Belize-Bound in 3, 2, 1…

Me, in my very best "Bo Derek" braids, kissing a sting ray in the Cayman Islands on last year's #IndieCruise!



On Friday afternoon, I’m boarding a plane headed for Ft. Lauderdale and the anticipation may be the death of me. From there, I’ll board a Royal Caribbean ship bound for Cozumel + Belize with 28 of my favorite entrepreneurs on the planet. Now in its third year, INDIEcruise is a mastermind session at sea, where I have the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the savviest women on the planet while sipping run-infused somethings on a beach.  That formula is a recipe for success… but if you’re not on the ship, you’ll have to take my word for it (at least this year!). I recently interviewed Donna Maria Coles Johnson, our host for the event, who gave me the skinny on the affair to share with all of you!


It’s not an exaggeration to say that the stories from years past have become somewhat of a legend. There have been snorkeling  trips in Cozumel, makeout session with stingrays in Grand Cayman, waterfall hikes in Jamaica, wobble contests in the ship’s disco, and even an tequila-infused tattoo session in Mexico (my hand to God’s- you can’t make this stuff up). I’ve met some of my best friends on this cruise and always look forward to seeing the new crop of faces (who return the next year, more often than not). This year, we’re bringing the largest group to date and two new souls have signed up for the party just this week. Bananas, yes? There are rumors of tubing through the caves of Belize and swanky beach clubs in Cozumel and all I can say is: “Yes, please.”


Me, in my very best "Bo Derek" braids, kissing a sting ray in the Cayman Islands on last year's #IndieCruise!

Me, in my very best “Bo Derek” braids, kissing a sting ray in the Cayman Islands on last year’s #IndieCruise!


I’m particularly excited this year because I’m leading a 3-hour teaching designing to help entrepreneurs land their creative goods on store shelves. I looooove wholesale and I’ve landed Bella Lucce products on the shelves of 1000+ establishments from Los Angeles to Dubai and New York to Nairobi. My decade of experience in the wholesale world has enabled me to develop a set of techniques that I’m super-eager to share with my shipmates. I’m coming armed with oodles of worksheets for our breakout sessions and I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.


I’ll be tweeting as I’m able, so consider this your invitation to the virtual party. I’m @LelaBarker on Twitter and there might be a few pics turning up at the Lucky Break Facebook, too. Bon voyage… see you soon!


Missed the IBN regulatory bootcamp? Here’s your last chance to get the goods!


More than 50 entrepreneurs from all over the country joined us for IBN Regulatory Bootcamp this past Saturday in Charlotte, NC.  Dozens more have told us they missed the boat the first time around, but they’re keen to receive all the information from the day. Donna Maria and I have arranged for the entire she-bang (395 slides, 7+ hours of audio and 64 pages of handouts) to be available for a very limited time.




You can now purchase the entire program through the Indie Beauty Network.  You’ll get 30 days of access to the full audio recording of the day, 30 days of access to almost 400 “how to” slides and 64 pages of handouts to keep forever and ever. But this offer is only available for 30 days, After that, I’m tucking the class back in my personal vault and I have no idea when I’m going to crack the safe back open and offer it again.  It’s literally everything you need to know to manufacture cleanly and according to the standards established by the federal government for cosmetic and personal care products. In one day. Read the FAQ and then grab the program while you can!



Oh yea, I went there...

Oh yea, I went there...


My motto for 2013? JFDI. No excuses. No procrastination. No fear. I asked my old friend Andy Vastagh of Boss Construction in Nashville, TN to design a poster I can frame for my office to remind me daily that it’s up to me to put on my “big girl” panties and get the hell on with it. He rose to the challenge with a gorgeous hand-pulled screen print that set my heart a flutter. Creative entrepreneurs from every corner of the web clamored for one, too and- well, here we are. Signed. Numbered. Limited edition. JFDI, baby!


Andy and I go back some 15 years. His daughter was my daughter’s very first best friend. Madee’s mom and I were running mates in high school and later delivered our first wee ones just 3 months apart. When we lived in Memphis, those girls did everything together. Eventually, I left Memphis and Andy & Co. headed out to Nashville, where Andy began building his silkscreen empire, designing gig posters for some of the hippest names in the music industry (think: The Hives, The Avett Brothers, Drake, Foster the People, Arctic Monkeys, Black Keys…yea, them).


My Cloe (left) and Madee (right), circa 2003

My Chloe (left) and Madee (right), circa 2003


Andy served up an awesome design that I’m completely smitten with. Here’s the 411 on the project:


Finished poster size: 18 x 24”

Image area: 16 x 20”

Production process: Hand-pulled  screen print 

Number of colored used: 3 Colors

Individually signed+ numbered

100lb. Natural Cougar Cover

Each print features eco-friendly, water-based, locally sourced inks.


Andy in his uber-colorful workshop in Nashville, TN


The first copy was claimed within 60 seconds of touching down at my office. My assistant Christina snatched the top copy and bemoaned the need for a tube to transport it home, saying that it was so nice that she didn’t want to roll it up! It took a bit of convincing to assure her that it would, indeed, be fine in a tube and she carted it off post haste.


Andy was generous enough to share pictures of the creation process with us. See below for a gallery snapshot from start-to-finish.


Available in very limited quantities direct from Lucky Break Consulting (and no where else on the planet). $35 includes complimentary shipping within the lower 48 states. Snatch one, build your empire and JFDI.



IBN Regulatory Bootcamp: We Made It Across The Finish Line!


Raising a toast to indies everywhere!


Whew! I am safely ensconced back home after a wild weekend at IBN Regulatory Bootcamp. I rolled into Charlotte on Friday night just in time for dinner with some of my favorite beauty entrepreneurs. We had a fabulous time together! They enjoyed generous + gorgeous margaritas while I nursed a sweet tea. I know, right? I had spent several near-sleepless nights putting the finishing touches on my curriculum and I feared that a single cocktail would either have me: a) drooling on the table or b) asleep at the table. Neither of which is very attractive, so sweet tea for me please!


Some of our live attendees from NY, MD and FL!


Saturday was the big event! Indies flew in from Maryland, Florida and New York to join others from across the Carolinas for 8 hours of rapid-fire instruction on GMP and federal regulatory compliance for personal care manufacturers. While I freely acknowledge that regulatory compliance discussions are often as much fun as a needle in the eye, dare I say we had a fabulous time? The energy in that meeting room was palpable and dozens and dozens (and dozens- I was stunned!) of entrepreneurs joined us from around the US via a live call-in option. Those virtual attendees surrendered their computer screens to me so that I could take control and push them through 395 slides (!) of information. Throw in 98 pictures of my Bella Lucce staff and facility and 64 pages of handouts and I’m certain you can appreciate my amazement that we made it through every last morsel of instruction in just 8 hours. Along the way, I fielded dozens of great questions from attendees.  We generally paused for brief 5-15 minute breaks every 60-90 minutes so that Donna Maria Coles Johnson could wipe down my forehead, squirt hot tea down my throat and slap my cheeks a few times (a la Muhammed Ali). It was quite the event! The feedback has been astounding and humbling:


We had a blast applying "I Just Got Lucky" tattoos :)


“I have been to a ton of workshops in my day. This Bootcamp was BY FAR the BEST! Rich and informative content AND a real HOW TO!!! I have my plan and I’m off to GMP my biz!”


“Fabulous seminar! It was SO MUCH EASIER than trying to extract the information from the FDA website. It wasn’t overwhelming at all, chock full yes, but very doable. So glad you covered all the material in one day.”


“Thank you so much for the GMP (Get More Mimosas-please) Class. I can’t tell you how invaluable it was…”


“It was great. I thought I already knew a lot about business but this was so much more! The organization part of it was amazing.”


“The amount of information you gave us today was insane!! #priceless. You guys are such a blessing to me!”


“Incredible day of learning today.”


Your words touched my heart and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share the day with each of you!


Donna Maria and I have fielded lots of requests over the last 36 hours to either host the class again or make the digital capture widely available. We’re percolating on a plan and will keep you posted. Until then, I can’t wait to see the domino effect this class has on GMP compliance amongst indies. I know it’s a lot of work, but I have every faith that you gals can do it.  Onward an upward! xo


Meet Jessika, my personal branding guru!


As I began to assemble the team that I wanted to surround and support me in this new Lucky Break venture, I knew I needed a brilliant graphic designer with style, spunk and pizzazz who could serve up ninja-caliber design skills on teeny weeny timetables. I searched Le Internet high and low, but my search stopped the moment I stumbled upon the great and mighty Jessika Hepburn. The amount of fabulousness that we created together can’t be contained in a single blog post, but God love Jess for trying.  You can read the inside scoop of our branding extravaganza (and enter to win my book!) at her blog right this very minute.


Jess curates an amazing community of creative entrepreneurs over at the Oh My! Handmade site. She’s a mama to two sweet’n’spunky girls and branding guru who dwells in a charming Victorian village in Nova Scotia that looks like it was ripped from a storybook. Oh, and she managed to get herself engaged to a solidly handsome fellow in December. Squeeeeee!


Jess brilliantly articulated my branding vision for Lucky Break,. Then she served up a brilliant design for my just-published book. And now we’re plotting an exotic collaboration in a faraway land that can only be described as “swoon-worthy.” But more on that later… Jessika has graciously invited me to join her community of forty seasoned OMH contributors who serve up wit, wisdom and inspiration for entrepreneurs 365 days a year. I am over-the-moon excited and will be unveiling my first contribution later this month. In the meantime, I asked Jessika to sit for an interview so that you can get acquainted with my newest best friend and her amazing community of indie business goodness…