TREAT YO’ SELF: Recommendations from Team Lucky Break

Lucky Break - Treat Yo Self

Lucky Break - Treat Yo Self

 

Anyone else shimmy through the holiday season with the motto of “One for you, two for me?”

 

Just me? Oh.

 

Well, I *am* a firm advocate of treating yourself, too. There’s no denying that the fourth quarter is a special kind of hectic for entrepreneurs. In addition to treating yourself to nights of quality sleep, hot baths, and some solid nutrition, Team Lucky Break votes that you treat yourself to some tools to make your 2018 a wee bit easier, too. I asked the team to pull together a few of our favorite recommendations for your personal holiday wish list and I love what they came back with. Fire up your Amex and treat yo’ self!

 

 

Lucky Break - Treat Yo Self

 

Melissa is Lucky Break’s Operations Manager. She lives in Windsor Locks, CT and is a mama to the cutest two-year-old on the planet (If you also have a two-year-old, then my apologies. But have you seen Ryan?). When she’s not managing all of our projects and working to keep me on track, she’s building a paper empire over at Print Therapy.

 

Meet Melissa’s entrepreneurial BFF’s…

 

1. Hatch Notebook: It’s a notebook to jot down, flesh out, and turn ideas into products. Find it here.

 

2. Self Journal: A three-month planner set specifically to help you achieve three set goals. Find it here.

 

3. Bumble and Bumble Pret-A-Powder: The world’s BEST dry shampoo, for when you’re on day three of non-stop work and have to leave the house. Find it here.

 

 

Lucky Break - Treat Yo Self

 

Sweet Shannon is my Sweet Sister from the Dirty South. Notice that I capitalized all those letters because that’s actually a formal title, and my fourth-grade teacher (Hi, Ms. Norman!) taught me that you *always* capitalize formal titles. Anyway, Shannon is the keeper of the creative at Lucky Break… she makes all of the things 37x prettier than they would otherwise be. When not making Lucky Break (and our clients) look sharp, Shannon is chasing after her two kiddos (Georgia and Ryland), being craftier than Melissa and I put together, and making moms everywhere look good with her newly-launched brand Hettie Joan. She lives in Huntsville, Alabama.

 

1. Dymo LabelWriter 4XL Thermal Label Printer: This has been a freaking life changer in so many ways and I don’t know why I didn’t invest in one sooner. Find it here. PRO TIP: Sign up with eBates and you can earn 3% cash back on it. *wink*

 

2. You Are a Badass 2018 Day-to-Day calendar: I haven’t finished this book yet but I really like it so far. And I love day-to-day calendars on my desk. So I totally want this. It’s literally on my Amazon wishlist. Find it here.

 

3. Amazon Echo: These things are amazing and we have not only bought several for our house, but given quite a few to friends and family as gifts this year. It’s revolutionary as a hands-free personal assistant, music device, entertainment source, etcetera. Find it here.

 

 

Lucky Break - Treat Yo Self

 

Hi… it’s me. So what do I do for Lucky Break? I build all of our curricula, execute each of our client consults, and dream up new projects (70% of which Shannon and Melissa say “no” to!). When I’m not running a business, I’m trying desperately to keep up with two teenage girls (Mercy, why didn’t someone tell me how busy that was going to keep me?) and perfecting my Southern pie recipes. 2017 delivered a family move to Atlanta and I’m completely smitten with living in the A!

 

1. Vitruvi Essential Oil Diffuser: Diffusers have a reputation for being *ahem* less-than-pretty. Vitruvi creates beautiful ceramic diffusers that look chic in any room. I diffuse all the live long day. A “focus” blend when I’m building new classes, a nice lavender when I’m feeling flustered, peppermint when migraines start creeping in. I’ll take all the magical essential oil voodoo I can take, thankyouverymuch. Find it here.

 

2. Bose Revolve speaker: It’s NPR in the morning and Drake + Jay-Z in the afternoon at my house. This petite speaker packs a powerful punch and I toss one in my suitcase when I travel for work, too. For my fellow ADHDers, background noise helps you focus. I know that seems weird, but I also swear that it works! Find it here.

 

3. Felt Laptop Sleeves from Byrd & Belle: They’re soft yet durable, minimalist and modern, and made from start-to-finish right here in the US of A. Find them here.

 

 

I hope that Santa brings you something special under the tree.  Have a recommendation for other entrepreneurs? We’re all ears… please leave a comment below!

 

Could you be the next Lucky Break teammate?

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We’re hiring!  The Little Team That Could is searching for a new teammate to join our spunky crew of passionate peeps with a deep + abiding love for entrepreneurs.

 

This is a remote position open to those in the eastern half of the United States, averaging 30-40 hours per week. You’ll be working from the comfort of your living room, communicating daily via email, Slack, and phone with other members of the Lucky Break team.

 

HiringGraphic

 

HERE’S WHAT YOUR WORK WILL LOOK LIKE…

• Getting to know Lucky Break classes + services like the back of your hand.

• Supporting Lucky Break clients via email + phone. They’ll need you to help them navigate offerings to determine what will serve them best.

• You’ll also field more traditional customer service queries: locating + updating customer accounts, handling billing questions, scheduling private strategy sessions, etc.

• Managing my work schedule: booking clients, meetings, interviews, etc.

• Proofing line sheets, curriculum slides, blog posts, and handouts.

• Conducting detailed internet research for new projects.

• Helping match our Wholesale Matchmaker members with “good fit” stores that might be interested in carrying their work.

 

HERE’S WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR…

• Live in the Eastern or Central time zones of the U.S.

• Have access to your own phone line, computer, internet connection, and printer.

• Be willing to travel domestically 2-3 times per year for up to 5 days at a time for team retreats + company events.

• Have an eye for detail, a killer work ethic, a patient spirit, extraordinary communication, ninja-like organization skills, and a heart for people.

• Be a motivated self-starter capable of managing a robust workload while working independently.

• Enjoy being part of a small team of highly motivated women who have a deliciously low threshold for B.S.

• Be flexible. You’ll need to continually prioritize projects + learn new skill sets.

• Be capable of striking a healthy balance between professional + personable. We pride ourselves on delivering knock-your-socks-off customer service.

• Possess better-than-average writing + editing skills.

• Be ridiculously trustworthy. You’ll be signing both no-compete + non-disclosure agreements.

• Know how to have a good time. We work hard, but we play hard, too!

*** Some experience as a maker or product designer is strongly preferred. Our community has unique challenges and strengths that are easiest to relate to if you’ve traveled this path yourself! ***

 

SOUND LIKE A GOOD FIT?

Oh sugar, we can’t wait to connect with you! Please dispatch an email to hello@luckybreakconsulting.com with the subject line: NEW TEAMMATE. Include your resume with salary history. Additionally, please answer the following questions…

• How did you discover Lucky Break?

• What are you most excited about with this opportunity?

• What facet of this opportunity gives you the greatest pause?

• Which of your past employment opportunities brought you the most joy + why?

• Have you ever owned your own business?

• What did six-year-old-you want to be when you grew up?

 

Applications are open through December 15, 2017. We’re looking for a start date in the third week of January. Please, no phone calls. We’ll be in touch if it feels like a good fit for us, too!

 

The Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide

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LuckyBreak-GiftGuide2

 

 

I have the pleasure of working with hundreds of fantastically talented makers and product designers. Because I’m always on the hunt for new ways to share their work with you, this year I thought it would be fun to curate a 10-day gift guide featuring some of my most beloved finds. I’ve been quietly shopping form my cient list for months and it’s ime for the big reveal.  From furry friends to your favorite gentlemen, I’ve got you covered with 75+ ideas. Up first? Beauty stocking stuffers!

 

 

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BEAUTY STOCKING STUFFERS

Sigil Scent Sampler
Sigil Scent creates unisex fragrances infused with the energy of real flowers and plants. Each long-wearing perfume is hand blended and poured in small batches. Take all six of their signature aromas out for a spin for just $50.

 

Waxing Kara “Sweet Lips” Honey Lip Balm
Waxing Kara’s Sweet Lips Trio is delivered in a gift-able tube. Inside: three lip balms, each made with organic plant oils and honey to soften the lips while providing a sheer dose of color from mineral pigments.  $24.

 

Stewart & Claire Lip Balm Cocktail Trio
My all-time-favorite lip balm is the Negroni from Stewart & Claire. Try the Cocktail Trio and score 3 balms in an embossed tube for $23. Their Mint Julep Lip Scrub is the perfect remedy for dry winter lips at $20!

 

Bonblissity Body Truffles
I’m obsessed with body scrubs and Bonblissity never disappoints! These individually wrapped, single-serve body scrubs are perfect for gym bags + weekenders, too. Pick up a box of 6 “body truffles” for $25.

 

Osmia Organics Facial Soap
Osmia Organics luxurious facial bar blends organic pumpkin, honey, and camellia seed oil to create a gentle enzymatic exfoliation. I love the gold embossing on the textured linen box *almost* as much as I love the bar. $24.

 

Handcrafted HoneyBee MiniPits Travel Size Deodorants
Handcrafted Honeybee offers aluminum-free deodorants in fun aromas! Find your new favorite with a four-pack of mini’s for just $15. Pro tip: Eucalyptus Spearmint. Just trust me…

 

Barnwell Co. Rock Rose / Neroli Facial Oil
Barnwell Soap Co. creates small-batch, cold-process soap and body care in Portland. The Rock Rose & Neroli Facial Oil is the loveliest thing I put on my face in 2017! The entire collection is divine, with prices ranging from $5-36.

 

Kopa Kauai Small Soaps and REDBUDSUDS Shower Bars
Kopa Kauai handcrafts adorable mini-bars ($6) in her lush Hawaiian studio. The guava is a personal favorite. Meanwhile, REDBUDSUDS’s earth-friendly shower bars wash + condition the hair and are great for the body, too. $14.

 

Prairie Dust Wyatt Herb Soap
Know a soap lover with a sense of humor? Treat them to Prairie Dust’s “Wyatt Herb” bar. It’s a delightful (and pun-ny) blend of leather, mahogany, lemongrass, and basil. Close runner-up? Mint Condition. $8 a bar.

 

Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide

GIFTS FOR YOUR BFF

Tal Angel Silk Scarves
Israeli-based designer Tal Angel designs limited edition silk scarves that make a bold statement of color. Only 15 of the “Deep Blue Dragonfly” scarf were produced and I appear to have snagged the last one! Find your new favorite from amongst her gorgeous collection. $150 and up.

 

Marja Germans Gard Earrings
Jeweler Marja Germans Gard is having a serious love affair with geometrics… and I’m having a serious love affair with all things Marja. These earrings feature a dark patina and meticulously hand-wrapped 14k gold fill wire. Her packaging is some of the best I’ve ever seen, too. Think: Gold stamped gift boxes, embossed enclosure cards, and more. Absolutely gift-worthy at $80.

 

The Rosé Collection from Stewart & Claire
I included Stewart & Claire in yesterday’s “beauty stocking stuffers” guide, but I couldn’t resist! Related: Your Rosé-loving BFF will appreciate this chic tube of rose-tinted lip balms. Each is created with organic coconut and sunflower seed oils and a subtle rose scent. $30 for the trio.

 

Charliemadison Originals Alchemist Bracelet
Charliemadison Originals designs stackable bracelets with natural stones + woods. My favorite? The “Alchemist” featuring rose quartz, olive wood, and turquoise… natural materials revered for their power to promote peace + remove negativity. I love to rub my favorite essential oil blend into the olive wood beads to create a natural diffuser that carries the oil with me all day. $37.

 

Todos Organics Infused Coconut Oil
Coconut oil fans rejoice! Todos Organics infuses natural coconut oil with vanilla beans, rose absolute, lavender, and chai spices. Each jar is created in small batches and beautifully packaged. Angel- the mastermind behind Todos- is taking a small break at the moment, but I recommend stalking her IG and waiting for her triumphant return!

 

Handstamped Jewelry from Zenned Out
Cassie and her team at Zenned Out handstamp magical sayings into modern metal jewelry. I love creating mixed metals stacks of 3 with hidden messages. My current favorite? “You’re stronger than you think and braver than you know.” The perfect sentiment for your BFF, no? $65 and up.

 

Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide

GIFTS FOR YOUR HONEY

Small Company Artworks Couples Sculptures
Melissa of Small Company Artworks creates cast-stone sculpture gifts, each one handmade in Los Angeles. Each limited-edition sculpture is beautifully gift boxed and accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity. Find your new favorite, beginning at $99.

 

Couples’ Initial Bar Necklace from MKW Design Co.
I love these personalized necklaces from MKW Design Co. Each one is hand stamped and available in a variety of lengths. Mary would love to whip up one for you in her Texas studio! $26.

 

Tropical Floral Friend Art Print by Pen + Pillar
Pen + Pillar designs “paper goods with a purpose.” I love that 10% of their proceeds are donated to local refugee resettlement in North Carolina. And I love this print, too. 8×10” and printed on sturdy white cardstock, I have little doubt that your better half would cherish a framed copy. $20.

 

Unique PL8Z
Unique PL8Z collects discarded licenses plates and refashions them into customized works of art. I have these fantastic visions of Nicole using power tools with sparks flying all around her! She created this “Lucy Girl” sign for me and I’m positive that she’d be up for creating something special for you, too. Anniversary date? Nickname? A location that’s special to the two of you? $30 and up.

 

Married & Bright Lingerie
Annika Chaloff may have the greatest job on planet Earth. She creates sexy lingerie for women of all sizes in her Nashville studio. She has a fantastic eye for design and a knack for making women feel sexy as hell. This “Knotty or Nice” bralette + panty set is a special kind of saucy. $88.

 

Grown By Faith Succulent Arrangements
Amber recently graduated from BHB and she’s planning for a 2018 launch of her care-free succulent arrangements. Spell out words, initials, or phrases on your wall without any worry about your perpetual black thumb. While she hasn’t yet swung open her doors, I recommend stalking the “Grown by Faith” Facebook page while we anxiously anticipate the company launch!

 

Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide

GIFTS FOR YOUR KIDDOS

Hi Tree! Tiny Log Zipper Pouch and Maple Tree Friend Plush Toy
Hi Tree! creates felt goodies for wee ones that are inspired by the woodlands. My niece will soon be unwrapping this cool log-inspired zippered pouch + huggable tree plush. Each design is cut by hand and sewn in Tina’s LA studio. $24-42.

 

Wee Rascals Tees
Conscious mamas + papas love Wee Rascals because this apparel company believes that “real heroes are the best heroes.” I snagged this awesome shirt for my nephew Drew and my daughter Celie has been rocking a “Fierce Like Frieda” shirt for several months now. $32.

 

Unicorn Crafts Earrings in a Bottle
My niece Kate is also getting her ears pierced for Christmas and I’m excited to start her collection with these 22k gold earrings from Faheema at Unicorn Crafts. Fun designs include unicorns, ice cream cones, and rainbows. Each arrives in a neat glass bottle topped with a gold lid. $16 each.

 

Because of Zoe Designs Hair Bows and Hi Tree! Oak Leaf Hair Clips
Kate is sort of obsessed with her hair and she rocks a mean hair bow. On Christmas morning, I’m gifting her a collection of headbands and bows in chic prints from BOZ Designs and a fun felt leaf hair clip from Hi Tree. $8 and up.

 

Sasa Loo Kokeshi Doll
Monica of Sasa Loo creates modern kokeshi dolls in her Okinawa workshop. Each heirloom-worthy piece features a mini snow lion pup, hand-felted details, and vintage Japanese textiles that have been thoughtfully reinvented. Contact her for a custom commission! $195 and up.

 

Curiosity Packs Educational Kits
Curiosity Packs deliver educational kits direct to your doorstep, and they’re so ridiculously fun that your wee one might not even realize that they’re learning! From letters to feelings, each kit includes several brightly-colored games and activities designed by Lily, who’s a mom and an elementary educator, too. $40.

 

Goobie Baby Bandana Drool Bibs and Naomi Teething Necklace
Baby products have come a loooong way since I had my kiddos! I find myself a bit jealous of all the great design and Goobie Baby is the perfect example. Easy, snap-on bandana bibs and modern teething necklaces are both functional and adorable.  Now that’s a combination that I can get behind! $17-20.

 

Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide

GIFTS FOR YOUR SWEET MAMA

Laurmé Skincare’s Anti-Aging Travel Set
Laurmé Skincare’s Anti-Aging Travel Set offers mom an opportunity to create a spa day at home, every single day. Seven artfully formulated products (cleanser, toner, serum, cream and more) are beautifully presented in a drawstring bag, accompanied by a detailed booklet. $65.

 

“Love” Necklaces from Freshie and Zero
Freshie & Zero’s delicate “Love” necklace can be customized to reflect your family. “Mom” is represented by a gold-filled circle, and you can add smaller sterling rings, each representing one of her children. Presented in an embossed gift box, beginning at $58.

 

Southern Elegance Candle Co. Holiday Candle Collection
My mom can NEVER have enough candles and this one is a personal favorite! Southern Elegance Candle Co.’s Pumpkin Souffle is a blend of warm pumpkin, cinnamon, crushed clove with hints of butter + brown sugar. It’s swoon-worthy and mom can enjoy 50-55 hours of burn time for just $28.

 

Cultural Detour Kimono Scarves and Accessories
The irresistibly chic Dyan of Cultural Detour deconstructs antique kimono and Japanese boro textiles, refashioning them into one-of-a-kind scarves and accessories. She has more style in her pinky finger than I have in my whole body. My boro scarf prompts compliments everywhere I go! Beginning at $52.

 

Ardent Hands Therapy Pack and Migraine Relief Eye Mask
Ardent Hands Designs creates neck wraps and migraine eye pillows filled with lentils and lavender. Each one can be heated or cooled to provide instant comfort. The fabrics are beautiful, and quality of the construction is impressive. $24 for the neck wrap, $15 for the migraine mask.

 

Mommin’ Mug by Paper Berry Press and Plum Deluxe’s “Easy to be Green” Tea
Mommin’ Ain’t Easy… can I get an “amen?” This mug from Paper Berry Press makes me smile every time I see it. It’s even better when filled “Easy to be Green Tea,” a blend of blueberry and hibiscus from Plum Deluxe. Mug is $14.95, tea begins at $7.

 

Customized Stationery from PIXELIMPRESS
Personalized stationery is an affordable luxury that always make me feel special. This set from Pixel Impress features gorgeous handmade marble paper in shades of cream, gold, grey, and black. The entire presentation is deliciously swanky! Set of 10 cards + envelopes for $22.50.

 

Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide

GIFTS FOR YOUR FAVORITE MEN

Pork BBQ Dry Rub and Grilling Spices Gift Set from Dell Cove Spices
If your man is the grilling type, then I humbly suggest a spice kit from Dell Cove Spice Co. Nicely presented in a gift-worthy box, you’ll find: Fiery Sriracha Seasoning, Garlic & Pepper Herb Rub, Memphis BBQ Rib Rub, and Tuscan Herb & Garlic Seasoning. Let him man the grill why you man the wine opener for a lovely evening in. $29.50.

 

Black Ship Grooming Co.’s Wassail Shaving Soap, Aftershave, and Shaving Brush
My Mister’s beard will be in tip-top shape this holiday season thanks to Black Ship Grooming Co. Their Limited Edition “Wassail” line features a special holiday blend of apple cider, nutmeg, cinnamon, and oranges. Available in both a creamy shaving soap + an aftershave splash. Pair it with a vintage-inspired shaving brush and you’re off at the races! $15-45.

 

Cedarwood Soap and Cork Toiletry Bag from Etta + Billie
Alana of Etta + Billie easily ranks among my top 5 favorite soapmakers of all-time. Her gender-neutral products are hip, elevated, and decadent all at once. Created with olive oil, cocoa butter, Moroccan lava clay and a blend of five essential oils, Alana’s Cedarwood soap lathers beautifully. Pair it with a cork toiletry bag for a smart gift for the modern man. $34 for the bag; $14 for the soap.

 

Blazing Saddles Solid Cologne + Body Wash from Outlaw Soaps
How could you resist anything that’s been dubbed “the sexiest cologne ever”? Good question, friends. I’ll let Danielle and the team at Outlaw Soaps describe the aroma of her Blazing Saddles collection: “…smells like leather, sandalwood, gunpowder, sage, two kinds of campfire, and a little dirt. An outlaw smells like the sexiest g*ddamn thing you can imagine, and then about 12 times sexier than that.” If that doesn’t sell it, then I’m not sure how to help. Solid cologne at $22; Body wash for $14.

 

Whiskey + Fig Diffuser from Standard Wax
Standard Wax creates modern home fragrance in beautiful, ceramic vessels. New to the collection: reed diffusers. I love Whiskey + Fig for the gentlemen. With notes of aged whiskey, teakwood, black tea, and fig, this scent is the quintessential combination of earthy, dark and sweet. $42.

 

Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide

GIFTS FOR YOUR FAVORITE TEACHERS

Best Day Ever Letterpress Notebook + Daily Scheduler Notepad
Anne-Marie of Best Day Ever creates practical cools that help people live their best day ever, every single day. Her gorgeous notebook features a geometric-inspired letterpress design (*swoon*) and gold foil (*double swoon*) and her Daily Scheduler pad is one of my personal lifesavers. $25 for the notebook; $5.75 for the pad.

 

Elizabeth Benotti Herringbone Patterned Mug and Plum Deluxe Loose Leaf Teas
Ceramicist Elizabeth Benotti makes a mean mug. Handthrown on the wheel from porcelain, each mug features a design which is etched by hand and finished in a satin matte glaze in her New Hampshire workshop. It’s my favorite way to start the morning. $54. Even better? Fill it up with delicious loose-leaf teas from Plum Deluxe.

 

Essential Oil Rollers from Print Therapy
When Melissa isn’t keeping balls in the air as Lucky Break’s Operations Manager, she’s building a “feel good apothecary” over at Print Therapy. She recently launched new essential oil rollers and I’m utterly obsessed with the “Rest” blend. Think: neroli, frankincense, ylang ylang, and chamomile essential oils in an organic jojoba oil base. Imagine: Your favorite teacher smoothing frazzled nerves after a long day. Beautifully presented + totally gift-worthy at $18.

 

Hettie Joan Perfect Pouches + Favorite Notebooks
Melissa isn’t the only Lucky Break teammate building an empire! Shannon, our Creative Director, recently launched Hettie Joan. She creates smart accessories that make you feel pulled together in an instant. Her zippered pouches hold anything and everything. Each fully-lined pouch features her original surface designs and is finished with a gold zipper. Pair it with a coordinating jotter notebook and pencil and your favorite teacher will love you for it. $3-$36.

 

“I Liked Books Best” Art Print by Little Truths Studio
Last but not least, Lori from Little Truths Studios is a self-taught painter who spends her days creating magical art in a studio that’s tucked into the woods just outside Portland. This print is oh-so-perfect for educators. It’s an archival reproduction on a deliciously heavy stock. $24.

 

Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide

GIFTS FOR YOUR FURRY FRIENDS

Big Daddy Biscuits
Treat your favorite pup to fresh, farm-to-table biscuits made in small batches right here in Atlanta, GA. The peeps over at Big Daddy Biscuits made Turkey Bacon Treats that always make my dog Emerson sit up a little straighter. $5.50 and up.

 

Charlie Cushion from Janery
Jane Pearson of Janery makes the prettiest dog beds this side of the Mississippi! Each one features a hidden zipper, washable canvas cover, and a waterproof insert that ensures that keeps things tidy and odors at bay. And the chic fabrics blend beautifully with modern décor. Pictured here: Sawyer, beloved pup of Lucky Break’s Operations Manager, lounging on his Janery bed. From $104.

 

Nose Butter + Aromatherapy Spray from The Blissful Dog
Kathy from Blissful Dog Co. has more energy in her pinky than I have in my whole body! A former breeder and champion of the dog show world, today she spends her time creating artisanal batches of products to soothe your dog’s discomfort. Nose Butter protects chapped noses and what spastic pup wouldn’t benefit from her Focus aromatherapy spray? *Ahem* Emerson? $10 and up

 

Siamese Social Club Magnetic Fishing Cat Toy
Feline friends rejoice! Siamese Social Club (one of my favorite brand names in the history of ever!) creates this clever fishing toy. A solid wood fishing pole catches felt fish embedded with magnetics for hours of amusement with your favorite kitty. A huge upgrade from the brightly colored, cheap plastic toys in your local pet store! $45.

 

Treats for Chickens Chicken Crack
Dawn Russell knows a thing or two about chickens. She creates ultra-fancy, certified organic chicken treats… and she does it all with a sense of humor. Exhibit A: Chicken Crack. Organic grains, cracked corn, sunflower seeds, mealworms and river shrimp. I sincerely want chickens, if for no other reason than to feed them Chicken Crack. $16.99 for a generously-sized bag of chicken heaven!

 

Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide

GIFTS FOR FANCY FOODIES

Waxing Kara Eastern Shore Honey
Waxing Kara produces my absolute favorite honey treats! Kara Brook Brown raises bees on her farm along the Eastern Shore and she transforms their honey into a line of body care, alongside gourmet honey treats. Try a generously-sized jar of varietal honey for $18, a beautifully boxed honey sampler for $50, or a bag of 9 cinnamon honey lollipops for just $10.

 

Drops of Honey Pot from Apricity Ceramics
Need somewhere to store all that honey? I humbly suggest this handmade pot from Sophia at Apricity Ceramics. It’s adorned with 22 k gold honeybees and a gorgeous two-toned glaze. It holds wo full cups and features a hand-carved porcelain dipper. It’s my favorite thing in my new kitchen! $76.

 

Pecans & Chocolate Granola from Hudson Henry Baking Co.
My go-to snack is gourmet granola from Hudson Henry Baking Co. This stuff is a-m-a-z-i-n-g… think: pumpkin and sunflower seeds, pecans, brown sugar, sliced almonds, and dark chocolate chips. Made fresh in small batches, you can snag a bag for just $7.99.

 

“Bon Appetit” Recipe Notebook from Primp Prints
I adore this sunny journal from Blair of Primp Prints. Its 50 lined pages are perfect for storing your favorite recipes, jotting down details for your food diary, or capturing the little things you’re grateful for each day. It makes for a fab stocking stuffer at $25.

 

Fresh Out of Ink’s Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe Tea Towel
The crew from Fresh Out Of Ink wants to ensure sure that your favorite recipes are always at hand. Whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies via this 100% cotton tea towel. Each one is made in the USA and individually screen printed. At $18, it would also make a fun way to wrap up a present for your favorite foodie!

 

Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide

ULTIMATE WHITE ELEPHANT PARTY GIFTS

Boob Rubber Stamp Set from Native Bear
Leela (with two E’s!) is the mastermind behind Native Bear. She creates magical paper goods with a deliciously vintage flair. And boob stamps. No, seriously. This set of four is mounted on white maple and presented in a smart kraft box. $22.

 

Rosé Mug by Primp Prints
Rosé is all the rage right now, and this mug will be coveted by Rosé lovers the world over. Generously sized at 15 ounces, it’s microwave and dishwasher-safe. From my fiend Blair at Primp Prints. $16.

 

Paper Boat Origami Notepad by Smudge Ink
April and her crew at Smudge Ink have reinvented the humble note pad. This version contains 60 sheets which feature a grid on one side and a fun pattern and folding instructions on back. Transform class notes, meeting notes, and old grocery lists into a paper boat in ten easy steps. $8.

 

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Favors from The Pursuit of Cocktails
Have you met my friend Jaime? She’s cute as a button and a true lover of cocktails. She launched an entire company dedicated to snarky travel mugs, tumblers, and straws that feature clever turns of phrase. Her “Let’s get elfed up” straws and “Drink up Grinches” cup might cause a fist fight at your holiday party. But, man… they’d totally be worth it! $7.50-11.

 

Kale Tea Towel from Paper Berry Press
Thank heavens that Paper Berry Press shares my disdain for kale. I know it’s good for me… and yet I still don’t care. Kale Loathers Unite! This flour sack tea towel makes me giggle every time I see it. It might not elicit a fist fight, but perhaps a hair pull? And arm wrestle? My husband is certainly going to have to wrestle it out of my arms if we plan to gift it to anyone. That’s $16 well spent.

 

Naughty & Nice Holiday Pencils from Fresh Out of Ink
If you’re making a list and checking it twice, then you need this clever pencil set from our friends at Fresh Out of Ink. Naughty? Nice? Perhaps a bit of both, depending on the day? A set of 4 could be yours for a mere $6 and they arrive in a cute gift box, too!

Whew!  And there you have it. My hat is off to these entrepreneurs and all of the others that I had the pleasure of working with in 2017.  I hope you’ll drop your favorite atisan shop in the comments below so I can polish off the last of my shopping!

 

 

Meet the Maker: Meg Sutton of Belle & Union Co.

Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union

Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union

 

Have you missed our “Meet the Maker” series? We’re toying with the idea of bringing back this series as a regular blog feature, so drop a comment below if you’d like to meet more of our favorite makers and hear the stories behind their success!

Today we’re excited to introduce you to Meg Sutton, who founded Belle & Union back in 2011. Now run by Meg and her husband Josh, Belle & Union is well-known in the maker community for their letterpress prints, handmade wrappings, and gorgeous housewares. Brimming with old-fashioned American wit, wisdom and style, all Belle & Union goods are made 100% in the U.S. (no really, 100 PERCENT). Thanks so much for joining us, Meg… we’re thrilled to share your story!

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?

Meg: After working for a year as a graphic designer in an advertising agency, I was not feeling fulfilled creatively. I had worked in a boutique shop in downtown Savannah, Georgia, where I fell in love with letterpress. After finding a press in an antique mall in Florida, I quit my job and began designing my collection. One year later we launched at the National Stationery Show and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Meg: As with most creatives, I had on rose-colored glasses about entrepreneurship – believing my days would be filled with doodling and product development. I quickly learned that having a business is 10% creative and 90% wearing all of the other hats related to actually running a business.

 

Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Meg: We started out mainly as a paper goods company, but grew to add a variety of kitchen items and housewares. We believe in creating small-batch, hand-crafted artisan goods from American materials. We’ve found our niche in the foodie market, so many of our goods have that twist, whether that is through letterpress printed greeting cards with food puns, screen-printed tea towels with food patterns, or actual cooking elements like hand-carved utensils for your kitchen.

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical workday.

Meg: No day is typical! Being an entrepreneur is a lot of fire-fighting – if I am not putting one out, I am probably starting one. I read once to make a list of 5-6 things the night before, so you can hit the ground running in the morning. It has really changed my workflow and allowed me to be more productive. I can usually accomplish on a Monday and Tuesday what used to take me all week, just by being thoughtful and intentional about what needs to be accomplished. No day is typical, but each usually has emails, some sort of work on new product development, supply chain management, production, and order fulfillment.

 

LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

Meg: 1) Finances. Know your numbers from day one. You may not like them, and may need help doing them, but you need to make sure you are actually making money and pricing your products correctly.

2) When you do launch, what is going to make your product different? Being handmade or illustrated isn’t enough anymore. Within our industry, the market is flooded with hundreds if not thousands of greeting card designers, so we had to differentiate ourselves from the crowd.

3) That leads to the third thing, and most important: You need to know your “why.” If you just want to make pretty things, that isn’t enough. Running a business is hard work; there is a grind day in and day out, and some days will be tough. It isn’t all doodling and flexible scheduling. Staying true to your “why” and connecting it with your purpose is what will keep you going.

 

Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union

 

LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?

Meg: If we can help bring joy to someone, be a light in their day – that’s why we do what we do. The memories we awaken in others with our hand-crafted gifts, or a handwritten note from a loved one – we are helping to create treasured moments in people’s lives. Staying focused on this mission of connecting generations past and present is why we do what we do, and what keeps us going each day.

 

LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.

Meg: From the beginning, it was important to me that all of the products that we make or have made for us be 100% American made – from the materials to the final production. It’s taken a lot of extra effort, especially with textiles, to oftentimes create our own supply chains. For example, our tea towels took almost a year to develop, from working directly with the West Texas farmers to start, reserving our cotton (much of American cotton is sent overseas for production), to it being loomed in the Carolinas, to finally being stitched and then screen-printed in Georgia. It was a massive undertaking with lots of research and sampling. But now that the chain is established, we can rely on it and know that our quality is the best it can be. For us, our commitment to American made is something we can truly stand behind – knowing we are helping to establish and continue jobs stateside and that our goods are of artisan quality.

 

LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?

Meg: When I was first preparing to launch, I had saved every penny from custom work to fund our booth at the National Stationery Show in New York City. It took literally every dime I had to launch at that show – and we were received so incredibly well, far beyond what I had dreamed. What I hadn’t thought through (again, know your numbers!) is what it would actually cost to produce all of that product that I had just sold. After calculating it out, it was going to be around $25,000 to create all of the inventory I needed to fulfill orders. After several breakdowns, I pulled myself together and made it work. Now I always make sure to take the time to know exactly how much everything is going to cost start-to-finish before we get too far down the road.

 

Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union

 

LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?

Meg: Over the years we have created a few products that specifically give back to Veteran causes. Having seen firsthand how difficult military life can be (my husband spent 6 years in the United States Army), it was important to give back to the men and women who give so much for our country. One way we honor them is by our commitment to American made goods, but we have gone above and beyond that by donating money to various support groups to help Veterans and their families.

 

LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?

Meg: 1) We have an online inventory management system that is the control center for all of our orders – our wholesale orders are manually input, and our website orders automatically filter in. It allows us to keep everything in order, and anyone can check and see the status of an order or inventory at any given time. Organization is key in running a smooth operation, and having this platform set-up from the beginning has been a huge factor in keeping us efficient.

2) I highly recommend getting an accountant from the beginning. Even if you run everything yourself, having that person to double check your work is invaluable. We didn’t start with one, and made a mistake where we weren’t filing the proper employee taxes for a few years. That was not a fun or cheap error that could have been caught early on if we had that system of checks and balances with finances.

3) We recently completed work on our “business bible” (it only took five years!). Even when you are starting out, I think it is important to set this up early on. Put down on paper how things work – the proper way to package products, fulfill an order, etc – it’s your operations manual. By having it down on paper, when you do go to hire, you can easily hand that document over to someone and all of the expectations and how-to’s for the business are right there in black and white. It is easy to think in the beginning it isn’t necessary, but it only takes a few minutes to record your process in that moment, than to try and go back and do everything all at once. We have to treat our small businesses like big businesses from day one.

 

LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If we blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?

Meg: In 2018, we are launching our flagship brick-and-mortar location, which will be our biggest adventure to date. As part of the shop, which will also house our studio, we plan to offer workshops, everything from letterpress printing to hand-lettering, and even a quarterly supper club. We want to create community with our supporters, encouraging people to slow down and enjoy the sweet moments in life, gathered ’round a table filled with smiles and laughter. In a few years, I hope to find the shop thriving in this new journey.

 

Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union

 

LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?

Meg: Something sweet. I have a terrible sweet tooth that is constantly getting me in trouble!

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Meg: An eclectic mix… everything from oldies, Broadway show tunes (hello Hamilton on repeat 24/7), pop – whatever I am feeling at that moment.

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Meg: Self-care is so important – so I make sure to take time for just me. I usually get my nails done or get a massage at least once a month. I used to feel guilty about taking the time out of the workday to focus on me, but I’ve found it to be so important to my mental health. So I suppose it isn’t that much of a guilty pleasure after all!

 

Thank you, Meg, for sharing your talent with us! We absolutely love what you’re doing with Belle & Union, and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for you and your company. We’re cheering you on!

 

Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

A Inside Peek at the Kiva Loan Process

A Inside Peek at the Kiva Loan Process with Print Therapy

Hi! Lela here. I recently passed my blog microphone to Shannon, Lucky Break’s Creative Director- and she generously gave you a peek behind her Hettie Joan brand launch. This week, I’m passing the mic to Melissa, Lucky Break’s Operations Manager a.k.a. “My Right Hand.” She’s a brilliant project manager and ball juggler here at Lucky Break, but she also has a pretty amazing stationery company as well.  I invite you to discover Print Therapy and then read on to learn how Melissa recently crowdfunded a $7,000 loan through Kiva to help her launch a new product collection.  

 

I’m a big Kiva fan… after all, who else invites entrepreneurs to borrow up to $10,000 to grow their business at ZERO interest, with ZERO fees, and without having your personal credit attached to the transaction? Kiva a reputable non-profit with a long track record of facilitating microloans to entrepreneurs around the world. And Melissa’s going to pull back the curtain and show you how it’s done. Take it away, M!

 

A Inside Peek at the Kiva Loan Process with Print Therapy

 

If there’s anything I’ve learned from being a part of the Lucky Break team, it’s that I’m not alone when it comes to my dreams being bigger than my wallet. The idea of starting a business can be intoxicating, but when you learn the dollar signs associated with that dream? That can be pretty darn sobering.

 

I spent the first three years of my business sort of floundering, trying new things, learning what worked, and learning what didn’t. Once I honed in on my niche (thanks, Brick House Branding!), and after a few brainstorming session (thanks, Lela!), I had a handful of ideas I knew I wanted to bring to market. The one thing I didn’t have? The money.

 

Although I had heard of Kiva before – in fact we lend through them as a part of Luck Break’s philanthropy efforts – I had never thought about attempting to raise a loan through them for my business. I mean who wants to fundraise? Who wants to raise money? Who wants to ask the people they know for help? I’ll tell you who. This business owner. And maybe you, too.

 

During one of my consultations with Lela, as we were discussing products and the financial state of my business (spoiler alert: I was out of money), she mentioned casually that she thought I could get a Kiva loan funded with relative ease. I’m not sure why, but I shrugged it off. I’m not the best at admitting that I need other people to help me, and asking people for money always feels a bit weird. But once I hung up the phone after our consultation, and the dreaming phase was over, and the get-to-work phase began, I realized that I needed to find money somewhere, and I needed to find a good amount of it, fast.

 

A Inside Peek at the Kiva Loan Process with Print Therapy

 

I’d like to tell you that I did my due diligence, studied Kiva and their stats, and took a few days to make my decision. In reality, I did a quick review of the site to understand their terms … and had my application started not even five minutes later. And about twenty-five days later, the money was comfortably in my account, ready to make those dreams a reality. Curious to know how it happened?

 

THE APPLICATION

 

1. The Application process was pretty straightforward, but it included creating everything you see on my lender page.  My story and my dream were just as important- if not more important- as statistical information about my business. Also important? A great photo that shows the people – and the heart – behind the business. The application is also where I indicated the amount I wanted to raise, and the number of months I wanted for my repayment terms.

 

Hint: You’re only allowed to have one Kiva loan active at a time, which means you cannot initiate a second loan while you’re repaying your first. Think wisely about how much money you’ll need – and don’t let fear talk you into a smaller number. First-time Kiva borrowers can tap up to $10,000.

 

2. About 24 hours later, I had a call scheduled with Kiva, and my application was approved (HOORAY!) on the call. We also discussed repayment terms, and, most importantly, what it would take to make my loan public. As it turns out, once you’re approved, your loan page doesn’t just go live on the Kiva site, for any and everyone to throw money at you.

 

3. My Kiva rep, Richard, informed me that I needed to have at least 22 people I’m personally connected to lend me $25 each within the first fifteen days in order for my loan to go public, and for any Kiva lender to be able to find it and lend to me. It’s important to Kiva to see that you’re committed to your own success and that the people who know you believe in you, too. If I didn’t hit that magical number of 22? My loan would effectively be canceled, never to see the light of day.

 

 

THE FUNDRAISING

 

1. As soon as my Kiva page was live, I wasted no time sharing it on social media – both through my business pages and through my personal page. I knew that I had 15 days to get 22 people to lend me their hard earned money, along with their belief and support. I shared daily on both Facebook and Instagram.

 

A Inside Peek at the Kiva Loan Process with Print Therapy

 

2. I then proceeded to stalk my lender page, and I’m pretty sure I wore out my mouse with all of the incessant refreshing. I was on pins and needles, nervous that I wouldn’t find 22 people who believed enough in me to lend me $25. In those moments, my lack of money was only matched by my lack of confidence. I. Was. Nervous.

 

3. As it turns out, people like to give their money to things and people they believe in. I had 50 people within my network – friends, family, old high school and college classmates, former co-workers – lend to me in the first two days, bringing in over 30% of the money I had to raise. I was on my way! My loan was now public on the Kiva page, available for all Kiva lenders to see.

 

4. 30% was great, but I knew the momentum would begin to slow down if I didn’t keep fanning the flame. I posted. I blogged. I newslettered. I posted again. I blogged again. I newslettered again. I talked about how the money would support my business. I talked about how the business would support my family. And I talked about how much their support would support me.

 

I harped on the fact that this was not a donation; my business dreams were not a charity case. I had every intention of paying every cent back. And the people who had already lent to me? I was able to send notes to them, letting them know how things were going, and sharing my gratitude with them. Every day I tracked how much money had come in, and what I had left to be fully funded. It was a great reminder to keep on talking.

 

A Inside Peek at the Kiva Loan Process with Print Therapy

 

5. On Day 20, I received a loan from “Tom”. It was my biggest loan by far, at $900. And it took me all the way to 100% of my goal. I had no idea who this Tom was until I received an email a day later from this mystery Tom, and his wife, Heidi. They were my high school classmates that I hadn’t talked to in 15 years, but they had been following along with my business on social media, waiting for the right moment to jump in to help. They found their moment. And it gave me my moment. I was funded.

 

6. In the end, 147 people lent their money to my campaign, most lending $25. I know less than half of them. I’m grateful for all of them (especially those of you who are reading this blog). That’s 147 people who said, through their wallets, “you can do this. I believe in you.” We all know money talks, but in this case, it really did.

 

THE FUNDING

 

1. Kiva is an all or nothing lender; if you don’t reach your goal 100%, you don’t receive any of the money. And when you reach your goal? You get every single penny. There is no fee associated with the distribution.

 

2. The money is distributed via PayPal, and it’s pretty instantaneous. One day the money isn’t there, and a few days after you’re fully funded… there it is!

 

3. This is a 0% interest loan, so what you borrow, you pay back. No more.

 

4. Kiva prefers an automatic repayment setup, where they withdraw the monthly repayment from your bank account each month. At each repayment, each lender gets a percentage of their loan paid back to them – usually a few dollars each month, depending on how much they loaned. Hint: When I was determining how much money I wanted to apply for, I built-in a cushion for a few additional months. I knew that it’d be hard to start making repayments while I was getting my new products ready to sell, so I allocated a portion of my funding to, well, re-funding my lenders.

 

5. After the funding is completed, it’s recommended that you continue to update your lenders with your progress, to let them know how you’re putting their dollars to work. Sure, they care about their money, but many of them care more about your success.

 

A Inside Peek at the Kiva Loan Process with Print Therapy

 

The beauty of the Kiva process is that you’re not getting approved by some guy at a bank who deems your credit or business savviness is worth investing in. You’re getting approved by normal, every day people who deem your dream, and your story, worthy. They deem you worthy. They believe in what you believe in, and what you’re trying to do.

 

So you believe in you, too. Put yourself out there. Tell everyone and anyone why you, and your dream, and your story, are worthy. And get that money, honey.
Hi, Lela again. *wink* How much do we love Melissa, eh? I’d love to hear about your Kiva experience… please pop a comment below and let me know if you’ve given Kiva a try- either as a borrower or a lender. And if you’ve discovered other creative ways to fund your business, then I’m “all ears” to hear about those, too!