers, ceramicists, apparel and accessory designers, apothecary brands and some of the best damn gourmet food companies on the planet.

I founded my first company, an apothecary brand named Bella Lucce, more than a decade ago. I concede that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing at the time! None. I made some intensely painful mistakes along the way: the kind that set my confidence back a few steps, the kind with zeros on the end and the kind whose ripples I felt for years afterward.

I also enjoyed a degree of success that I could never have imagined when I founded the company as a single mama of two toddlers. The kind that's reflected in a well-worn passport, the freedom to design your future and the confidence of knowing that you can achieve absolutely anything you put your mind to.

I launched Lucky Break to support my friends, colleagues, and the maker community. It's my way of investing in this community and sharing all the hard-won lessons learned during my journey. Collectively we're doing some revolutionary work: reinventing manufacturing with an artisanal, small batch approach; democratizing retail and creating innovative customer experiences fueled by authentic stories.
Today's makers and creative entrepreneurs are offering so much more than a product- we're sharing soul and passion and purpose, neatly delivered via meaningful products designed (and often created) with our own hands. But many of us are walking the entrepreneurial path alone, spinning our wheels, burning ourselves out and missing key opportunities.

Lucky Break is the embodiment of everything I wish I had known when I founded my first company. It's an opportunity to avoid the pitfalls, frustrations and resource drains that too often ambush the journey. It's a chance to get things right the first time or reinvent what's not working and build a brand with strong architecture at its core and a gorgeous vision to share with the world. I created these products and services because I'm intimately familiar with the kind of work you do, and I know how to make that work more efficient, less painful and heaps more rewarding.

I want you to strut into your next pitch (whether it be to an editor, to a buyer or a vendor) feeling confident, empowered and prepared. I want you to know the answers to their questions before they even ask. I want you to be able to communicate your passion so elegantly that it makes them weak in the knees. I want you to sell more and sleep better at night.

I invite you to put on a pot of tea or pour yourself a glass of wine (Malbec for me, please) and make yourself at home. It's my wish that Lucky Break nourishes both your intellect and your heart, empowering you to put more beauty out into the world while creating a life you love. I'll be cheering you on every step of the way...


MY ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY







1976
Born in East Tennessee to recovering hippies. Round glasses, LSD, ashrams and all.
1990
Met my high school sweetheart (and future husband), Christopher. Lasted six whole days at my first job as a Sonic car hop. Survived a horrific prom dress + orange hair.
1994
Scored a full scholarship to study criminology + sociology at university. Spent a disproportionate amount of time dancing in night clubs while channeling Susan Powter.
1998
Becoming a mom proved to be the most transformative experience of my adult life. Chloe changed everything + all for the better. Kicked cancer’s ass. Three years later, Celie made her debut. Mastered the art of reading seven successive bedtime stories with enthusiasm.
2002
Rejected for a job as a waitress at Calhoun’s Steak House in Knoxville, TN. Let that sink in for a minute… Decided that I’ll make my own opportunity. Began parlaying my knack for making soaps + skin care into plans for a small business. (PS: I hope the manager at Calhoun’s is reading this… hi).
2004
My tiny house was bursting at the seams with production, so I slowly moved most of my furniture into Mom’s basement. By the time I remarried that high school sweetheart of mine, both kids + the dog were sleeping in my bed. Relocated to SC, where Chris had been living while making weekly 8-hour commutes to visit me in Knoxville.
2006
Took Mom along on my first trip abroad to attend a trade show with our newly-minted Arabian distributor. Appeared on Shop At Home television, setting a new sales record for a beauty company debut. Oh, also: sued for a million dollars by a reality TV star who laid claim to my trademark. Long story, best told over cocktails. Short version: I won.
2008
First trip to DC as a small business advocate, lobbying for legislative protection of independent businesses. Walked away from a million-dollar investment deal because it didn’t feel right in my gut. I often slept on an air mattress in my office. Obviously still working through that whole “work/life balance” gig.
2010
Launched a nonprofit to provide educational opportunities to rural schoolchildren in Morocco. Traveled to Ghana + Mali to teach entrepreneurship skills to local women. Expanded the Bella Lucce workshop to encompass 7500 square feet, just 3 miles from my home.
2012
Launched Lucky Break Consulting to continue challenging myself + support my community of creative entrepreneurs. Discovered that my true passion isn’t making lotion or cutting international business deals- it’s teaching. Who knew?
 
1982
First learned to hustle thanks to my Brownie troop. Slingin’ Thin Mints like a boss!
1992
Spent weekends competing as a nationally ranked extemporaneous speaker. Hosted my own cable access show. Printed my first business cards + defied the laws of gravity with my feathered bangs.
1997
Came down pregnant + decided to marry (in that order). A cancer diagnosis five months into the pregnancy forced me to drop out of college + spend months on bedrest while making a run for the gestational weight gain world record. Cried daily. Not my favorite year.
2001
Realizing that I couldn’t fix my husband, I moved across the state into my parent’s basement. Choked down humble pie + sobbed to a government caseworker, who signed me up for food stamps. For the record: this is what “rock bottom” feels like.
2003
Launched Bella Lucce with my last $500 in hopes of making money while I looked for a “real job.” The website went live in September + I cleared $6,000 by year’s end. Took business calls in my bathroom while hiding from my toddlers.
2005
Moved Bella Lucce into a tiny kitchen that formerly hosted a bakery. The kids spent afternoons riding bikes inside the workshop. Nine months later, we were growing so rapidly that there wasn’t any room left for riding. Cue larger facility.
2007
Bella Lucce surpassed $1 million in sales with zero marketing budget + zero sales reps. (Whaaat? I know!) Decided to jump out of a perfectly good airplane to overcome my fear of heights. Discovered that I’m still terrified of heights, but I love hurling myself out of planes.
2009
Thirteenth trip to Dubai to support our international distributor. Burnt out on luxury hotels + superficial opulence, I detoxed by dancing barefoot in the streets of Morocco at a world music festival. Fell hopelessly in love with the whole of the country.
2011
Bella Lucce surpassed 1,000 wholesale stockists + 10,000 wholesale orders. Tired + overwhelmed, I sent myself on retreat in Thailand. Commence journaling on the beach, laying prostrate in temples + deep thinking about my next move.
2013
Adopted 2 boys from Uganda without first asking my husband (that’s another great story). Realized that hustling must be in the genes when Chloe was appointed CEO of her school store. She spent summers in Asia + Africa logging hundreds of hours of service work while Celie lived on a sailboat in the Virgin Islands, logging hundreds of hours of cliff-jumping + scuba-diving. It’s a rough life.
I know that building a business isn't for the meek. It takes courage, ambition, and tenacity… And I'm willing to bet that you have each of those in spades. But it also takes patience, wisdom, and strategy. While those assets aren't as intuitive or accessible for many creatives, they're the essential building blocks for both short-term and long-term success.

My name is Lela Barker, and I foster emerging creative brands by infusing their passion with the experience, critical thinking, and strategic tools needed to evolve the passion into a sustainable business. I work with makers and product designers on the move: jewelers, stationers, ceramicists, apparel and accessory designers, apothecary brands and some of the best damn gourmet food companies on the planet.

I founded my first company, an apothecary brand named Bella Lucce, more than a decade ago. I concede that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing at the time! None. I made some intensely painful mistakes along the way: the kind that set my confidence back a few steps, the kind with zeros on the end and the kind whose ripples I felt for years afterward.

I also enjoyed a degree of success that I could never have imagined when I founded the company as a single mama of two toddlers. The kind that's reflected in a well-worn passport, the freedom to design your future and the confidence of knowing that you can achieve absolutely anything you put your mind to.

I launched Lucky Break to support my friends, colleagues, and the maker community. It's my way of investing in this community and sharing all the hard-won lessons learned during my journey. Collectively we're doing some revolutionary work: reinventing manufacturing with an artisanal, small batch approach; democratizing retail and creating innovative customer experiences fueled by authentic stories. Today's makers and creative entrepreneurs are offering so much more than a product- we're sharing soul and passion and purpose, neatly delivered via meaningful products designed (and often created) with our own hands. But many of us are walking the entrepreneurial path alone, spinning our wheels, burning ourselves out and missing key opportunities.

Lucky Break is the embodiment of everything I wish I had known when I founded my first company. It's an opportunity to avoid the pitfalls, frustrations and resource drains that too often ambush the journey. It's a chance to get things right the first time or reinvent what's not working and build a brand with strong architecture at its core and a gorgeous vision to share with the world. I created these products and services because I'm intimately familiar with the kind of work you do, and I know how to make that work more efficient, less painful and heaps more rewarding.

I want you to strut into your next pitch (whether it be to an editor, to a buyer or a vendor) feeling confident, empowered and prepared. I want you to know the answers to their questions before they even ask. I want you to be able to communicate your passion so elegantly that it makes them weak in the knees. I want you to sell more and sleep better at night.

I invite you to put on a pot of tea or pour yourself a glass of wine (Malbec for me, please) and make yourself at home. It's my wish that Lucky Break nourishes both your intellect and your heart, empowering you to put more beauty out into the world while creating a life you love. I'll be cheering you on every step of the way...

MY ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY

1976
Born in East Tennessee to recovering hippies. Round glasses, LSD, ashrams and all.
1982
First learned to hustle thanks to my Brownie troop. Slingin’ Thin Mints like a boss!
1990
Met my high school sweetheart (and future husband), Christopher. Lasted six whole days at my first job as a Sonic car hop. Survived a horrific prom dress + orange hair.
1992
Spent weekends competing as a nationally ranked extemporaneous speaker. Hosted my own cable access show. Printed my first business cards + defied the laws of gravity with my feathered bangs.
1994
Scored a full scholarship to study criminology + sociology at university. Spent a disproportionate amount of time dancing in night clubs while channeling Susan Powter.
1997
Came down pregnant + decided to marry (in that order). A cancer diagnosis five months into the pregnancy forced me to drop out of college + spend months on bedrest while making a run for the gestational weight gain world record. Cried daily. Not my favorite year.
1998
Becoming a mom proved to be the most transformative experience of my adult life. Chloe changed everything + all for the better. Kicked cancer’s ass. Three years later, Celie made her debut. Mastered the art of reading seven successive bedtime stories with enthusiasm.
2001
Realizing that I couldn’t fix my husband, I moved across the state into my parent’s basement. Choked down humble pie + sobbed to a government caseworker, who signed me up for food stamps. For the record: this is what “rock bottom” feels like.
2002
Rejected for a job as a waitress at Calhoun’s Steak House in Knoxville, TN. Let that sink in for a minute… Decided that I’ll make my own opportunity. Began parlaying my knack for making soaps + skin care into plans for a small business. (PS: I hope the manager at Calhoun’s is reading this… hi).
2003
Launched Bella Lucce with my last $500 in hopes of making money while I looked for a “real job.” The website went live in September + I cleared $6,000 by year’s end. Took business calls in my bathroom while hiding from my toddlers.
2004
My tiny house was bursting at the seams with production, so I slowly moved most of my furniture into Mom’s basement. By the time I remarried that high school sweetheart of mine, both kids + the dog were sleeping in my bed. Relocated to SC, where Chris had been living while making weekly 8-hour commutes to visit me in Knoxville.
2005
Moved Bella Lucce into a tiny kitchen that formerly hosted a bakery. The kids spent afternoons riding bikes inside the workshop. Nine months later, we were growing so rapidly that there wasn’t any room left for riding. Cue larger facility.
2006
Took Mom along on my first trip abroad to attend a trade show with our newly-minted Arabian distributor. Appeared on Shop At Home television, setting a new sales record for a beauty company debut. Oh, also: sued for a million dollars by a reality TV star who laid claim to my trademark. Long story, best told over cocktails. Short version: I won.
2007
Bella Lucce surpassed $1 million in sales with zero marketing budget + zero sales reps. (Whaaat? I know!) Decided to jump out of a perfectly good airplane to overcome my fear of heights. Discovered that I’m still terrified of heights, but I love hurling myself out of planes.
2008
First trip to DC as a small business advocate, lobbying for legislative protection of independent businesses. Walked away from a million-dollar investment deal because it didn’t feel right in my gut. I often slept on an air mattress in my office. Obviously still working through that whole “work/life balance” gig.
2009
Thirteenth trip to Dubai to support our international distributor. Burnt out on luxury hotels + superficial opulence, I detoxed by dancing barefoot in the streets of Morocco at a world music festival. Fell hopelessly in love with the whole of the country.
2010
Launched a nonprofit to provide educational opportunities to rural schoolchildren in Morocco. Traveled to Ghana + Mali to teach entrepreneurship skills to local women. Expanded the Bella Lucce workshop to encompass 7500 square feet, just 3 miles from my home.
2011
Bella Lucce surpassed 1,000 wholesale stockists + 10,000 wholesale orders. Tired + overwhelmed, I sent myself on retreat in Thailand. Commence journaling on the beach, laying prostrate in temples + deep thinking about my next move.
2012
Launched Lucky Break Consulting to continue challenging myself + support my community of creative entrepreneurs. Discovered that my true passion isn’t making lotion or cutting international business deals- it’s teaching. Who knew?
2013
Adopted 2 boys from Uganda without first asking my husband (that’s another great story). Realized that hustling must be in the genes when Chloe was appointed CEO of her school store. She spent summers in Asia + Africa logging hundreds of hours of service work while Celie lived on a sailboat in the Virgin Islands, logging hundreds of hours of cliff-jumping + scuba-diving. It’s a rough life.