The 2018 Holiday Gift Guide: Artisan Gifts from Makers + Product Designers

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We were coming off the heels of a big election cycle in America as I sat down to design our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide. After a year that saw an tremendous divide come to light in this country, many months of side-eye as increasingly acrimonious political ads blared across our screens, and wave after wave of hurricanes and wildfires seemed to wash over us… I was ready to submerge myself in a happy bubble by curating some of my favorite products from among the Lucky Break client community.




This project became cathartic in some sense, and as I started pulling together beautiful collections of design-centric products made with heart by some of the best small businesses I know, I was once again reminded of how incredibly grateful I am for artisans. For small businesses. For communities. And for courage. The Lucky Break roster of clients has all of that in spades. It drips from our pores and its’s what drives us when we’re on our eleventh work hour of the day.


As I dug deeper, this project evolved from the Holiday Gift Guide to the Holiday Gift Encyclopedia Britannica. What began as an idea to recommend 48 gifts ballooned into 55 page catalog featuring 230+ suggestions. Forgive me… for I have a hard time editing myself when it comes to singing my clients’ praises.  I was again reminded of the magic we make together and I’m incredibly inspired by how many of these brands have moved the ball forward this year in big, big ways. You peeps have been busy!


Open the 2018 Holiday Gift Guide to discover hundreds of unique offerings from some of the amazing small businesses I have the privilege of working alongside. Whether I’ve helped them nail down their pricing strategy, or get their work into more shops, or dig deeper into their brand to better communicate the value they deliver, I’m honored to help amplify their voices.


The Holiday Gift Guide for Makers + Product Designers



The Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide





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





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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide


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


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


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


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


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


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


Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide


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


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


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


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


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


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


Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide


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


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


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


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


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


Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide


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


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


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


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


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


Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide


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


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


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


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


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


Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide


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


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


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


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


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


Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide


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


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


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


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


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


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

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



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

Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union

Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union


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

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


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

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


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

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


Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union


LBC: How would you describe what you create?

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


LBC: Walk us through your typical workday.

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


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

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

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

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


Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union


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

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


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

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


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

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


Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


Meet the Maker - Meg Sutton of Belle & Union


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

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


LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

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


LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

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


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


Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT 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 Maker – Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious

Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious

Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious


Today we’re excited to take you “behind the scenes” with Lucky Break client and Wholesale Matchmaker member Stephanie, who runs the artisan jewelry company Metalicious from her studio in New York, NY. Stephanie handcrafts family heirloom pieces from recycled metals and ethically mined gemstones – and the result is nothing short of stunning. Welcome, Stephanie – thank you for sharing your story with us!


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

Stephanie: My dad had his own computer business when I was growing up (hello, nerd family). I loved that he had the freedom to work on things he loved the most and that he could take vacations with us whenever he wanted. He was an incredibly hard worker and he taught me that failure is really an opportunity to learn how to succeed.

Growing up it seemed totally normal to be an entrepreneur, so even when I worked for other jewelry companies I knew it was only a matter of time before I had my own business. 12 years ago when my first son was born, I took a leap of faith and started Metalicious. I worked out of a small corner of my bedroom during his naptime and at night, and sold my jewelry at craft fairs on the weekends.

Over the past 10 years I’ve grown my online business to where I can rent studio space and have 2 part time employees. I feel incredibly grateful. Now it’s my own kids who think about what kind of business they will run someday. My little one loves to brainstorm ideas about how to increase sales. He even did a video “review” of my jewelry on YouTube.


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

Stephanie: When I first started Metalicious I didn’t have a plan (which is step 1 of what NOT to do). My jewelry was very geometric with hard edges and no gemstones, no color, just sterling silver, brass and bronze. I thought it was very chic and very “New York.”

Well, customers would ask me all the time to add gemstones and color, but I didn’t listen (step 2 of what not to do). After two years, my sales weren’t increasing so I finally swallowed my pride and opened myself up to my inner creativity.

The flowing swirls and colorful gemstones that now define my line brought in wonderful, new customers: people looking for alternative engagement rings and unique wedding bands. is now the place to go for couples looking for something different from what’s already out there.


Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious


LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Stephanie: I create wearable art. Jewelry that tells your story. I feel so lucky to be able to hear the stories of my customers: the mom buying buying a ring for her daughter to remind her to be strong in the face of bullying; the couple buying wedding rings that connect them to their childhood when they walked through wheat fields together; the architect proposing to his fiancée on a mountaintop. Each story is unique and I am so grateful to be a small part of their journey in life.


LBC: Where can we find your products?

Stephanie: Online exclusively at – but I’m working on connecting with retailers so that more people can find my work in person.


LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Stephanie: As a mom, wife, and business owner, it’s pretty hectic. I wake up at 6 or 6:30 and it’s a frenzy of eating, showers and getting dressed before my husband and I split walking our boys to school. Then I walk to my studio – everything is walkable in NYC and it gives me time to get into the right headspace for the day.

Once I’m at the studio, I read emails, answer customer messages, and try to get through my Inbox. My assistant Rebecca comes in 3 days a week, so when she’s there we’ll talk about the tasks we need to accomplish for the day, goals for the week, and chat for a little bit over tea. She is like my right arm at work and a wonderful person, so I really enjoy our chat time. Then depending upon what is due that week and what my goals are for the day, I will do some benchwork, work on the website (listing new items, working on photos, etc.), do research for a blog post, post on social media, plan out new designs, do “big picture” planning, etc. I work most days until 4-5pm, when I pick up my kids.

I try to carve out family time for the evenings and weekends and stick to that as much as possible. Establishing boundaries is really important for me – otherwise I could work. All. Night. The best thing I ever did was to start a ritual where I take 15 minutes before bed every night to plan out my schedule for the next day, which gets everything out of my head so that I won’t forget it the next day. It has done wonders for my productivity.


Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious


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

1) What is your goal with your business? What is the reason for it to exist?

2) Is there truly a need for what you’re selling (outside of family and friends)?

3) Would you be happy spending 60-100 hours per week doing this?


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

Stephanie: I think it’s a combination of things. Exercise helps me reduce stress, so I try to do small workouts 3-4 times a week. I also feel better when I have a plan, so I use a planner where I write out yearly, weekly and daily goals. When I feel a little lost, I go back to my goals and they help center me.


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

Stephanie: Hiring someone to help me with doing the things I’m not good at, or things that take me away from big picture thinking, is always a great decision. When I get to a point where I spend more time doing repetitive work and less time thinking about how to grow, then I know that I should look for someone to take some things off my plate. Rebecca’s position has grown from doing shipping and running errands to brainstorming marketing ideas, doing customer service, running reports, etc. You can always start by hiring someone just a few hours/week and go from there.


Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious


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

Stephanie: I was really resistant to learning about SEO, and got lazy about updating keywords. My business, which had always grown year-to-year, went flat. Luckily as a small business, I was able to make changes quickly, so I put in the time to learn about SEO and keywords, then updated my listings. Within a few weeks my business was back on track, and I learned a powerful lesson to not get complacent or lazy. You can always learn more and make adjustments in your business to stay on course.


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

Stephanie: Living in NYC, I literally walk past soup kitchens, homeless people and food lines every single day. So I’ve chosen City Harvest as my cause. They rescue over 150,000 pounds of food per day from supermarkets, restaurants, and banquets and deliver it directly to food banks and community shelters in over 500 programs across the city. They host mobile greenmarkets where they give away bags of veggies to families each week in 5 of the most needy boroughs. It’s an amazing program to volunteer for, and at the end of each year I contribute to them on behalf of my customers. Last year I was so grateful to be able to donate enough to feed 2,000 families. I’m so thankful for my awesome customers, who enable me to give back to my community.


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

Stephanie: 1) GoDaddy bookkeeping: Since my business is all online, I’m able to link all my accounts here so I can see a snapshot of how my business is doing (profit/loss). I check it daily to make sure I’m on track to hit my financial goals or to see if I’m overspending anywhere.

2) Endicia for shipping: I use the Dymo label printer with it and it changed my life. No more waiting on lines at the post office; we just print our labels and drop our packages into the mailbox. And Endicia gives free tracking, which helps me give great customer service.

3) Excel: I’m a spreadsheet maven and love analyzing my numbers. So I use Excel to create reports to track my social media, bestsellers, sales, and even to create pricing. I would kiss Excel on the mouth if I could.




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

Stephanie: In a few years, Metalicious will continue to grow as an online presence. We will have a small team of people working to delight our customers and create fresh, delicious jewelry designs. Metalicious jewelry will be available in a select group of retail stores across the world so customers can see and feel the jewelry in person.


LBC: You’re a member of our Wholesale Matchmaker program. Can you  share a bit about how being a WMM member has affected your business?

Stephanie: I found Lela right before she opened Wholesale Matchmaker and I signed up as soon as I could. It’s helped me develop linesheets and has systematized my outreach. I feel like I have a solid foundation and have been contacting stores since December.

Since joining WMM I’ve put together gorgeous linesheets that I’m proud to send out to retailers. Having everything in one place makes it really easy to do outreach and follow up, and the email templates are not only helpful but they save me tons of time figuring out what to write. I also love the calendar with the reminders, it keeps me focused on building my wholesale business on a regular schedule. I’ve been working on outreach steadily and now that I have the support of WMM I feel confident that I can make it happen.

I also did a 1-on-1 call with Lela when I was designing my website. She honed in on what made my brand unique and gave me great, actionable tasks to make a website that I’m really proud of and that resonates with my customers. Lela is a generous, kind-hearted, super smart woman and I feel so lucky and grateful to have found her and the Lucky Break team!


Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious


LBC: Lela recently made the decision to retire her flagship “how to wholesale” program LBU Live, and is rolling that extensive curriculum into Wholesale Matchmaker. You were among the first to join the LBU Cohort within WMM! Can you tell us how you feel about embarking on this new experience?
Stephanie: I am really excited about the LBU cohort because I’ve already gotten so much out of the community in the ways of support and information from the other members. So the thought of having access to the LBU program at such a great price with the additional support of other members in the group going through the same hurdles I am is an incredible gift.


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

Stephanie: It would absolutely be chocolate. It’s a big deal when I tell my kids I love them more than chocolate and if I wasn’t already married I would marry chocolate. It’s kind of scandalous now that I think about it.


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

Stephanie: Helping my kids with their homework. I hated homework as a kid and would do anything to avoid it, so now that I have to help my own kids it’s like torture. Please send us a tutor!


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

Stephanie: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt… That one line helped me shift my mindset about self-confidence in a big way.


Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious


Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love what you’re doing with Sarah Swell, and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for you and your company. We’re honored to work with you and we’re cheering you on!


Interested in Wholesale Matchmaker? Now is the time. The LBU Cohort offers 12 months of matchmaking + 12 months of wholesale education and support. A limited number of spots are made available just twice per year for 10 days – and the LBU Cohort just-so-happens to be open to new members right now! But don’t wait too long – the LBU Cohort is only open for enrollment through Monday, February 13, 2017. If we reach capacity before that date, then it will close up tight early and won’t reopen until June 2017. Click here to learn more and enroll!


Meet the Maker 2016 Roundup – Part 2

Meet the Maker 2016 Roundup Part 2

Meet the Maker 2016 Roundup Part 2


My team and I had a crazy-good time with our weekly “Meet the Maker” series this year! Each Monday, we introduced you to another product-based business that’s creating beautiful things and making waves in the process.

Last week, we shared Part 1 of this roundup series, where we’re highlighting each of the amazing makers who played with us on our MTM feature this year.  Today we’ll wrap things up with Part 2, so I hope you’ll grab a drink and cozy up for another hefty dose of year-end inspiration!


Meet the Maker - Gates of Burly Stone

T. Gates Councilor of Burly Stone

high-quality men’s grooming products


meet the maker - this paper ship

Joel and Ashley Selby of This Paper Ship

whimsical illustrations + paper goods


Meet the Maker - Sweet Jenny Belle Bakery

Jennifer Rodriguez of Sweet Jenny Belle Bakery

sweet, edible works of art


bonblissity meet the maker

Elissa Choi of Bonblissity

single-use hand and body scrubs


Melissa Camilleri - Meet the Maker - Compliment

Melissa Camilleri of Compliment

gifts to uplift


Meet the Maker - Wynne of Crowns for the People

Wynne McCormick of Crowns for the People

beautifully tactile crowns for of all ages


Paul Ocopek of Modern Moose

Paul Ocepek of Modern Moose

fun, well designed and affordable home decor products


Amanda Wright of Wit & Whistle

Amanda Wright of Wit & Whistle

witty and whistle-worthy greeting cards and paper products


Megan Eckman of Studio MME

Megan Eckman of Studio MME

approachable embroidery for modern stitchers


Annika Bentiz Chaloff of Married & Bright

Annika Benitz Chaloff of Married & Bright

quirky yet delicately handcrafted lingerie


Luke and Abby Hatteberg - Wayfaren

Luke and Abby Hatteberg of Wayfaren

high quality, travel-inspired goods



Ali and Lauren Borowick of Fatty Sundays

gourmet, fun-flavored chocolate covered pretzels


Meet the Maker - Little Minnow

Lizzi and Mary Bradley of Little Minnow

hand-printed and sewn accessories


Sarah Swell Jewelry

Sarah Greenberg of Sarah Swell

handcrafted precious metal jewelry


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