Missed the Wholesale Matchmaker Screen Share tour?

Wholesale Matchmaker Screen Share Tour

Earlier this week, I hosted a live screen share tour of my Wholesale Matchmaker service. I invited visitors deep into the belly of the software and behind the curtain of my matchmaking process in a candid peek at this powerful wholesale tool, which is designed to streamline buyer outreach efforts while keeping you focused and accountable.

 

I captured the tour on video in case you couldn’t make it to the live event. I hope you’ll pour a mug of something delicious and dive in for an intimate peek into the biggest project in Lucky Break history…

 


I’m proud of the way that Wholesale Matchmaker has helped hundreds of creative, product-based brands save time while building their confidence and building smart business systems, too.

 

If you’ve been thinking about joining my Wholesale Matchmaker community, then there’s no time like the present. Last week, I announced that I’m retiring LBU Live, the intimate wholesale mentorship that I’ve taught for the past three years. I’ve merged the LBU curriculum with the matchmaking power and software tools of Wholesale Matchmaker to help my members create unstoppable retail programs.

 

I’m calling this new membership tier the “LBU Cohort” and it’s designed to amplify the education and support within Wholesale Matchmaker in a big way. This video explains more about the LBU Cohort, but here’s what you need to know right now: the cohort is open for enrollment twice per year for just ten days.

 

The doors are open right now, and I’ve rolled out the red carpet for members through Monday, February 13th. There is a cap on participation so that I can be absolutely certain that I serve each of my members well. And if we reach capacity before February 13, then I’ll need to pull up the drawbridge and seal off the cohort early. Long story short: I wouldn’t dilly dally.

 

Have questions? Reach out to my Client Concierge team and they’ll be happy to get you squared away. Ready to reserve your seat in Wholesale Matchmaker? I’d love to have you!

Where Are They Now? Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

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Are you wondering what happens to my LBU or BHB alumni post-graduation? What they do with the momentum + new-found knowledge? Curious about where they take their businesses in the year following all that hard work? This week we’re continuing our “Where Are They Now?” series, catching up with graduates who are truly “leveling up” their creative businesses. I hope you’ll join me in cheering on these makers + product designers!

This week we’re talking to LBU alum Lisa Buteux, whose up-leveling and streamlining of her apothecary brand Comfort & Joy led to an invitation to live pitch her line to West Elm buyers. She was then accepted to host a pop up shop in her local store, as well as have her products carried by West Elm LOCAL in her area. Congratulations, Lisa…we’re excited to share your story!

 

Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

 

 

LBC: Was this your first time participating in a live pitch?

Lisa: Yes, this was my first time.

 

LBC: What did you do in advance to prepare?

Lisa: I printed copies of my “about” page and line sheet. I also put together little sample bags to give to the people I met at West Elm.

 

LBC: How were you feeling as your prepared?

Lisa: I was nervous, but excited and honored to have been given this opportunity. It felt like being pushed from the nest for the first time. It was one of those defining moments where you realize that your hard work is being recognized.

 

Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

 

LBC: What was your mindset as you walked into the pitch?

Lisa: I felt a mix of thoughts and emotions. Some of my inner conversations went something like, “Well, Lisa, here we go! This is the summation of all that you have worked for, and you have been blessed with the opportunity to share your story with the ‘big guys’… Let’s DO this!”

 

LBC: What kind of questions were asked of you during the pitch?

Lisa: They mainly focused on the story of my business, and were very interested in the “why” of my business. They were happy to hear that I also have a program where I give back to an organization that helps women and their children recover from abusive situations.

 

LBC: How long did the pitch session last and who was present?

Lisa: I pitched to two stores. Each session lasted about 15 minutes. I was interviewed by one store manager for each.

 

Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

 

LBC: What was the outcome of your pitch to West Elm?

Lisa: I am happy to share that my products were accepted into one of the West Elm stores in New York City. I will also be part of the catalog for all of the LOCAL stores in my area, so I may be in other locations as well. I have done one pop up so far, with another scheduled.

 

LBC: What role has Lucky Break played in the evolution of your business?

Lisa: Where do I start? Without Lucky Break, I would definitely not be where I am today.  I took Lela’s LBU Live “how to wholesale” course, which taught me MUCH more than how to wholesale. I really learned about all the aspects of running a small product-based business. It was the best thing I ever did for Comfort & Joy Apothecary. Lela is the quintessential mentor, and delivers courses worth their weight in gold. She digs DEEP, and is so very thorough. Lela truly cares about her students, and takes what she does very, very seriously. I am so blessed and fortunate to have met her and taken part in her programs.

 

LBC: What was the most important business lesson you learned last year?

Lisa: Stay the course. Keep fighting. Stick to your “why”. Don’t give up.

 

Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

A shot of Lisa’s West Elm pop up

 

LBC: What do you wish you had known or been better prepared for going into the pitch with West Elm? 

Lisa: I made a line sheet on the fly. Soon after that, I used Lucky Break’s VIP Line Sheet Design Service, and they created an absolutely beautiful and professional line sheet and order form for my business. I feel proud to share them with new and potential stockists.

 

Q: If you were given the opportunity to live pitch again, would you?

Lisa: Yes, absolutely!

 

 

Many thanks to Lisa for spending a few minutes with us. The entire Lucky Break team is cheering you on!

Are you an LBU or BHB Alumni with some big news to share? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “LBU/BHB ALUMNI” as the subject line. We love to celebrate alongside you and shout out your success…

Where Are They Now? Stacia Guzzo of Handcrafted HoneyBee

Stacia Guzzo - Handcrafted HoneyBee

Stacia Guzzo - Handcrafted HoneyBee

 

Are you wondering what happens to my LBU or BHB alumni post-graduation? What they do with the momentum + new-found knowledge? Curious about where they take their businesses in the year following all that hard work? This week we’re continuing our “Where Are They Now?” series, catching up with graduates who are truly “leveling up” their creative businesses. I hope you’ll join me in cheering on these makers + product designers!

 

This week we’re talking to LBU and Brick House Branding alum (and longtime Lucky Break client) Stacia Guzzo of Handcrafted HoneyBee, whose recent top-to-bottom  rebrand has been the jet fuel that propelled her business forward this year – we’re talking tripled and quadrupled wholesale accounts and sales numbers! I’m honored to have played a part in her company’s evolution, and thrilled to share the results with you here today. Welcome, Stacia!

 

Stacia Guzzo - Handcrafted HoneyBee

 

LBC: Why did you originally launch your company?

Stacia: The original inspiration for Handcrafted HoneyBee was essentially an extension of teaching my live classes in skincare. I loved being able to essentially be a “teacher-in-a-box,” and the kits allowed me to expand my teaching reach. Within a year of launching, however, I began to really want those lessons to have meaning beyond a simple skincare product, and we began to incorporate empowering messages as part of the kit experience.

 

LBC: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?

Stacia: In July of 2015, we were invited to Etsy Open Call in New York to pitch 5 major retailers—including brands like Nordstrom and Land of Nod. The overall feedback from the buyers was that our brand messaging needed refinement and that our packaging needed to step up a few notches. After coming home, I spent a few months meditating on what this was really going to mean for my brand. I asked myself: are we on a general trajectory that feels right? Are we really carving out a niche for ourselves that is in line with my strengths and passions? Along with these questions, we also looked at some practical questions. Who was really buying and using our kits? And how could we best serve that audience? The process of answering those questions led us to decide in September of 2015 that we wanted to rebrand to focus on educational skincare, and to hone our core audience to girls and young women (with tangential offerings for grown women as well).

 

Stacia Guzzo - Handcrafted HoneyBee

A Handcrafted HoneyBee kit, pre-Brick House Branding

 

LBC: What professionals did you tag in to help with the rebrand process, and what parts did you DIY?

Stacia: By October 2015, we were interviewing designers to help us with our rebrand, and by November, we had signed a contract with Aeolidia. Over the next 5 months, they built an entirely new branding package from the ground up, and then in the four months following that they crafted a custom website for us as well. In addition, we utilized Aeolidia for some of our editorial kit photography. We hired POW Photography for our simple line shot pictures as well.

After Brick House Branding, we felt really confident in our ability to write powerful and compelling copy, so we did almost all of that work ourselves. In addition, because the branding guide from our designer was so good, I have been able to DIY things for subsequent product launches (such as labels and graphics) and other brand collateral (like postcards & marketing material) pretty seamlessly. That branding guide has been gold for us. I highly recommend anyone rebranding to make sure that is part of the package!

 

LBC: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during your rebrand process?

Stacia: Once I had settled on our new direction, I felt very anxious to have it finished and in my hands (even though I knew it would be a months-long process). It was challenging to get excited about our old branding, especially when everything behind the scenes was so forward-thinking. I really had to push through that mental barrier and incentivize myself to sell through our old material!

 

Stacia Guzzo - Handcrafted HoneyBee

A Handcrafted HoneyBee kit, post-Brick House Branding

 

LBC: What, if anything, survived from your original branding?

Stacia: I think our internal goal of the kits to empower through creative exploration is still there, but it is much more focused now. But almost everything was torn down to the studs, assessed, and rebuilt—right down to our kit and skincare formulas. I’m glad about that, actually. It was important to analyze every single piece and make sure it was as strong as it could be moving forward.

 

LBC: Did the rebrand process take longer or prove to be more challenging than you anticipated?

Stacia: No—I was very impressed with Aeolidia’s commitment to deadlines and delivery dates. Nothing went longer than expected. And in many ways it proved to be easier than I expected, because we clicked with our designer from the start. There were so many times when we’d write to one another something like, “You’re in my brain!!!” So that actually made the process quite exciting.

 

Stacia Guzzo - Handcrafted HoneyBee

Handcrafted HoneyBee deodorant, pre-Brick House Branding

 

LBC: What role did Lucky Break play in your rebrand and/or in the execution of your rebrand?

Stacia: Lela was instrumental in this rebrand. She was the very first one to help me look at the feedback and the sales data with a gentle-but-honest eye. She was the one who encouraged me to be brave in considering my options (I was really, really scared of the prospect of reimagining my brand). She was also the one who helped to guide me in our private sessions as I honed in on where I really wanted to take the brand. Of course, I also should mention that Brick House Branding played a huge role in helping me prepare our materials before we approached our designer. By the time we started the process with Aeolidia, we knew exactly who our customer was, where she shopped, what kinds of imagery resonated with her. In fact, Aeolidia told us several times that we were some of the best-prepared clients they’d ever had! I owe that all to Brick House Branding and the worksheets that my husband and I worked through over and over and over to really nail our brand voice.

 

LBC: How do you feel now that you’ve come out the other side? How has your perception of your brand evolved?

Stacia: This has been the best decision for Handcrafted HoneyBee. Since the launch of our rebrand 7 months ago, our retail sales have quadrupled, our wholesale stores have tripled, and I feel very excited about the potential of where we are headed. The brand perception in general has been elevated exponentially. I’m so proud to tell people that this is my business!

 

Stacia Guzzo - Handcrafted HoneyBee

Handcrafted HoneyBee deodorant, post-Brick House Branding

 

LBC: Can you share a recent win you’ve realized because of this rebrand?

Stacia: Our Lip Balm Kit was recently recognized by the Creative Child Awards program as being the 2016 Product of the Year in the Educational Kits category; in addition, our Groovy Lamp Lip Gloss and Clay Mask Kits won the Preferred Choice Awards.

 

LBC: What advice would you give someone getting ready to start this process in their business?

Stacia: Preparation will pay off, and patience will be key. Not just patience with your designer, but patience with yourself. Patience with the process. Patience with where you are now, and patient anticipation for the “you” that is to come. Use your downtime before launch to create test groups, gather testimonials, and plan social media. And above all, allow yourself to have fun with it. Launch Day can actually be a big party rather than a stressful thing, if you allow yourself to celebrate all of your hard work!

 

Stacia Guzzo - Handcrafted HoneyBee

 

Many thanks to Stacia for spending a few minutes with us. The entire Lucky Break team is cheering you on!

Are you an LBU or BHB Alumni with some big news to share? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “LBU/BHB ALUMNI” as the subject line. We love to celebrate alongside you and shout out your success…

 

Where Are They Now? Sharon Czekala of Places Soap

A "before" shot of Great Lakes Natural Soap Company products, pre-LBU and BHB

Sharon Czekala of Places Soap

Are you wondering what happens to my LBU or BHB alumni post-graduation? What they do with the momentum + new-found knowledge? Curious about where they take their businesses in the year following all that hard work? This week we’re continuing a new series in which we’re catching up with graduates who are truly “leveling up” their creative businesses. I hope you’ll join me in cheering on these makers + product designers!

This week we’re talking to LBU and Brick House Branding alum Sharon Czekala, who recently launched a top-to-bottom rebrand of her soap brand Places, formerly known as The Great Lakes Natural Soap Company. We are honored to share how she dug deep in committing the investment of time, money, and soul-searching that led to this gorgeous new brand-on-the-rise. Welcome, Sharon!

 

Sharon Czekala of Places Soap

 

LBC: Why did you originally launch your company?

Sharon: I quit my corporate HR job to stay home after my son was born. Once he started preschool, I knew it was time to either go back to corporate or do something on my own. I’ve always loved to cook, but at the time a home-based food business wasn’t legal, so I looked for something that combined my love of cooking with my passion for gardening and growing herbs. An apothecary business was the perfect choice.

 

LBC: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?

Sharon: HA! We ‘rebranded’ multiple times. But because we had no foundation, every new round of label design and random new products just took us farther along the path to being generic. After LBU, I accepted what I think I knew all along – it was going to take a huge effort and a lot of time and money to finally get it right.

 

A “before” shot of Great Lakes Natural Soap Company products, pre-LBU and BHB

 

LBC: What professionals did you tag in to help with the rebrand process, and what parts did you opt to DIY?

Sharon: We interviewed a number of branding/graphics companies before deciding on We Are Branch from Portland, OR. Shauna was awesome to work with, and really kept me on track and focused. Being able to provide her upfront with all of my completed Brick House Branding materials made a huge difference and she was thrilled with the comprehensive nature of it. It saved a lot of time at the beginning.

We also went from printing our own labels to custom-printed labels from Lightning Labels, and we had custom soap boxes designed by YourBoxSolutions. Product photography was done by Ian Curcio. A professional web site is planned for next year.

 

LBC: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during the rebranding process?

Sharon: Moving to a new graphic design firm. Prior to 2016, all of our design had been done by the same person, who had been with us for 12 years. Recognizing that she would not be able to take us to the next level and severing that relationship was painful, but necessary.

 

LBC: What, if anything, survived from your original branding?

Sharon: Nothing. At all.

 

A “before” shot of Great Lakes Natural Soap Company products, pre-LBU and BHB

 

LBC: Did the rebranding process take longer or prove to be more challenging than you anticipated?

Sharon: I took a lot longer than I ever imagined. The good news is that all that extra time meant there was a lot of time to really think through every step we were taking, so at the end I felt truly confident that everything was right.

The other advantage to a lengthy process is that the expenses were spread over a longer time period, and it was much easier to afford than I had originally anticipated.

 

LBC: What role did Lucky Break play in your decision to rebrand and/or in the execution of your rebrand?

Sharon: I wasn’t happy about how my brand looked when I started LBU, but I was anticipating just making some cosmetic changes. Between LBU and BHB, it became apparent that the changes we needed to make were going to be much deeper and more significant than ever before.

 

 

LBC: How you do you feel now that you’ve come out the other side? How has your perception of your brand evolved?

Sharon: My brand now reflects what I truly wanted it to convey. It’s more focused, and much easier to know what products are going to fit and what we shouldn’t waste time on. Everything just seems easier now – like we have a map to getting where we want to go, instead of just taking whatever path opens up in front of us.

 

 

LBC: Can you share a recent win that you’ve realized because of this rebrand?

Sharon: A large arts center is being built near us in Canton. Two days after we launched, they contacted us to be one of their boutiques when they open!

 

 

LBC: What advice would you give to somebody getting ready to start this process in their business?

Sharon: Let go of every preconceived notion that you have regarding your brand, and really open yourself up to hear things that may not be easy to hear.

Allow plenty of time for the rebrand, and view that as a good thing.

 

 

Many thanks to Sharon for spending a few minutes with us. The entire Lucky Break team is cheering you on!

Are you an LBU or BHB Alumni with some big news to share? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “LBU/BHB ALUMNI” as the subject line. We love to celebrate alongside you and shout out your success…

 

Where Are They Now? Aubrey Miller of REDBUDSUDS

Aubrey Miller of REDBUDSUDS

rbs_mainlogo_500px

 

Are you wondering what happens to my LBU or BHB alumni post-graduation? What they do with the momentum + new-found knowledge? Curious about where they take their businesses in the year following all that hard work? This week we’re continuing a new series in which we’re catching up with graduates who are truly “leveling up” their creative businesses. I hope you’ll join me in cheering on these makers + product designers!

This week we’re talking to LBU and Brick House Branding alum Aubrey Miller, who recently launched a complete rebrand of her company REDBUDSUDS (formerly known as Redbud Suds Soap Company). After months and months of hard work, her resulting branding is a thing of beauty, from the inside out. I’m thrilled to be sharing her transformation with you today. Welcome, Aubrey!

 

Aubrey Miller of REDBUDSUDS

 

LBC: Why did you originally launch your company?

I started my handcrafted business Redbud Suds Soap Company because I was in between jobs, happened to have a little extra time on my hands and had just fallen head-over-heels for soap making. Turning the hobby into a business seemed like a no-brainer. What else was I going to do with all that soap? I had no idea what Pandora’s box I had opened!

 

LBC: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?

The tipping point for me was when I decided to turn my accidental hobby-business into a purposeful, full-time venture. Two things compelled me to invest in a rebrand:

First, the heart of the company (the mission) needed to be brought from the background into the foreground. My personal life goal is to get people excited about examining their personal habits and making better choices for the environment. I knew by incorporating my life passion into my brand, I would have the fuel I needed to keep at it when the going gets rough. Because, let’s be honest – getting a business off the ground is frickin’ hard.

The other reason was practical: as I dug deeper into the actual business of my business, it was clear that the value of the products wasn’t adequately being represented by the current branding. If I was going to run a sustainable business (aka stay in business), I needed to shift my price points. Rebranding as REDBUDSUDS has freed me to effectively communicate the value of what I create and allows me to ask what its worth with confidence.

 

redbudsuds-medley-and-chocolatte

A “before” shot of Redbud Suds Soap Co. products, pre-BHB and LBU

 

LBC: What professionals did you tag in to help with the rebrand process, and what parts did you opt to DIY?

After DIY-ing the entire first rendition of Redbud Suds, I was eager to have a professional take my ideas (honed by a lot of hard work in Lela’s Brick House Branding and Lucky Break University) and pair them with stellar visuals.

I searched for a long time before I found a professional graphic designer / web designer / web developer who felt like a good fit. I also opted for professional photographs for my website.

It was really hard for me to let go of doing “all of the things.” But bringing professionals on board has actually helped me clarify and focus. Now with REDBUDSUDS I can create and market what I do far more efficiently and strategically.

 

LBC: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during the rebranding process?

My biggest obstacle was (and is) learning a new kind of workflow. I have to be organized.  I have to plan ahead. This is a must when working with others, and especially when working with a limited budget. Staying organized is hard for me because I’m always on the go, always feeling like I need to be “doing” something. It takes conscious effort for me to stop, organize, and plan. But planning, prioritizing, and creating systems is so important – for growth and for sanity. So important.

 

Aubrey Miller of REDBUDSUDS

An “after” shot of REDBUDSUDS soap, post-BHB and LBU

 

LBC: What, if anything, survived from your original branding?

Pretty much everything changed! The name is really the only thing that remained (mostly) intact: Redbud Suds Soap Company to REDBUDSUDS.

 

LBC: Did the rebranding process take longer or prove to be more challenging than you anticipated?

Longer? Yes. Cost more money? Yes. Feel scary, like, “what the heck am I doing?” Yes. When you build a business from scratch, every single day means confronting some kind of fear. But the dream of seeing the vision in my head play out in real time makes all the effort completely worth it. I am finally confident enough to reach out and pitch my products. Already since rebranding REDBUDSUDS I have had some pretty incredible opportunities for collaboration that definitely wouldn’t have happened before.

 

Aubrey Miller of REDBUDSUDS

 

LBC: What role did Lucky Break play in your decision to rebrand and/or in the execution of your rebrand?

I blame Lucky Break for everything! I’m kidding, but in all seriousness, the resources, the rich coursework, and the LBU Alumni Coaching Community that Lela and the Lucky Break team offers has given me a handle on how to approach this wild world of entrepreneurship in a way that feels manageable…usually. I appreciate how Lucky Break doesn’t pretend to hand answers to you on a silver platter, but rather teaches you how to start asking the right questions. Running a handmade business is a constant learning process, and Lucky Break is like a toolbox filled with tools that ask questions, too.

 

LBC: How you do you feel now that you’ve come out the other side? How has your perception of your brand evolved?

I am SO excited to finally be able to share this hard work with the world. It feels great to have high-quality graphics and photography to back up the quality and the positive environmental message that was there since the beginning.

 

Aubrey Miller of REDBUDSUDS

 

LBC: Can you share a recent win that you’ve realized because of this rebrand?

Yes! I am thrilled and honored to have been selected to team up with Pleasant Valley Trailers, an awesome company that makes vintage-style teardrop trailers and mini-RVs.

Starting July 2016, REDBUDSUDS shower bars will be included in every purchase of a T@B, T@G, Little Guy, Silver Shadow and myPod teardrop trailer and Cirrus truck campers all across the USA. I’m so excited that our “adventure soap” can be used to help new owners of these mini-RV’s feel at home in their new spaces!

 

LBC: What advice would you give to somebody getting ready to start this process in their business?

First and foremost, know what your end goal is. Who is your ideal customer? What are your ideal sales channels? Wholesale? Brick and mortar? Online? Honing your preferred end customer and desired sales channels before you begin the process will save a lot of headache. Even though it’s a giant pain to figure out, you will only have to do it once instead of confronting the question every single time you face a new opportunity.

Also, remember that no one conquers the world in a day. Give yourself the grace. Focus on doing do one thing well every day. Simple daily efforts truly do add up to big things.

 

Aubrey Miller of REDBUDSUDS

 

Many thanks to Aubrey for spending a few minutes with us. The entire Lucky Break team is cheering you on!

 

Are you an LBU or BHB Alumni with some big news to share? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “LBU/BHB ALUMNI” as the subject line. We love to celebrate alongside you and shout out your success…

 

Psssst! Enrollment for BHB + LBU is now open! I’ve opened up enrollment for both of my flagship programs + this is the last time they’ll be open for enrollment in 2016. Class will begin in January of 2017, but now is the time to reserve your seat. I’d love to save one for you!

Ready to build your brand, brick by brick, from the ground up? Learn more about Brick House Branding.

Ready to build a wholesale program that will wow buyers and keep them coming back for more? Learn more about LBU Live.