Meet the Makers – Lizzi and Mary Bradley of Little Minnow

Meet the Maker - Little Minnow

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This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know Lizzi and Mary Bradley, the sister team behind Little Minnow – a line of accessories that are hand screen printed and sewn in Austin, Texas. Welcome, ladies!

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as entrepreneurs?

Lizzi and Mary: We both had been working full-time jobs (Mary as a high school teacher and Lizzi as a Graphic Designer) plus working on Little Minnow at night and on the weekends. The holiday season was approaching and we both didn’t feel like we could go through another one not being able to fully devote our time to Little Minnow. So we made the leap and have never looked back!

 

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

Lizzi and Mary: Our business started, well… not as a business. It really started with an idea to make some scarves for  ourselves and our sisters. After sewing up a few, we thought it would be cool to screenprint some of our designs on to them. It was right around the time that Etsy was first gaining a lot of attention, and after listing and quickly selling out, we started exploring craft shows and really building a brand around our scarves. We really had no idea it would grow the way it did. We define ourselves now as a women’s accessories brand, but who knows what the next five years will bring!?

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Lizzi and Mary: We are most known for our screen printed infinity scarves but our twist hair scarves are a close second. Each of our products is handmade from start to finish – the fabric is cut, then printed, heat-set and finally sewn. The last step is packaging and shipping it out the door!

 

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LBC: Where can we find your products?

Lizzi and Mary: We are stocked in stores all across the country. I think the only state we currently don’t have any stores is in Utah. (If any of you reading this are from Utah and own a store – you can be our first!)

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Lizzi and Mary: Our days usually start with a quick look at e-mail (we wish we could be those people who only look at their e-mail once or twice a week, or even once a day – but really, how can you resist?) and going over anything we need to get done that day. Mary spends most of her days handling wholesale/retail orders, managing finances, and making sure production is on track. Lizzi is in charge of a majority of the printing, anything we need designed, and snapping photos for social media.

 

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

Lizzi and Mary: Well, I don’t know if we are the best about giving advice on the topic since we started our business somewhat on a whim, but we’ll give it a go…

1. Do your research. Have a great idea? Awesome! Just make sure it’s not already being done.

2. Make sure you are setting your prices correctly. You might have to ask your finance major friends, or even just someone who is good with numbers… but make sure you are covering your cost of materials, time and overhead. Don’t just set your prices to what your competitors are doing – people are willing to pay more for higher quality items.

3. Don’t be afraid to evolve or make changes a long the way. We were so nervous the first time we had to make changes to our fabric colors. We were convinced there would be a flood of emails from angry people saying “the fabric use to be cream and now its ivory”. The truth is that nobody noticed, and life went on!

 

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

Lizzi and Mary: We are both list makers. Mary takes it a little more seriously, often making lists about making other lists.

 

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

Lizzi and Mary: Our decision to quit our day jobs is pretty high up there. We were fortunate enough that our business was able to support us by then, but it would have been really hard for Little Minnow to grow if we weren’t able to focus completely on it for a few years.

A second decision that really impacted our business was hiring help and teaching our processes to other people. As our business grew, we realized that we couldn’t do it all on our own. Having extra hands has allowed us to focus more on the business and less on the day-to-day production.

 

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

Lizzi and Mary: People often say that you shouldn’t mix family and business. And the truth is, sometimes we fight. It’s just the nature of being sisters and working in close proximity together. But it is often for the best. We get frustrated, we need to vent, and the next day we are always back at it, working hard (and usually with a little more awareness of each other’s needs – although neither of us is good at admitting it.)

Being honest is important in any business relationship. You don’t want to tell your business partner you like their ideas (when you don’t) just because you are afraid of hurting their feelings. You won’t feel good about the outcome or be fully on-board about where the business is going. As sisters, we have been brutally honest (and I mean really brutally) with each other since we were kids. Things haven’t changed. She will still tell me if a pair of pants make my legs look short, and I will tell her if I don’t like her hair. But in business together, we feel entirely comfortable to voice our opinions without hesitation, and even get a little bossy every once in awhile.

 

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

Lizzi and Mary: We donate to Healing Haiti, an organization that helps to bring clean water to the poor and vulnerable people living in Cite Soleil, the poorest city in Haiti.

 

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

Lizzi and Mary: 1. Our friends who also own small, creative businesses. They are so great when we have questions, need help, or just need to vent. It is such a blessing to have friends who have similar experiences and are willing to share and help out – together it is way more fun, and we’ve all found more success.

2. Our iPhones. They help us stay connected and get work done on the go, or from bed.

3. Square credit card readers – remember when you could only accept cash or had to make a carbon-copy of someone’s card and prayed it was legit? Ancient history.

 

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

Lizzi and Mary: This a very timely question, as we have been having some major discussions about the future and how we see Little Minnow growing. We both agree we want to continue to grow our brand, add more stockists, hire more employees and maybe even start a new line. We both really enjoy the design aspect of our company, so getting to a place where we can be full-time designers with a staff that helps with all of the production would be really awesome!

 

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

Lizzi and Mary: Cereal – it is such a guilty pleasure for both of us!

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Lizzi: When I need to focus, it’s all Banks and Adele.

Mary: I’m not ashamed to admit I love country music.

 

Meet the Maker - Little Minnow

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Lizzi and Mary: Eating candy when working. Sometimes we look at each other (especially when we are feeling stressed) and say “I can keep going, but I’m going to need a sweet treat,” and then someone heads to the gas station for some Hot Tamales and Peanut M&Ms.

 

LBC: If you could hire someone to do just one thing that you sort of loath doing, what would it be?

Lizzi: Resizing images for the web and convincing Mary to take pictures of me for social media.

Mary: Typing up wholesale orders and taking pictures of Lizzi for social media.

 

Thank you, Lizzi and Mary, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love what you’re doing with Little Minnow, 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!

 

Meet the Makers – Ali and Lauren Borowick of Fatty Sundays

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fattysundays1

 

This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re going behind the scenes with sister duo Ali and Lauren Borowick, co-founders of the contemporary gourmet food brand Fatty Sundays – a line of deliciously decadent (and incredibly fun) chocolate covered pretzels. Yes, please… Welcome, Ali and Lauren!

 

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

Ali + Lauren: Our Mom’s chocolate covered pretzels were the original inspiration behind Fatty Sundays. Before we got started, I was working as a graphic designer for Equinox, and my sister Lauren was supposed to work for Ernst & Young as an accountant. We couldn’t shake our idea of re-inventing  and modernizing chocolate covered pretzels. The challenge and thrill of starting a business from scratch (with no culinary background!) and sharing our crazy pretzel idea with the world was what pushed us to take the leap as entrepreneurs.

 

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

Ali + Lauren: A sister-run, family business selling modern-day chocolate covered pretzels. The go-to company for sweet + salty indulgences for all occasions.

 

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Photo Credit: Munchery

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Ali + Lauren: Fatty Sundays makes gourmet, fun-flavored chocolate covered pretzels. We’re re-inventing and modernizing everyone’s favorite sweet + salty treat with unique flavors and eye-catching packaging.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Ali + Lauren: Online at www.fattysundays.com and at gourmet retailers like Dean & DeLuca, The Plaza Todd English Food Hall, Foragers, and Handsome Dan’s, to name a few! For all of the New Yorkers reading this, we’re also at the iconic Union Square Holiday Market from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It will be our 5th year there, come visit us, rain or shine!

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Ali + Lauren: We subway, walk or bike to our offices in Brooklyn. We usually eat breakfast at our desks and scan a bunch of emails while talking about a few things that have priority for the day. After that, Spotify gets turned on! Lauren leads production, so we’ll typically discuss the schedule for the day and any other important orders coming in. The rest of the day is werk, werk, werk, werk, werk! On any given day, we’re working on a wide variety of projects, sales initiatives, social content, marketing campaigns, packaging projects, etc…As a small biz, we wear lots of hats! Lunch time comes and goes, and before we know it, the day is over (some nights later than we’d like!) Of course, we can’t forget snack time somewhere in there – we always have broken chocolate covered pretzels laying around (“rejects,” as we lovingly call them!)

 

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

Ali + Lauren: 1) Is there anything else like your product out there?

2) Do you stay up at night thinking about the idea?

3) What’s your Plan B?

 

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

Ali + Lauren: We remind ourselves that we’re making and selling chocolate covered pretzels, and that our ultimate goal is to make people happy with a delicious sweet + salty treat!

 

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

Ali + Lauren: • Taking the leap to start Fatty Sundays.

• Building out our own production and office space.

• Ultimately trusting our gut in everything we do.

• Taking Pina Colada pretzels off of the flavor list!

• Talking to a variety of mentors along the way for advice.

 

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

Ali + Lauren: Mistakes?! We don’t make mistakes… just kidding! In the bigger picture, one of the biggest challenges for us was figuring out how to make it ALL happen. When we started Fatty Sundays, we were literally making every pretzel while simultaneously mopping the floors, designing all marketing materials, and reconciling our bank account, among many other things! As we’ve grown, we’ve overcome that feeling of having to “do it all” by learning to prioritize and focus on what we are good at, and what we want to be doing. We’ve made it a point to find the best people to outsource certain things to. It’s no easy task, but something that we’re continuously working on as a growing business!

 

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

Ali + Lauren: For the month of October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) we sell hot pink pretzels and donate a portion of sales to Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This is a cause near and dear to our hearts, and we do this to honor our Aunt Laurel, who passed away from breast cancer two years ago.

 

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

Ali + Lauren: 1) Google Docs and Dropbox.

2) Our big wall calendar to see what’s ahead.

3) Quickbooks.

4) Our team! …That’s more than three, but this list could go on and on!

 

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

Ali + Lauren: In everyone’s pantry and all gourmet shops in the USA and Canada. We also hope to expand to England and Japan. We’d love to do more pop-up markets (like we do in New York City at the Union Square Holiday Market) in different cities.

 

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

Ali + Lauren: Chocolate anything!

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Ali + Lauren: Mostly pop music, sprinkled with some moody Kings of Leon and Billy Joel oldies. We’re also newly obsessed with listening to podcasts in the kitchen!

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Ali + Lauren: Dipping a Fatty Sundays pretzel into a jar of peanut butter.

 

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Thank you, Ali and Lauren, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love what you’re doing with Fatty Sundays, 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!

 

Meet the Makers – Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

 

This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re going behind the scenes with an especially inspiring, mission-driven couple: Allison and Adam Grossman, founders of The Seaweed Bath Co. in Austin, Texas. Welcome, Allison and Adam!

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as entrepreneurs?

Allison & Adam: Adam suffers from severe psoriasis. We had reached the end of the road with prescribed medications, so we started looking into alternatives. That’s when we discovered the powers of bladderwrack seaweed. We were blown away by the results Adam saw on his skin, we decided to create a line of personal care products to help others. We soon realized that using bladderwrack seaweed benefits all skin and hair types, and have built the line out to appeal to everyone.

 

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

Allison & Adam: We envisioned the business being defined by the quality of the products and the authenticity of our reason for being. Our team is now made up of inspiring people that, in their own lives, can relate to our story of turning a negative into a positive. That is how we know our vision is coming to life.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Allison & Adam: Nutrient-rich, seaweed-based bath, body and hair care products that naturally nourish and soothe all skin and hair types.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Allison & Adam: Natural products stores across the country, including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts and Natural Grocers. Online on our website (www.seaweedbathco.com), Amazon, iHerb.com and several other online retailers.

 

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Allison & Adam: As a husband and wife team with two small kids, it was imperative that we set boundaries and roles. Adam is the CEO and face of the business. He is responsible for all facets of the business. Allison manages our social media marketing efforts as well as our graphic design.

So, our day usually starts early with goals for the day over coffee in the morning. Adam heads to the office while Allison takes the kids to school. Focusing on Adam’s day from there, a check-in with the team in the morning followed by analysis of sales, inventory and other items. Then the fires start and we try to put them out as soon as possible. As a small business it is hard to move from reaction to pro-active planning.

Our team has doubled in size over the past 120 days (4 to 8 people), so Adam’s days of being in the stores constantly are now replaced with days supporting the team in their roles.

 

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

Allison & Adam: 1. Are strangers willing to provide you with capital? Friends and family will be caught up in your excitement. A stranger won’t and it is a good barometer for how well you have thought through the business.

2. What is your personal financial situation? It will take longer to reach your goals than you think. Adding personal financial stress on top of that makes it even more difficult and likely may make you quit earlier than you should.

3. What is your distribution and revenue strategy? Sounds simple, but a lot of businesses don’t fully think through how / where they will make money.

 

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

Allison & Adam: How lucky we are to be doing something we are so passionate about. Also, thinking about everything we have overcome in six years. That gives us strength, knowing that we just need to get back to doing things one step at a time.

 

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

 

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

Allison & Adam: There are two decisions we made in 2014 that changed the trajectory of the business. First, we entered into a CPG incubator here in Austin, TX called SKU (formerly Incubation Station). Through that program, we took a fresh look at our business and ended up meeting a group of investors that backed our business in a big way.

The second was our re-design. The products immediately started flying off the shelves when our new vintage beach look launched.

 

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

Allison & Adam: Your own pre-conceived perceptions and beliefs can sometimes be a detriment to your business. We hired somebody who we both liked personally, but we overlooked the person’s professional shortcomings because of the personal connection we felt. It did not work out and we had to part ways.

On the opposite side, we initially resisted a qualified candidate due to a personality we weren’t sure we would want representing us. We ended up bringing on this person, and they have propelled the business forward and we learned that we actually had a lot in common. It was a learning lesson in that you gain respect for people who are great and passionate about what they do.

 

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

Allison & Adam: We work with the Surfrider Foundation in certain areas of the country. Our team members started this on their own, and it just made sense since we are so passionate about the ocean and its amazing benefits. Keeping our beaches and our oceans clean is crucial. The Surfrider Foundation is working to stem the negative tide of trashed coastlines.

 

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

Adam: 1. My wife (she is the brains and the level-headed one).

2. A docket – every morning, I break my day into a list bifurcated by Urgent, Important and To Do.

3). TI-83 Calculator – Yes, the one from Algebra in high school. I still have it!

 

Allison: 1. My husband: he is extremely creative and passionate and always inspires me.

2. Other CPG entrepreneurs: regularly hearing their advice and about their own experiences is invaluable.

3. Google: It sounds so basic, but whenever I need to learn about a new graphic design tool or technique, I can Google it and find the right information I need almost instantly.

 

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

 

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

Allison & Adam: The Seaweed Bath Co. would be at a place where we are positively impacting thousands of lives on a daily basis. Our team continues to grow personally and professionally through our business. And that we are available wherever high-quality, natural personal care products are sold.

 

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

Allison & Adam: Ice cream.

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Allison & Adam: Our girls’ favorite songs for our jam sessions to and from school.

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Allison & Adam: These cookie dough bites from Better Bites Bakery (a local allergen-friendly baker here in Austin).

 

LBC: If you could hire someone to do just one thing that you sort of loath doing, what would it be?

Allison & Adam: Laundry. With two young kids, it never ends.

 

LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?

Allison & Adam: “Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.”  –Theodore Isaac Rubin

 

LBC: If you were given a million dollars, but were not allowed to keep a single penny for yourself, friends or family, how would you spend it or give it away?

Allison & Adam: We would donate it to National Eczema Association with an ask that they focus on continuing to find a cure for infant eczema. Our youngest daughter, Leah (2), was born with eczema from head to toe. We used our products to help get her symptoms under control, but it was (is) very difficult for us. When your child doesn’t sleep because she is itchy and scratches herself constantly, it can feel helpless. Adam has spoken to hundreds of parents who used our products for their kids’ issues, but it is different when it is your kid. We truly understood their plight and feel fortunate that we are part of the solution. But, we envision a world in 10-20 years where parents will have better, safer options to treat, and hopefully one day, cure it.

 

Thank you, Allison and Adam, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love what you’re doing with The Seaweed Bath Co., and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for you. 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!

 

Meet the Makers – Jennifer + Melissa of The Vintage Honey Shop

The Vintage Honey Shop

The Vintage Honey Shop

 

This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know best friends and sisters-in-law Jennifer and Melissa of Nashville, TN, co-founders of The Vintage Honey Shop, a brand founded on stylish, functional teething and nursing jewelry for parents + babies. Welcome, Jen + Mel!

 

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

Jen + Mel: When we started off, becoming entrepreneurs was far from what we had envisioned for our shop.  As we made little crafts here and there, we would share them on our Facebook pages, and a lot of friends and family members urged us to open up an Etsy shop.  We thought about it for a while and finally decided to open up a shop together as friends!

 

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

Jen + Mel: When we first started off selling our crafts on Etsy, we didn’t have a business plan.  We just wanted to make cute things and have a place to sell them.  It was a fun venture…a hobby, really.

We had no idea that The Vintage Honey Shop would take off, and that we actually had great business skills that had been laying dormant inside of us. Our vision for our shop has evolved and changed for us over the years; and it still does, which is great, because being an entrepreneur is a fun adventure!

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Jen + Mel: We make handmade teething and nursing necklaces.  The necklaces are fabric and wood-based.  Mom wears the necklace, and baby can safely put it in their mouth (because you know they are going to do that anyway).

Our necklaces are very popular with breastfeeding mothers as well, because when mom wears the necklace, their baby can have something to hold onto that will keep them focused on nursing – instead of looking around or pinching/scratching mom!

 

The Vintage Honey Shop

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Jen + Mel: We sell our necklaces on our website, thevintagehoneyshop.com.

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

 

Jen + Mel: There is no typical day!  Every day is new and different.

Because we are a partnership, we split up responsibilities. Melissa is in charge of our inventory and shipping operations.  We store and ship all of our necklaces from her home, which happens three times a week. On the days we do not ship, Melissa makes tags for our packages, preps orders for the next day, and does inventory on the necklaces we have in the shop.

Jennifer is responsible for the customer service side of the business, which entails emails, social media, collaborations, etcetera. She keeps all of the fabric, beads, and other supplies into making our sweet little honeys!  Jennifer also coordinates and oversees the making of necklaces with our two assistants we have hired to help us keep up with the production of our necklaces.

Since our first jobs are being stay-at-home moms, our business does come second.  We have to work around playing with our kids, school, laundry, and all the other errands that go with staying at home.

 

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

Jen + Mel: 1) Figure out and find your target audience. Until you know who you are selling to, you will be spinning your wheels!

2) Focus on branding. It was a turning point in our business when we finally figured out our brand; it took a few years of trial and error, but once we nailed it, our business took off!

3) Make a list of short-, mid- and long-term goals. Every time we are able to cross something off our list, it is a victory! It drives us to keep working and dreaming larger.

 

The Vintage Honey Shop

 

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

Jen + Mel: When we get overwhelmed, we usually take a break.  Even if it is a few days off, being able to shut our minds off of the business almost always sparks new ideas and inspiration for us! When we take a step back, a flood of ideas just pours in. And the good thing about being a partnership is that when one of us needs a break, the other one steps in and takes over!

 

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

Jen + Mel: Hiring out has been the BEST decision we have ever made – ex. hiring a graphic designer, photographer, shipping assistants, seamstresses, and even a virtual assistant.  There is no way we could do it all on our own. Scratch that; we can do it all on our own, but it wouldn’t be at the quality we want it to be! We could make our own logo…but is it going to look as good as a professional graphic designer? No!

By giving up control in a few areas, it opened us up to be able to look at the bigger picture. Our brains have a hard time shutting off when it comes to our business; it is a passion for us. But being able to delegate a few things help us to better our business and prevent burnout.

 

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

Jen + Mel: We pick different charities to donate to, but there are two that we just love.  One is a local pregnancy center that helps out newly pregnant women during their pregnancies.  We also love Midwives of Haiti, which trains women in Haiti who go around to different villages to give proper care to pregnant and postpartum women.

 

The Vintage Honey Shop

 

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

Jen + Mel: Our phones, Netflix and lots and lots of coffee! You might think we’re joking, but it is true. The majority of our business is conducted on our phones, which gives us mobility and flexibility. Netflix keeps us entertained as we sew, ship and hand-make the tags that go onto every order. And coffee…well, that is a no-brainer for any entrepreneur – especially one who is raising  little kids at the same time!

 

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

Jen + Mel: Oh boy, this is would be mystery for us. Every so often, we say, “Wow…would you imagine us being where we are now a year ago?”  We hope that we find ourselves still happy, inspired, and growing!

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Jen + Mel: We constantly have worship music blaring on our Pandora music stations as we work. It brings a calming and inspiring atmosphere to our workspaces.

 

The Vintage Honey Shop

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Jen + Mel: Chocolate!  We keep little chocolates in dishes next to our desks; it fuels us.

 

LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?

Jen + Mel: “Good, better, best…never let it rest, until good turns to better, and better turns to best!” We are not sure who originally quoted this, but we grew up hearing our Pastor saying this all of the time, and it helps keep us always make our business the best it can be.

 

Thank you, Jen + Mel, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love what you’re doing and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for The Vintage Honey Shop. 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!

 

Meet the Makers – Andie and Jason Moore of Andie’s Specialty Sweets

Meet the Maker - Andie & Jason Moore of Andie's Specialty Sweets

This week in our Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know Andie and Jason Moore, the decidedly wise, creative and sweet (pun intended) couple behind Andie’s Specialty Sweets!

 

Meet the Maker - Andie & Jason Moore of Andie's Specialty Sweets

 

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

Andie + Jason: In the winter of 2011, while still in our R&D stage, Andie introduced our Candy Vintage Buttons. The demand was immediate, with steady increase from month to month. Even though there were many uncertainties about the direction we would take and how we would structure our growth, we new we were on to something great. Jason sold his business of 15 years and jumped in, fully committed to the adventure and discovery that lay ahead of us.

 

Meet the Maker - Andie & Jason Moore of Andie's Specialty Sweets

 

 

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

Andie + Jason: Sometime early on, Andie had developed a compelling motive to attain two goals, two distinctives: a candy that is 1) hyper-realistic, and 2) scrumptious. It was not a time of business plans, direction, and goals, as much as it was thrilling discovery and possibilities. At some point, the sugar settled and we moved on to solutions; and that is when we began to define what we made as confectionery art.

 

Meet the Maker - Andie & Jason Moore of Andie's Specialty Sweets

 

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Andie + Jason: We make hand-made, made-to-order, true-to-life, confectionery art for gift giving and confection embellishing.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Andie + Jason: Etsy, for now. So much on the near horizon, though!

 

Meet the Maker - Andie & Jason Moore of Andie's Specialty Sweets

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Andie + Jason: Our work day, in a nutshell and grossly simplified,usually begins at 4 a.m. – or by the time our heads get clear by a cup of coffee. We move from customer emails to candy production to shipping, and this is the priority of our day. Any time left in the day (which for us, is at least about a 14-hour workday) is dedicated to our kids and checking off to-do’s toward our next big step for growth.

 

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

Andie + Jason: If you are going to be committed to something, you should first ask yourself, “Am I willing to give my life for this thing (am I willing to get some gray hairs)?” Next, “Does it meet a need or serve a purpose that will give it staying power, or will it be another in a sea of products?” Lastly, you will need help. Can it be scaled past your physical ability, or will your production be limited by your capability, only?

 

Meet the Maker - Andie & Jason Moore of Andie's Specialty Sweets

 

 

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

Andie + Jason: When we are overwhelmed, we remind ourselves with some basic words, and a truth. One, we learned from a dear friend, but it may have come about in the Depression era, and it is, “Do the next thing.” These little-but-mighty words produce a shifted focus on one thing, and soon the “impossible” whole is conquered. And when things go awry, which sometimes they do, and sometimes during a time when we’re already repeating, “Do the next thing,” we remember our peace with God. It’s a peace that surpasses and overrules circumstances. It’s a subjective, experiential peace, a tranquility of the soul, that aggressively affects the circumstances of life. This peace gives us the fortitude to persevere in difficult times, and allows us to think about our customers’ needs first.

 

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

Andie + Jason: I wish we could tell you about the ones we wish we had made. In all humility, we think it is by little acumen on our part, and more of a falling-in-our-lap, that we have made some good decisions.

1) We’re glad we researched the name of our business, to make sure it was not being used, so we could invest in it and protect it at the start.

2) We decided early on to replace any entertainment with business education. Because we’re excited about our business, it has been entertaining to do so.

3) Every business is different and there are so many variables to consider. For us, it was a good decision to not jump in to everything most small business conventionally do to position themselves (I.e. trade shows, a website, advertising, retail store). We did what we could do, without going into debt. If we had to borrow to do it, we waited. This waiting, although it felt wrong sometimes, allowed us time to rewrite our business plan a jillion times, and we now have no debt moving forward on what will be a leap, in a solid direction.

4) Glad we have kept a customer list. This not only brings value to your business, but also allows you direct access to people who have an interest in your product.

Meet the Maker - Andie & Jason Moore of Andie's Specialty Sweets

 

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

Andie + Jason: We have quite a story about our lowest point, and the overcoming might sound like a “lucky break,” but we’re persuaded it was a saving grace. We worked a long time and were diligent to save up for our first wholesale purchase of ingredients, and then bought the largest quantity (to secure the lowest price) from an overseas company. It arrived, but was speckled throughout with debris, and/or was damaged in some way and completely useless. When we tried to contact the company, the email and phone number had been changed, and our login info was rejected. This was a real blow, both psychologically and financially. But at our lowest point, when we thought, “okay, maybe this is it – we’re finished,” an amazing thing happened. The very next day, we were contacted by Martha Stewart Weddings, inviting us to showcase at their 2012 Wedding Party. We didn’t know how we could possibly commit after the financial blow and with the new, urgent need to purchase the same ingredients with our savings depleted and deadlines in our midst. Deciding not to spend money we didn’t have we asked the Martha folks if we could confirm in two days. We got off the phone and prayed. The very next day, we received a large overseas order, for one baby shower, that supplied us 11 times in profit what we had just lost on that bad delivery. We were able to go to NY, which in turn provided many more opportunities. We became strengthened and energized by that experience, we haven’t stopped praying, and we now purchase all our ingredients within the U.S. and as local as possible.

 

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

Andie + Jason: 1) LivePlan

2) A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to: Building a Great Business, Being a Better Leader, and Managing Ourselves, by Ari Weinzweig (Zingerman’s Publishing)

3) Each other.

 

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

Andie + Jason: Making an improved product and offering a better service. The rest is on a pencil-sketched slip of paper, hidden under our hats.

 

Meet the Maker - Andie & Jason Moore of Andie's Specialty Sweets

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Andie + Jason: Lots of podcasts and things that will make us look very uncool to anyone under the age of 60.

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Andie + Jason: It’s not even guilty, and so simple. But, it’s something we don’t get to do very often. Go to bed at a decent time, with bedside lamps on, cups of tea, a cozy clean bed, and take turns reading to each other while the other drinks their tea. As you can imagine, we really are very hip among the septuagenarian crowd.

 

LBC: If you were given a million dollars, but were not allowed to keep a single penny for yourself, friends or family, how would you spend it or give it away?

Andie + Jason: Easy. We would use it help fight the deplorable crime of human trafficking.

 

Thank you, Jason and Andie, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love your work and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for Andie’s Specialty Sweets! 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 yout!