Where are they now? Gates Councilor of Burly Stone

BURLY STONE LOGO NoBg

BURLY STONE LOGO NoBg

 

Are you wondering what happens to my Brick House Branding 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?

 

I’m back with another round of “Where Are They Now?” case studies and I’m doing-cartwheels-excited to show you the serious waves my BHB graduates are making!

 

TGatesCouncilor

 

Say hello to Gates of Burly Stone

This week, I’m thrilled to introduce you to the official rooster in the Lucky Break hen house, Gates of Burly Stone. Gates recently rebranded Burly Stone after graduating from Brick House Branding, and he’s here to share how he injected a whole lotta handsome into his brand. Welcome, Gates… We’re so honored to have you!

 

LBC: Why and when did you originally launch your company?

Gates: We launched Burly Stone in April of 2014. Initially, it was just the outgrowth of a hobby – my hubby and I had started soap making in the summer of 2013. Before we knew it we were making more than two people could use, so we were giving soap away like it was candy. Once we got the hang of it, we had friends and family begging us for more, so it became a side hustle for us. When I was laid off in August of 2014, it felt like the universe giving us a sign, and it became a full-time endeavor.

 

As for the “why?”: We fell into a niche we hadn’t seen, and one that suited us: high-quality handcrafted soap made with guys in mind. We had been in business in one way or another long enough to realize that we might just have a little bit of lightning in a bottle.

 

 

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

Gates: About two years ago we started to feel like we were bouncing off the edges of our brand. By this I mean that, while still happy with Burly Stone (and we had many folks who LOVED what we had in place already), we knew that there was a limit to how far our current branding would take us. We had grown and developed new products (hand balms, shave soaps, etc.), but hadn’t planned for that growth within the brand itself, so we just started slapping stuff together and hoping it would stick. We realized that we had taken the current brand about as far as it could go.

 

We wanted to be in larger markets, bigger stores, and have a truly professional presence. Our old look wasn’t polished and cohesive enough to get us into those doors. So in summer of 2016 we knew we needed to pull the trigger on a rebrand.

 

 

The Burly Stone logo BEFORE Brick House Branding and a rebrand

The Burly Stone logo BEFORE Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

 

LBC: Please share a significant realization about the brand development process that you discovered while in Brick House Branding.

Gates: At the start of the process we were like “No worries – this will be a cakewalk. We’ll just polish some stuff up, pull together a new logo and that’ll be it.” We realized pretty quickly that doing it halfway would be far worse than not doing it at all. To do it effectively, to really arrive at a solid rebrand, you have to be willing to dig deep, to shed your preconceived notions of who and what your brand is. It’s hard work with a TON of heavy mental and emotional lifting.

 

You have to be willing to throw away EVERYTHING that came before. You may not have to, but if you’re not willing to pitch it all if needed, you may well miss the mark on your rebrand.

 

 

LBC: What professionals did you tag in to help with the process, and what pieces of the branding puzzle did you DIY? 

Gates: We are incredibly lucky that we have a very close friend who happens to be an awarding winning designer. She’s worked with multi-million dollar brands, so being able to pull her in as our designer was a huge benefit. With her, we knew the visuals of the rebrand were in good hands, so it left us free to deal with the rest. Once the packaging was done, we splurged on our product photos – we used POW (Product On White) Photos, and the results are well worth it!

 

We didn’t have the budget to farm everything else out, so we plugged away on our own. I’ve done enough writing in my time that I felt I could handle the product descriptions, “about us” page, and the other written elements. While the end results may not be worthy of Shakespeare, everything hangs together and has the right feel. We’ll count that as a win.

 

As for the web site, luckily Shopify is mostly plug and play. We found a theme we liked (the Turbo theme from Out Of The Sandbox), and pushed through. It’s not 100% where we’d like it to be, but it’s pretty damn close. We’re budgeting money for web work in the coming year. We did have a friend who does a lot of web work help us out with a few minor things – just helping us refine the look a little. Don’t be afraid to reach out to knowledgeable friends and family!

 

Burly Stone packaging + logo, BEFORE Brick House Branding and a rebrand

Burly Stone packaging + logo, BEFORE Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

 

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

Gates: FEAR.

It’s a terrifying process, deconstructing your “baby”. You’re afraid that it wasn’t good enough before, and that it won’t be good enough after. You’re afraid to fail. Each step get a little more frightening because you’re pushing your brand in new and unknown directions. BHB is a deep dive, and that dive isn’t always comfortable.

 

But then things start to click. For us it was on our second round of logos. After BHB we spent weeks setting up brand inspiration boards on Pinterest for our designer, but the first set of logos she created just weren’t working. We left that meeting with a pit in our stomach. Out of the dozen logos she had pulled together, we only saw two that had any glimmer of what we were looking for, and even those felt far off the mark. But she worked with those two, and on the second round things started to gel. Suddenly we could start to see the new brand coming to life, and the pit in our stomach wasn’t fear, but excitement.

 

Burly Stone packaging + logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

Burly Stone packaging + logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

LBC: How has your own perception of your brand evolved since graduating from Brick House Branding?

Gates: I’m glad you used the word “evolved” in the question, because that’s key. Over the course of BHB, everyone attending had their own “a-ha” moments about their brand. For us, it was that, while we tore Burly Stone down to its very foundation, the new look has its roots in where we started. Our rebrand is an evolution of our old branding. Everything we had done before wasn’t wrong, but BHB helped us clarify every single element of what makes up our brand.

 

In a nutshell? We used to say we were “Rugged with a refined edge”. Now we are “Refined with a rugged edge.” It’s a subtle difference on the surface, but it means the world to us. It’s led to massive shifts in how we speak as a brand, stores we reach out to, and who our ideal customer is.

 

 

LBC: Are your products are being received differently by others since the rebrand? How has their reaction evolved?

Gates: What’s great is that people seem to get it. They can see bits of the “old” Burly Stone in this new look, but see the overall elevation of the Burly Stone brand. People used to like our products, but now we’re starting to see that people love us as a brand. They’re running their hands across our shave soap labels and “oohing and aahing” over the look and feel. We’ve also learned how to speak to our ideal customer, and the results are starting to show. Thanks to BHB we’ve got the opportunity to develop a rabidly loyal customer base.

 

Burly Stone packaging + logo, BEFORE Brick House Branding and a rebrand

Burly Stone packaging + logo, BEFORE Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

 

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

Gates: There is a certain store that we have been dying to get into. We reached out to several times – emails and postcards, and yet we’ve never heard back from them. We reached out to them again after our rebrand and they responded along the lines of “Yes, THIS is what we were waiting for from you.”  We sent them a sample kit, so keep your fingers crossed.

 

Burly Stone packaging + logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

Burly Stone packaging + logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

LBC: How did the Brick House Branding experience help shape your branding process?

Gates: I can honestly say that without BHB, the Burly Stone rebrand would have flopped. I mean, it may have looked okay, but the foundation wouldn’t have been there. Lela lets you know right off the bat that this is going to be a deep dive, but she doesn’t just throw you in the deep end. The course is designed in a way that eases you into the rebranding process. It helps you deconstruct your brand, to peel back all the layers, and get to the heart of your brand. I can’t think of a single element of the rebrand that the course doesn’t cover – and there are dozens that I hadn’t even considered before I took BHB. I mean, who even thinks about whether or not to use exclamation points?

 

Looking back, Brick House Branding was vital to our rebrand. It’s incredibly comprehensive and well designed, and every painstaking step is soothed by Lela’s loving southern charm. BHB was a life saver for Burly Stone.

 

 

Burly Stone packaging + logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

Burly Stone packaging + logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

 

LBC: What do you wish you had known at the beginning of the brand development process? What advice would you give to someone who’s getting ready to start the brand development process?

Gates: A good, solid rebrand will take time – more time than you think. It was over a year from the start of Brick House Branding until we relaunched Burly Stone, and we were working on it constantly. Even after launch there are dozens of pieces floating around that we haven’t had the time or energy to deal with yet.

 

If you’re doing it right, rebranding is a time consuming, emotionally draining process. You can expect sleepless nights, upset stomachs, and more than one “Oh god, I’m in over my head” moment. But if you push through and follow the sage advice contained within BHB, you’ll emerge with a stronger, more thoughtful brand that ties more intimately to your ideal customer. You won’t just have a logo and products, you’ll have a brand, and that is worth its weight in gold.

 

Thanks for catching up with us, Gates! We can’ t wait to see what comes next for you + Burly Stone … We’re cheering you on!

 

If you’d like to build a stronger, smart brand in 2018, then I also hope that you’ll consider joining me in the spring semester of Brick House Branding. This 9-week brand development mentorship dissects awesome brands and then helps you build your own, brick by brick, with me working right alongside you to cheer you on and ensure that you’re on the right track. Enrollment opens on April 17!

 

 

How does your wholesale matchmaking service stack up?

DOES YOUR WHOLESALE MATCHMAKING SERVICE DESERVE YOUR FINAL ROSE?

I’ve been working in the entrepreneurial trenches as a wholesale strategist for a loooong time, consistently + intently listening to the struggles of my clients. My goal has always been to understand your pain points… the pieces of this wholesale puzzle that continually trip us up on the regular. My experiences working alongside hundreds of creative brand owners has made me deeply aware of the commonality of our obstacles:

 

• We’re not confident about which stores to approach.
• We struggle to carve out the time needed to discover new stores + introduce our work.
• We’re being passive in our communications with retailer, waiting for them to come to us. Part of that is confidence. Part of that is time. And part of that is organization.

 

So my team and I rolled up our sleeves, dug our heels in and developed a solution. A squad of nine people worked for more than 7 months to birth what is now Wholesale Matchmaker. Breathing life into this new service proved to be biggest project of my entrepreneurial career: in terms of manpower, time, and dollars invested. We’ve continued to expand and refine the service, too, launching more than 100 upgrades in the first twelve months. 

 

Team LBC has poured our hearts + souls into this project and we’ve welcomed more than 300 members in early months of the program. And while I do believe that I have the prettiest baby in all the land, I concede that I do not have the only baby in the land. I’m often asked what makes Wholesale Matchmaker so unique and I thought I’d pull back the curtain and bit and share why I’m so confident of the power that Wholesale Matchmaker delivers for moving your business forward.

 

 

DOES YOUR WHOLESALE MATCHMAKING SERVICE DESERVE YOUR FINAL ROSE?

 

 

If you’re a maker or product designer in search of a matchmaking service to tag into the ring and help you connect with new stores, then these are the questions I’d be asking any potential service providers in order to ensure that they’re the best fit for your business.

 

1. What’s their wholesale pedigree?

 

I launched my apothecary brand way back in 2003 and it’s been in continuous operation for 15 years now, turning a profit each year. I’ve never once laid off an employee, despite a decade spent in interesting economic times. Each of my globally-inspired products is still made in small batches by my team in a workshop that’s just 2.7 miles from my South Carolina home. In the course of steering that company, I’ve landed more than 1400 wholesale accounts and fulfilled 13,000+ wholesale orders. And in case you’re wondering: I bootstrapped that company every inch of the way: no loans, no grants, no, investors. Just blood, sweat, and tears… and lots of them.

 

After years of informally helping my entrepreneurial friends, I launched Lucky Break Consulting in 2012. I now simultaneously run both companies, but Lucky Break has been my labor of love for the past four years. It’s provided an opportunity to help more than 2,000 creative brand owners build their businesses. This work has proven to be both the hardest and most rewarding of my life.

 

Wholesale strategy has been the centerpiece of that work and I’ve graduated more than 300+ brands from my LBU wholesale mentorship. That gives me both a breadth + depth of wisdom about a variety of product categories: from stationery brands to jewelers and apothecary brands to apparel designers. I know wholesale like the back of my hand because I’ve enjoyed a seat on both sides of the table: as a successful product maker and as a guide for many other product designers.

 

Here’s what that experience has taught me: It’s one thing to know how to do something and it’s another thing entirely to be able to teach others how to do those same things. I feel confident wearing both of those hats and I think the success that the brands I work with are realizing is a testament to my ability to do both of those things with ease.

 

 

 

2. How do they select which stores to pair you with?

 

Wholesale Matchmaker puts some wicked cool technology into play, helping my team of retail experts connect you with best-fit stores for your unique brand. We’ve invested thousands (no, seriously… thousands) of hours building profiles for 4000+ independent, maker-friendly shops across the U.S. Each one has been hand-built by my team and then loaded into our proprietary software. We tag every store with key information: product categories, aesthetic vibe, price points, location, and more.

 

When you join Wholesale Matchmaker, we collect some important information about your brand: what products you make, how your price points play out, your past wholesale experience, what parts of the country you want to work within, the kind of stores you envision your products on the shelves of, and the kinds of brands you want to sit alongside.

 

Then we let the magic of technology do some of the heavy lifting for us. The system we’ve developed enables us to quickly sort through that library of 3000+ stores to find ones that match your specific needs. But we aren’t content to let software algorithms determine your fate. My team of retail experts carefully cross-checks each store suggestion.

 

We have your website up on one screen while we scrutinize the store profile we’ve made for each shop on another screen. Even with the magic of all that technology, we still reject 4 suggested stores for every one that we accept and match to a member. There’s an art to choosing the right shops and we know two things: a) No amount of technology can replace a discerning eye and b) Finding good stores takes time.

 

 

3. How effective are their matchmaking efforts?

 

I’ve tagged in a whip-smart team of software engineers to help me keep an eye on Wholesale Matchmaker and understand how well we’re serving our members. I can pull a flurry of reports with the push of a button, measuring a small tsunami of variables in real-time. And you better believe that my team and I watch those stats like a hawk.

 

Our current rejection rate is pretty stellar: it’s just 3.2%. Essentially, for every 100 stores we propose as a match to a member, they take a pass on about 3 of those. That means that 97 out of every 100 leads pass muster with our members and we’re pretty damn proud of that track record!

 

 

DOES YOUR WHOLESALE MATCHMAKING SERVICE DESERVE YOUR FINAL ROSE?

 

 

4. How many other brand owners do they recommend those stores to each month?

 

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how large our store portfolio is, or how many members we serve, or how pleased our members are with our matchmaking skills… if those amazing buyers are being bombarded by hundreds of our eager members each month, then the conversion rate will be lower.

 

To put it simply: if Team Lucky Break initiates a stampede that leads to the door of a single buyer, then our members will have a harder time landing the account. So we keep a pretty close eye on how often we’re recommending any single store to ensure that our member pitches get the attention they deserve.

 

I just pulled some data from the last 30 days and our most popular store was recommended to less than 5% of our members. In fact, 80% of our February 2017 store matches were suggested to 5 or fewer members last month. We keep the herd thin so you can shine, and we do that very intentionally.

 

 

5. What’s the member retention rate?

 

This is also known as “How pleased are the people?” And I’m proud to share that just 2.2% of Wholesale Matchmaker members paused their membership last month. That number is pretty steady from month-to-month and we recognize that it won’t ever be zero. We appreciate that our members may choose to take a break from wholesale, or a break from their businesses altogether. But the fact that 97.8% of them double-down each month and continuing work with us is what I’m most proud of.

 

 

6. Can this service grow with your business?

 

Success in the wholesale arena relies on an interesting web of understanding: it incorporates not just wholesale strategies, but a deep awareness of the fundamental principles of product pricing and brand development, too. My work with creative brands often taps into those other areas and I’m proud of the fact that we can support our clients in a holistic fashion.

 

We’re all pressed for time. There’s a fair number of over-hyped programs out there, making it a challenge to understand who you can count on to move your business ball forward. I love that when one of my clients needs help with a piece of their wholesale puzzle that taps into these other arenas, I have resources at the ready. They don’t have to launch a scavenger hunt for additional help or round up recommendations. And because I work with many Wholesale Matchmaker members in other facets of their business, I have an unusually holistic view of what’s happening.

 

Team Lucky Break is here to help, as much or as little as you need us. Since I’ve been deep in the entrepreneurial trenches for so many years now, I’ve developed a pretty robust support system for product-based brands and our clients appreciate how much we “get them” and simplify their business.

 

 

7. How accessible are tech support + wholesale education materials?

 

What good is help if it’s hard to reach, right?

 

Lucky Break is a bit of anomaly in the consulting world in that we actually keep office hours. You can ring us up Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm and reach a live person who understands both small business and how Wholesale Matchmaker works. We’re a small-but-mighty team of four women who are passionate about helping creative brand owners succeed. Three of us have product-based brands of our own, so this is territory we know very, very well.

 

Once you dive into the Wholesale Matchmaker community, you’ll discover a host of ways that we can support you. My ten-part “Speed Dating” video series illustrates the fundamentals of wholesale so you can polish your program… and it’s available to members 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

I also make myself available by phone twice per month to answer member questions. From triaging tricky retailer relationships to ensuring that whatever you’re working on at the moment is timed to coincide with current buying cycles, these calls keep us all on track and motivated to move forward as a community. They’re recorded in case you can’t attend live and the MP3 playbacks are portable, so you can listen in the carpool line, on the treadmill, or on the subway.

 

And we transcribe every word of those calls, too, so you can skim the table of contents and see if the information is relevant to where you are in business at the moment. If it is, you can either keep reading or reference the time stamp and fast forward the call playback to the exact minute mark you need.  Time is precious and I do my very best not to waste yours.

 

There’s a special kind of magic that happens on our group calls, too.  Sometimes you simply don’t know what questions to ask (I mean… you don’t know what you don’t know, right?).  And hearing questions from others often sparks strategy ideas for your own brand. Even better: these calls build community, which is something that so many solopreneurs crave.

 

Essentially, as a Wholesale Matchmaker member, you’re guaranteed to be on the receiving end of 2 hours of ultra-accessible wholesale support and you have the power to guide those conversations. 

 

 

 

8. What are people saying about the service, and- more importantly- why are they talking?

 

And here’s where things get a bit sticky. I made a vow long ago not to operate as an affiliate. I want my word to be my bond. When I make a recommendation, I want it to be because I believe strongly that something is right for someone, not because I’ll financially benefit from making the connection.

 

Virtually every coach and consultant I know works as an affiliate for programs they enjoy, and practically everyone I’ve tagged in to help me grow my business has recommended that I begin an affiliate program ASAP, because it could easily double my income. But that’s not my jam and I’ve never accepted a penny of affiliate money.

 

That also means that I don’t pay anyone to promote my programs either. If you see someone raving on Lucky Break or Wholesale Matchmaker, it’s because we’ve served them well. They get no kickback. No discount. No special favors. No extra anything, save for good karma and the satisfaction of knowing that they helped a fellow entrepreneur find the right product or service for them. The best recommendations are the ones you can’t buy and they’re the ones I’m most proud to have.

 

 

If you have any questions about how Wholesale Matchmaker works, who it’s designed for, or whether it’s right for you, then I hope you’ll reach out. We’re lovely peeps and we love to chat business, wholesale and otherwise. Be in touch and we’ll be happy to help!

 

 

5 Common Wholesale Mistakes (and how you can avoid them)

Common Wholesale Mistakes

No matter what you create- stationery, jewelry, apothecary products, apparel + accessories, housewares, or something else- there seem to be some common wholesale woes that bind us all together. I know them intimately, having spent so many years as a full-time maker myself. And my work as a wholesale strategist for hundreds of other brands has illuminated for me that there are a handful of pitfalls that snag us time and time again.

 

Luckily, when you know where the landmines are, you can adeptly maneuver to avoid them altogether. With that in mind, here are the most common wrinkles I see in the wholesale strategy of the makers and product designers I work with…

 

Common Wholesale Mistakes

 

1. Offering your wholesale partners a pricing structure that’s less than 50% off your retail.
Wholesale partners expect preferential pricing on the order of 50% off your suggested retail prices. I’m keenly aware that those margins can be a bit tricky, but artisans and makers don’t enjoy a free pass from retailers when it comes to pricing. They think of every square foot of shelving as real estate, and the more money they can make on any single square foot, the better.

 

Brands who offer pricing structures that are 30, 40 or even 45% off their retail necessarily hold the promise of less profit for retailers, and that’s going to be a hard, uphill climb to make the sale. The savviest buyers I know won’t even consider a product range unless it meets the golden 50% off threshold.

 

But how do you get there? The easiest path to profitability is to offer fewer products. Many of us are trying to launch too many SKUs, which keeps our creation processes running at a certain degree of inefficiency. At the same time, bloated product collections limit the quantities of raw materials and printed goods we can buy at any one time, which drives up our costs. Inefficient production process + higher material costs = an ineffective pricing model. Slim it down, friends.

 

If you need help getting a firm grip on your product costs and understanding how you can price smarter, then I humbly suggest my Price-O-Matic software. It was designed to help you do just that!

 

2. Choosing the wrong stores to approach.
Not every store is a good fit for your brand and there’s an art to knowing where to invest your time. Continually pursuing shops which aren’t a good fit drains energy and has the potential to reshape the story that you tell yourself about your business. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a voice in your head whisper…

 

“I’ll never be able to make this business a success.”

 

“I’m not cut out to be an entrepreneur.”

 

“My products aren’t good enough.”

 

I’ve noticed that a lot of that negative self-talk comes into play when brand owners have been spinning their wheels in wholesale for a while. Spinning those wheels is a dangerous affair because it slams the brakes on momentum and reshapes the story you tell yourself. However, if you chose “good fit” stores, then you’ll see success sooner and you’re more likely to press onward.

 

There are many factors that come together to create the right synergy for a successful relationship. A few questions to ask yourself:

 

• Is this shop bringing on your product through an avenue that you actually want to support (i.e. consignment, drop ship, wholesale, etc.)?

 

• Are you able to create product in the volumes needed by this store?

 

• If the account usually operates on trade credit (i.e. “net 30”), are you able to manage your cash flow in a way that enables the extension of credit to the account?

 

• Could this one account soon comprise such a disproportionately large slice of your sales that losing the account at a later date would leave the viability of your business in question?

 

• Is the store currently stocking your product category (i.e. jewelry, apparel, paper goods, etc.)?

 

• Are they currently stocking products in a similar price range that plays well with yours?

 

• Can you envision your ideal customer shopping here?

 

Those are all important factors to consider when making a determination about where to invest energy. In my work, I noticed that finding these “good fit” stores was one of the most frustrating facets of business for Lucky Break clients. So I created Wholesale Matchmaker to do the grunt work for you.  We do the heavy lift and lay 90% of the ground work so that: a) you have an expert hand guiding the process and b) you can focus your energy on the 3,128 other things your business needs from you.

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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…