Are you ready to work with sales reps?

Are you ready to work with sales reps?

Are you ready to work with sales reps?


Next week’s curriculum unit for my LBU students is all about working with sales reps and exhibiting at trade shows.  We’re continuing to explore how to wholesale our products and sales reps are a topic of frequent discussion among creative makers. I’m excited to dive into the issue next week and really work through the nuts and bolts. I think we’re often pre-programmed to believe that we must utilize reps when working on the wholesale market, but that’s not always the case. And no matter how fabulous your sales rep is, if you’re not ready to enter that arena, then the relationship won’t ultimately be successful. How do you know if you’re ready to work with a sales rep? So glad you asked! The following in an excerpt from next week’s LBU curriculum.


Acquiring sales reps is one of the quickest, most cost-effective strategies for increasing sales.  But how do you know if you’re ready? Give yourself the greenlight if you answer the following questions in the affirmative…



Ladies + Gentlemen: Meet the inaugural class of LBU!


When I imagined the kind of women who might be interested in joining my LBU: Secrets To Wholesale Success program, I hoped it would attract brilliant creative entrepreneurs. The kind of ladies who weren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. A bevy of women who had innovative products and grand plans for them. Dreamers and do’ers who would support and empower one another.


Ladies and gentlemen: I found my people. And I found them in record time (did you hear? LBU sold out in five days). We are finishing up our second week in the program and these chicks have utterly dazzled me. They dive head-first into new curriculum videos each Monday, they rapid-fire questions during Friday Office Hour calls and they brainstorm for one another and cheer each other on all week long at our private Facebook group. Tres amazing.


I wanted you to see their shining faces, too, so I compiled the Spring 2013 edition of the LBU Yearbook. Click the image below to access a larger file and read more about twenty of the savviest entrepreneurs on the planet. I proudly present the inaugural class of LBU!




Alyssa Middleton of Vintage Body Spa in Louisville, KY

Starla Ledbetter of Roo Ranch Goat Milk Soap in Elverta, CA

Cherish Driskell of Operation Soapbox in Abilene, TX

Angela George of Angel Minaro Exquisite Beauty in Chicago, IL

Brenda Core of La Beaute Naturale in Bensalem, PA

Bethany Hilt of Vertere Skincare in Cleveland, OH

Mary Berry of Texas Beauty Labs in Plugerville, TX

Teri Patterson of Body Systems in Rapid City, SD

Linda Stevens of Studio 11 Glassworks in Dallas, GA

Kristie McNamara of Tilvee in Golden, CO

Carol Goss of Pamper Me Pure Bath & Body Alchemy in Ormond Beach, FL

Dawn Kinstley of Gruene Soapworks in New Braunfels, TX

Candace Sweeney of NaKee Natural in Jackson, MI

Kimberly Jones of Lumiere Cosmetics in New Hartford, NY

Kim Jones of Urban Tranquility in White Plains, NY

Christine Laureano of Ba6 Botanicals in Hampton Bays, NY

Roslyne Johnson of  Maya India Spa in Hempstead, NY

Debbie Richards of Big Fat Soap in Sugar Grove, IL

Joan Morais of Joan Morais Naturals in Fairfield, CA

Yolanda Cathcart of Londa’s Body Care in Roosevelt, NY


Interested in a spot in the Summer 2013 session of LBU? I’d love to welcome you! My six-week intensive kicks off July 15th and registration officially opens in late May. I can’t tell you precisely when but I can tell you that those on my mailing list will be the very first to know…


The 2 most frequently forgotten pieces of the pricing puzzle

how to price products for makers

how to price products for makers


Lately, my LBU students have been deep diving into some important costing exercises, because the first rule of wholesale is that you can’t afford NOT to know your COGS (cost of goods sold).  And this isn’t the sort of thing that you can guess or estimate. This is the very left-brained component of our typically right-brained businesses and while number-crunching doesn’t have to top our “Favorite Business Tasks” list, it should have an honored placed on our semiannual “To Do” list.


I’m so passionate about the need to crunch accurate numbers often that l even included a Product Pricing Worksheet and a Pricing Calculator Tool (think of it as a lighter version of Price-O-Matic) for each of the LBU crew. I wanted to share with you two piece s of the pricing puzzle that I often see forgotten in overall calculations. But first, a quick lesson in COGS…



how to calculate the cost of goods sold (cogs)


In their most basic form, the costs of good sold (COGS) are the combined expenses involved in bringing a product to market. For most creative entrepreneurs, those costs include…

• Raw Materials: The tangible components that compose your final product, plus product packaging

• Labor Costs: What it costs to pay someone to make that product

• Overhead Expenses: Workspace rent, utilities, insurance, phone and internet systems, etc.


Raw Materials +  Labor Expenses + Overhead  Expenses =  Cost Of Goods Sold

While pricing strategies are a dime a dozen, virtually all of them involve COGS as their core element. Simply put: you can’t attach a price to something unless you know precisely how much that something costs you to make. There are two small but important pieces to this COGS puzzle that I see left out time and time again:

a) Transportation costs for raw materials

b) Mandatory payroll taxes



A couple of neat opportunities for makers


I’ve run across a few unique opportunities this week that I wanted to share…


If you’ve ever wanted to learn to create your own bath and body products, then I’d like to introduce you to Joan Morais.  Born in Hawaii and based in California, Joan is a natural cosmetic formulator and instructor, certified aromatherapist and herbalist.  She shares her passion with burgeoning entrepreneurs by teaching a series of formulation workshops that are nothing short of brilliant. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Joan for several year now and have always known her to be a kind soul with a sincere desire to empower others. She also happens to uber-professional and quite savvy, which are qualifications that top my personal “Teacher Wish List.” For a limited time, Joan is offering three (!) scholarships to her online e-study courses. You can select from natural hair care or bath and body formulations.  The deadline to enter is April 14th and the process is blissfully simple.  Learn more at Joan’s website.


Also, if you have a creative bent and an itch to visit Morocco, then a new workshop by Project 91 might interest you. Headquartered in gorgeous Essaouira, Morocco (which just-so-happens to be my favorite city on the planet!), this UK-based charity seeks to improve the prospects of the nation’s youth. Though Morocco is a developing country with much to offer, there is a dearth of employment opportunities for this generation.  Through a series of free educational courses and job skills trainings, Project 91 seeks to educate and empower. They’re offering an intriguing workshop for creatives, spanning eight days and costing you nothing. In their words:


“Project 91 is delighted to host ‘RECYCLAGE’ with Colleen Cassar – an 8-day course in upcycling old clothes into toys, jewellery and fashion accessories, from 22 June to 8 July. The course, which will take place in the Project 91 shop, is open to Moroccan and non-Moroccan women; it is free but donations are welcome. Let’s see what we can make from the collision of Moroccan, Australian and other cultures!”


I’m completely smitten with this entire project. Spend a week in one of the most charming places I’ve ever stepped foot in and learn groovy new skills? Yes, please! Leave a comment if you’re in need of recommendations for drivers, restaurants or accommodations- I also run a nonprofit in the area and I’m happy to help connect you. Warning: once you step foot inside Essaouira, you may never want to leave…


Busier than a (insert cliche here)…


…a mosquito at a nudist colony?

…a one-armed paper hanger?

…a rooster in a henhouse?

…a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs?


You get the idea.  I’m busier than I know what to do with right now.

I feel blessed to have businesses which are parading through unstable economies (and doing so with glittery costumes and big bass drums). But the honest truth is that last night, as I pondered my calendar for the next few months, I came to the realization that I need to pause a few things in order to fully commit to a few others.


The following services are unavailable until Monday, May 27th:

* POP consultations

* Hour-long consultations

* Cosmetic Label Reviews

* Full-day VIP Jam Sessions

* Product Photography (both live and virtual art direction)


I will continue, of course, to work with my existing clients but accepting new work at this time wouldn’t be fair to anyone.  I’m fully invested in my LBU “Secrets To Wholesale Success” class. I’ve got a few speaking engagements to prepare that need preparation. I’m planning a mondo-sized event with Jessika from Oh My! Handmade (no details yet, but it’s going to be epic). Toss in two virtual classes in development and a rush of new consulting clients and, well… I need to pace myself.


I appreciate your patience and look oh-so-forward to playing again on May 27th. The amount of material I’m pulling together is dizzying and I want to fully commit to each piece of this puzzle and do them justice. Grazie!