The Lucky Break Calendar – October 2017

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It’s hard to believe October is already here. Summer has officially wound down, and we’re into the season of changing leaves and dropping temperatures and all things pumpkin spice. Let’s see a raise of hands – who here has a pumpkin spice product that is flying off the shelves this month?

While the initial holiday pitch period is also over, there are still plenty of buyers placing orders, so follow up! Follow up! Follow up! You still have a good 30 days to get your name into their inbox and to get your products onto their shelves.

This month you should also see retail sales begin to pick up, too. So pour another cup of coffee, or tea, or go pick up one more PSL, and remember that I’m always cheering you on!

 

Lucky Break October 2017 Calendar

Click. Print. Hang up. Build that empire.

 

 

The Lucky Break Calendar – September 2017

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Adios, summer! Hello school year. Many maker mamas I know are raising a toast to the return of school days, and if that’s you, I’m raising a toast to you! The days may still be warm, but come September we’re in the thick of transitioning into holiday mode for our businesses, and by now your plan should be in full swing for both wholesale and retail sales.

This month my team and I are welcoming our last semester of BHB, preparing for the next open enrollment period of BHB, and getting things ready for our annual retreat in October.

Whatever you’re up to this month, know that I’m cheering you on!

 

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The Lucky Break Calendar – June 2017

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Mercy! May was quite the month + in many ways, I think my entire team is still recovering (did you see that we threw ourselves off of a building together)? I’m spending June welcoming new members into the LBU Cohort, graduating my spring semester of Brick House Branding, and, oh yes, preparing to move my entire life to a new state. No rest for the weary!

 

I hope you’re spending some time this month getting ready to begin your holiday outreach. I know it’s only June, but I pinky promise it’s time! If you need some help with your wholesale game, then take a peek at my LBU Cohort. Enrollment is open through June 10 + I’d love to reserve a seat for you! If you’re already a member of Wholesale Matchmaker, make sure you look at your My Resource tab and download your Developing Your Holiday Game Plan PDF, and dig in!

 

Whatever you’re working on, I’m cheering you on!

 

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Road Trip Recap: Craftcation + HSCG Conference

RoadTripRecap2017

RoadTripRecap2017

 

Hitting the road to meet new people, hug the necks of my clients in person, and spend some time with the Lucky Break team is one of my very favorite things to do. This year, I set off on a 12-day journey for back-to-back live events: Craftcation in Ventura, CA and the HSCG Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Here’s a quick recap… and proof that my team really did throw themselves off 108-story tower in Vegas (crazy cats!).

 

This was my second year at Craftcation, and this event has quickly become one of my favorite weeks of the year. One part business conference, one part craft fast, one part vacation, this 4-day event is hosted at a beautiful beach-front hotel that’s delightfully serene. More than 400 attendees choose from a full slate of workshops: they can learn to sew a blouse in one workshop and then how to price products in the next hour. It’s a delicious mix of people and events, all strung together by the most wonderful sense of community. Evenings are filled with dinners, cocktail parties, craft parties, and people cross-stitching en masse by the pool. The vibe is decidedly casual and supportive and the whole damn thing is a breath of fresh air.

 

My teammate Shannon (crafty goddess) trekked to California with me. She’s amazing ground support and a master if making sure that I’m where I’m supposed to be, when I’m supposed to be there. She soothes all my tech woes and she’s great company, too. We planned a Wanderings room together (full disclosure: she planned the room and I paid for the room). “Wanderings” takes place one evening at Craftcation. Essentially, a dozen people put together a fun experience in their rooms and a few hundred people wander through. Attendees can grab a passport and get it stamped in every room. They vote for their favorite room and then drop their passports into a big box, where one winner is later pulled. Both the randomly-selected entry and the highest-rated room win free tickets to Craftcation for the following year. It’s an awesome way to meet people and it creates this fantastic sense of community that permeates all things Craftcation.

 

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SPOILER ALERT: WE WON! Shannon and I hosted the “Get Lucky Lounge” and we had a ridiculously good time doing it. Guests could emblazon themselves with gold tattoos, strike a pose in our photo booth, create a green suede tassel keychain (complete with either a horse show or a four-leaf clover) and munch on Lucky Charms (with chilled organic milk, of course). We put together a great “lucky-inspired” playlist and threw open the doors and welcomed a few hundred people into our room. Including security, who visited us twice for noise complaints (oops!). Thanks to everyone who came by and especially everyone who voted for us as their favorite. Shanon and I are already planning our Wanderings room for next year and it’s going to be EPIC… in ways that I can barely articulate.

 

I had the honor of sitting on a panel about burn out (raise your hand if you’ve been there… I swear we all have!) with the uber-amazing Tiffany Hahn. I taught workshops on laser-focusing your brand, designing line sheets that make buyers weak int he knees, and better communicating your value to buyers so you can get your price nice and high (three cheers for making good money!). We didn’t have a single empty seat in any workshop and the Craftcation team graciously brought in as many chairs as they could to contain the overflow. Despite our best efforts, there were committed peeps sitting Indian style in the back of every room. I crush on you all so very hard… thanks for making me feel so welcome at Craftcation. The juju at that event is off the charts every year!

 

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I put together a fun gallery of images from the trip… click the Lucky Break team below and you’ll be magically teleported over to it. Nicole and Delilah, the beautiful masterminds who pour their heart and soul into Craftcation put together an amazing Craftcation recap, complete with scads of gorgeous pictures. I behaved well enough to earn an invitation to join them in 2018. I hope you’ll hop on their mailing list (scroll to the veeeery bottom of that page) so you’ll be in-the-know about next year’s event. It always sells out and it’s always one hell of a good time.

 

Click this picture to head over to my gallery…

 

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Shannon and I left Ventura and headed straight to Las Vegas to juncture up with Melissa and Eileen. They flew in earlier in the day to ready the Lucky Break booth and we were able to hit the ground running when we landed thanks to their help. HSCG stands for the “Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild,” the largest trade organization for artisan personal care companies in the United States. This was my seventh (!) conference and I always look forward to the opportunity to spend time with so many Lucky Break clients.

 

I host a cocktail party for my LBU + BHB graduates each year and we never, ever seem to remember to take a picture. But trust me: it was a lovely group of people and we ran up an impressive bar tab. There were more than 35 of us this year and we had the BEST time catching up. I also taught at workshop (at 8am, to 610 people no less…) on branding. A hearty salute to everyone who was up with the sun that day to spend 90 minutes in deep business meditation with me. I hope to see you next year when the HSCG conference rolls into Atlanta.

 

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We spent conference “down time” (of which there is precious little) feasting at the feet of a 30′ tall Buddha statue at Tao, brunching over business talk at Bouchon Bistro, and celebrating a year of hard-but-fulfilling work at CUT steakhouse in Vegas. We also managed to sneak in a Cirque show (“O”… go see it!) and a jump off a 108-story tower in Las Vegas. No, really. Here’s the video…

 

 

Tell me: Is my team not amazing? We are forever preaching to our clients that business is the ultimate act of bravery. That the magic happens when you get uncomfortable. That if you’re not uncomfortable, then you’re not growing. And this was an *ahem* interesting opportunity for us to connect with that ourselves.  I am often uncomfortable. I am always growing.

 

Special thanks to the organizers of HSCG and Craftcation and the dedicated teams who ensure that these large events go off without a hitch. The magic that must happens behind the scenes boggles my mind and I’m ever-grateful for it. Special thanks, too, to the Lucky Break team, who flew across the company, and braved 7am call times at the booth, and looked adorable all day on their feet in cute shoes, and who answered approximately 8,321,065 about what exactly we do at Lucky Break. You guys are rock stars and I’m lucky to have you in my corner.

 

So here’s what I want to know: What have you done in your business that scared the hell out of you? I hope you’ll share in the comments below.  I want to hear how you #doitscared!

 

A Sneak Peek Inside the Launch of Price-O-Matic

Price-O-Matic

Price-O-Matic

 

I never set out to design software.

 

Quite the contrary, my goal in launching Lucky Break was to share the wisdom I’d gleaned over the years as I crawled deep in the entrepreneurial trenches.  But I quickly realized that some of the systems I’d established for myself were desperately needed by others. So I began my software journey in earnest, with the hope that I could help creative entrepreneurs streamline and systematize their business.

 

Price-O-Matic was my very first software launch in 2013, and it was a labor of love between my husband and me. I was so stinking proud of it the day it launched and so pleased to hear that it was having a significant impact on my client’s businesses. We gave it an aesthetic makeover in 2014, and we fine-tuned some features while we were at it. But the system was always a bit buggy because of its dependence on Excel.

 

As I continued digging deeper into the pricing struggles of my makers and product designers, I started to envision new features that could shift their mindset. Meanwhile, Excel kept upgrading their system, often throwing Price-O-Matic into a hissy fit. And Lucky Break itself had undergone a pretty new rebrand, making it visually out of synch with the software. Taking all of those factors into consideration, I decided to bite the bullet and scrap the entire program to rebuild from the ground up. I must have had an especially good night’s sleep the night before I agreed to take on the project!

 

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to design and launch software for the maker community, then I hope you enjoy this peek behind the curtain, walking you through the process of breathing life into the newly released Price-O-Matic. FAIR WARNING: Having vodka or dark chocolate nearby as you read will make this less painful…

 

At the Lucky Break team retreat that was held in Savannah, GA in October 2016, the team decided to rebuild POM from the ground up. That decision required that we commit a sizeable amount of resources (hours, energy, dollars) to the project and we began making plans to carve out the resources needed to make it happen.

 

In November, my husband (the creator of the original Price-O-Matic) and I developed a 52-page project scope, detailing how the old POM worked, along with high-level sketches of the new features we’d like to see included in the next evolution of the program.

 

We quickly engaged a prospective software team in a series of conversations about timelines, technical capabilities, and budget.

 

In December, I locked in the software team and slid a small mountain of money in their direction.

 

Shannon from Team Lucky Break spent the month of January designing wireframes for every webpage and pop-up, illustrating the page layouts and the placement of buttons, graphs, charts, and tables.

 

In February, the wireframes began to come to life as the software team undertook initial development on a top-secret testing site.

 

That same month, we hired a hand-lettering artist to begin work on new logo concepts. Shannon eventually took the raw handlettered elements and evolved them into a finished mark. She also designed the “skin” of the site, nailing down all the colors, fonts, and textures for the finished version.

 

The earliest incarnation of the new Price-O-Matic was passed back to Team Lucky Break in early March. My husband and I took round one of internal testing, creating 44 pages of detailed revisions that we slid back to the software development team.

 

They dove back in, cranking out Price-O-Matic 2.0. The Mister and I scrutinized every button, every calculation, and every graph, passing 51 more pages of revisions back to the development team.

 

Though I can’t formally confirm it, I’m pretty sure this is when the software development team unleashed a tsunami of swear words in my direction before plugging themselves into tequila IVs. My perfectionism is a blessing for our clients and sometimes a curse for my teammates. Cue tense phone call… we (thankfully) moved past it.

 

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My teammate Melissa began gathering a cohort of beta testers, comprised of both devoted POM users and new souls who were interested in putting the software through its paces before its public release. It was a careful and intentional mix of product categories and experience levels.

 

Price-O-Matic 3.0 was delivered to Team Lucky Break on April 2. More rounds of internal testing (the testing team expanded to include Lucky Break teammates Melissa and Eileen this time) netted just 15 pages of notes and revisions. At this point, our focus was on refining the user experience.

 

I spent a handsome chunk of April drafting text for all the help pop-ups. All totaled, there are 47 pages of pricing wisdom packed into those help screens.

 

Version 4.0 landed in our laps the second week of April. We tagged in the beta testing team and encouraged them to run through the software and report their findings. They rated the ease of use, recommended new features, and created snapshots of 3 fully built products. We’re eternally grateful for their willing hearts and eagle eyes, which helped us test-drive hundreds of scenarios across multiple browsers!

 

Once those screenshots made it back to us, we carefully hand-checked each calculation on every page to ensure that all the math was correct.

 

The software development team dove back in one more time, meticulously implementing dozens of adjustments to the program. And I can speak from experience here: They LOVE when you add changes in the eleventh hour to make the program easier to use. </sarcasm> We managed to sneak in a few last-minute features based on feedback from the beta testing team.

 

Team Lucky Break began designing the onboarding process. We needed a smart plan for migrating 1500+ current users to the new system. It requires some serious coordination to elegantly get all of that user data migrated over so that our current fans can hit the ground running.

 

Once the final incarnation of Price-O-Matic was finalized, development of the responsive version began, enabling POM to be accessed on tablets and smartphones.

 

The baton was passed back to me for development of the educational pieces. That included the creation of the library of video walk-throughs to help users quickly acclimate to the software. I built a meaty slide deck for the pricing workshop that accompanies the software, too.

 

I spent two days recording the pricing workshop and video tutorials before tagging in my (long-suffering) husband. Christopher spent an entire day editing and producing all of the videos to remove my ah’s and um’s and make me sound smarter and smoother than I am. Thank you, sugar!

 

With the software and educational pieces complete, we migrated all the goodness from the top-secret development site to the live Lucky Break Consulting site. How any of that happens is a mystery to me, but that’s why I have a software development team. *wink*

 

My teammates and I then worked together to create the new Price-O-Matic page at the Lucky Break website to share with the world all the awesome new goodness we have in store.

 

We launched the new Price-O-Matic on Tuesday, April 25. The launch was immediately followed by deep sighs of relief, champagne toasts, and long naps. And a good cry on my end… not the bad kind. More of the I-Felt-Like-Hercules-Trying-To-Get-Through-That-Project-And-I’m-So-Relieved-That-It’s-Over variety.

 

I’m so, so pleased with the final result and now that I’ve had a few nights of good sleep, I can absolutely affirm that every ounce of energy was worth it.

 

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There are a mind-boggling number of new features, but I’m happy to share some of my favorites…
1. POM is now universally compatible, cloud-based, and accessible from anywhere on the planet that has an internet connection.

 

2. The new version works in 5 separate currencies:
• U.S. Dollars
• Canadian Dollars
• Australian Dollars
• British Pounds
• Euros

International users can now add GST + VAT, too.

 

3. I built a new REVERSE PRICING TOOL to help you pivot to a value-based pricing mindset, and then use that mindset to create a product development budget (it takes 3 clicks and less than 1 second!) that ensures that you’ll never again develop overpriced products that miss the mark.

 

4. The new REVENUE PROJECTION CALCULATOR enables you to see the revenue paths you’ll need to carve out to in order to make the kind of money you desire each month. Tell POM what your revenue targets are and the software will automatically calculate how many units of your highest-priced, lowest-priced, and average-priced products you’ll need to move to hit that benchmark.

 

5. There’s a whole suite of printer-friendly reports that show a profitability snapshot for each product, a cost analysis for each product, and a listing of inventory items for each product. Hooray!

 

6. A new feature on the PRICING STRATEGY page helps you understand how various promotions affect your ultimate profitability. Choose from: percentage off, buy one-get one, free shipping, or buy one-get one at x% off. The software will crunch all the numbers for you to ensure you don’t lose your tuckus.

 

7. Price-O-Matic is now instantly delivered (it’s ready within 60 seconds after purchase!) and a fancy new help desk system ensures that we can service tech issues quicker and more efficiently.

 

8. The software is 36 times prettier and 94 times easier to use. Yes, I counted!

 

If you’d love to take control of your numbers, increase your profits, and sleep better at night, may I humbly suggest that you check out the new Price-O-Matic?

 

If you’ve had a chance to see the new Price-O-Matic, then I hope you’ll leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I’m eager to hear it.

 

We do offer free upgrades for life, so all current users can upgrade to this new system. I’ll leave instructions for upgrading in the comments below. I made it quick and easy… promise!