Ladies + Gentlemen: Meet the inaugural class of LBU!

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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!

 

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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…

 

COGS ARE THE EXPENSES YOU INCUR WHEN CREATING A PRODUCT AND BRINGING IT TO MARKET

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

 

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A couple of neat opportunities for makers

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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)…

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…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!

 

Happy Dance: The Oh My! Marketplace launches today

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Can you see me doing my happy dance from wherever you are? Somewhere in beautiful Savannah GA, there’s a joyful soul with bouncy brown ringlets grooving across the hardwood floors of a charming vacation house in the Historic District. Just be grateful that I’m not singing and dancing, as I am far better at one than the other…

 

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Oh My! Handmade has long been my favorite community for creative entrepreneurs (I’m even a contributor! See my 2013 Goal Mandala and my post about intellectual property protection). But editor Jessika Hepburn just added a new twist that has me uber-excited. The Oh My! Marketplace launches today, bringing together a variety of products and services qualified by a “high standard of awesome” for the benefit of creative entrepreneurs the world over. Hip, hip, hooray! I’ll let Jessika give you the 411 herself:

 

“Creative entrepreneurs rejoice! Today Oh My! Handmade launches a new creative marketplace bringing together some of the best services and supplies for growing a creative business. Now entrepreneurs have a curated source for finding designers, illustrators, print shops, developers, on/offline events, programs and much more. You can also find suppliers for creative, promotional, and packaging materials. Entrepreneurship is hard work and looking for the resources to grow a creative business can be exhausting. The Oh My! Marketplace is reinventing entrepreneurship by offering a community of knowledgeable, experienced, and generally awesome folks to help creatives at every stage of the business journey. Collaborative and creative, the friendly Oh My! Marketplace is waiting to welcome you!”

 

My favorite part? Jessika has personally vetted each and every vendor.  I’ve enjoyed many, many interactions with Jess, but every interaction we’ve ever had has reinforced her unwavering standards and high ethics. I firmly believe that having this gathering of vetted businesses really will change everything for creative entrepreneurs as they navigate the (sometimes choppy) waters of getting their gig up and running.

 

I invite you to check out Lucky Break Consulting’s personal marketplace (Seriously? Those JFDI posters are on fire) and the entire Oh My! Marketplace over here. I know how long and hard Jess has worked on this project and I am standing by the finish line with my moonwalk at the ready to throw virtual glitter on her as she crosses!