Meet the Maker: Annelise Manis of Manis Creative Co

Annelise Manis of Manis Creative Co

We love introducing you to artisans via our e the “Meet the Maker” series, and we hope these introductions help illuminate the entrepreneurial journey and help you stay inspired. We’re always especially excited to introduce you to makers who are local to Atlanta (where Lucky Break is headquartered), so it’s a treat to share Annelise Manis of Manis Creative Co with you!

 

Annelise Manis of Manis Creative Co

 

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

Annelise:  I was working full time at a job I was not passionate about, and I think I just needed a creative outlet so badly that opening a shop seemed like the best option for me.  I painted all the time anyways and thought it would be a great way to earn some extra money for my husband and I. Maybe even a way to eventually ditch the day job and pursue my own business full-time!  One day I just kind of sat down and started painting, and it became my first greeting card design when I opened the shop in 2016!

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

AnneliseIt has definitely evolved over the years. What was once a predominately paper-goods company (greeting cards, art prints, etc), has now grown into the creation of meaningful keepsakes and custom designs, such as watercolor wedding illustrations, house portraits, and custom embroidered bouquets!

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Annelise: Right now you can find them by visiting my shop on Etsy. I also have been involved with a lot of local artists markets in the Atlanta area such as the Indie Craft Experience, so you can also find me there during the holiday markets!

 

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

Annelise: I really wanted my designs to be fun, quirky and playful. I started with such a love of paper goods and wanted to encourage others to slow down and make meaningful connections through stationery!

 

LBC: Walk us through a typical workday.

 

Annelise: I actually have a full-time job in addition to my business, so I pretty much never stop working in some capacity! On my days off I will *try* to get started early and make a to-do list of the main things I want to accomplish. Then if I have client work (painting/stitching) I will usually sit down to work on that in front of Netflix. I can sometimes be there for a good 5-6 hours! I’ll be the first to admit I am a terrible boss to myself! I hardly ever give myself breaks or even remember to eat lunch most days- but I am working on that!  I really try to have a cut off time in the evening to spend time with my husband, Ben. If I really have a pressing deadline then after we have some dinner and hang out for a while, it’s back to the office!

 

LBC: through a typical workday. What are 3 things entrepreneurs should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

 

Annelise:

1.Ask themselves if they really love what they do, or are they trying to sell something to gain following/fortune? It will be hard to keep up the drive and passion if they are trying to get into the game for unsustainable reasons.

 

2. Keep track of expenses and make plans to price things correctly! Think through how long it will take to complete a product and if it is something they can commit to doing year-round.

 

3. Are they prepared for hard work? There are seasons of harvest but dry spells too.  It takes a LOT of work and a lot of sacrifices to run any business. But ultimately if you love what you do, it can be the most rewarding experience ever!

 

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

Annelise:  Get off social media! Stop comparing yourself to others. One of the practices I started up a few years ago is making a list of things that I am thankful for (ex. Morning light through the window or a soft, warm bed). Even the tiniest things have the power to shift your perspective.

 

LBC: Tell us about the best business decision you’ve made to date.

Annelise: Learning when and how to say “NO”.  When I first started I said “YES” to every single request that came in. Rush order? No problem! Specialty portrait? OK!  I was overwhelmed and even though I worked 80 hour weeks I was making no money.  I’ve learned that not every client is a good fit and not every project can be fit into my calendar with my sanity intact. Sometimes you have to say “NO” to something you really want to do so that you say “YES” to something that is perfect later.

 

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

Annelise: Creating a product because you feel obligated to do so, or because it is a trend, not because you are excited about it.  I created boxed sets of cards because I felt they would sell well and be a convenient and affordable product.  I put a lot of care into printing and packaging them, and then it turned out that they hardly sold at all!  I also put hours of work into making semi-custom wedding suites for people to purchase and then add their personal information. It turned out, at least in my case, that clients would rather pay more for a custom illustration!  I am learning to focus on what my clients respond to and not to worry about offering a huge range of products.
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LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?

Annelise: 

1. Google! But really…when it comes to figuring out taxes and pricing and all that fun business jazz, blogs, and online forums actually helped a lot!

2. Make friends with other makers!  At craft shows and festivals, I was lucky enough to meet some of the nicest people at the advice and tips they shared with me about their own experiences were invaluable.

3. My husband, Ben. Without him, nothing I do would be possible. Some of my client products take upwards of 30 hours to create, and he will pick up my slack in my personal life (ex. cleaning the house/grocery shopping) so that I can work! He is also my counselor and hype man, and sacrifices for me to pursue my dream again and again. I can’t do without him 🙂

 

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

Annelise:  Manis Creative Co. will honestly probably be an embroidery based company that offers a wide array of embroidery kids, embroidered clothing, and art! It is my passion and is slowly taking over the business. It has grown my little company faster than any other product I offer and my love for it is what fuels my creativity- the possibilities are endless!

 

 

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LBC:  Your musical playlist is full of…

Annelise: My musical taste is crazy. I like what I like when I like it.  Sometimes in the same playlist, I will have The Beatles, Enya, The Backstreet Boys, and Drake.  When I paint, I usually listen to the La La Land soundtrack. When I stitch it’s usually a playlist of pop-punk bands like Blink 182, Fallout Boy, and Fountains of Wayne.  Sometimes I throw some Shania Twain in there. I’m weird.

 

 

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

Annelise: I LOVE food. But if I had to eat only one thing for the rest of my life…it would probably be a molten chocolate lava cake (right?)

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Annelise: One of my guilty pleasures is green olives.  My husband literally can’t stand them, but i could just eat them right out of the jar! I don’t know why I am so obsessed, but they are the best.

 

Thank you, Annelise, for sharing your talent with us. We absolutely love what you’re doing with Manis Creative Co, and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for you and your company. We’re cheering you on!

 

 

5 Productivity Tricks for Entrepreneurs

Lucky Break Angie showing us her 5 productivity tricks for entreprenuers

 

Running a small business means being a professional juggler. Only you’re not juggling balls you’re juggling bowling pins, and they’re conveniently on fire.  I’m here to share 5 productivity tips for entrepreneurs because when you’re a small business owner, you’re not just creating a product. You’re also a salesperson and a finance person. You’re the admin. You’re even a web developer/IT person. Layer that on top of additional obligations that you have at home. Perhaps you’re a parent or have another full-time job to make ends meet.

 

Whatever it is, there are what feels like a never-ending number of hurdles and roadblocks to prevent you from getting through your day and achieving your goals.  But for me, productivity is less about managing time, and more about managing energy and anxiety.

 

5 Productivity Tricks for Entrepreneurs

Lucky Break Angie showing us her 5 productivity tricks for entreprenuers

 

I’m Angie and I’m a member of Team Lucky Break. I also run my own product-based business called bobo design studio where I create a line of lifestyle products for travelers and wanderlust seekers. In addition to my product-based business, I also have a service-based business where I create hand lettering and illustrations for brands and for licensing. Oh, and I also live and struggle with ADHD. Needless to say, I have a lot of experience in working against the odds to get things done.

 

When I speak of ADHD, I’m not speaking of it as a descriptor for how I get distracted. I am an actual, clinically diagnosed, working with medical professionals ADHD sufferer. Lela and I often joke that ADHD is an epidemic among entrepreneurs, and I’m not betraying her trust by sharing that she struggles with the ADHD beast, too.  Attention disorders can be challenging no matter what career path you choose.

 

In terms of productivity, I’m far from having it all dialed in and figured out. My biggest struggle with regards to the ADHD is sticking to any one system long-term.  The way my brain builds habits is different than most. Consider my list of 5 productivity tricks, tools, and hacks a suggestion of where to start. Iterate on a system that’s going to be beneficial for you, even if that means frequently evolving to stay motivated and engaged in your productivity habits.

 

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Meet the Maker: Ellen Schaeffer of Persistent Sisters

Ellen of Persistent Sisters

The U.S. has been in a frenzy lately, with women’s issues at the forefront of our minds (and on the tips of our tongues). We couldn’t think of a more fitting time to introduce you to Ellen Schaeffer of Persistent Sisters, a line of women’s history trading cards and gifts that celebrate trailblazing women and provide inspiration, motivation and education for girls of all ages. Now that sounds like something we can all agree on. Take it away, Ellen!

 

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Ellen Schaeffer of Persistent Sisters

 

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

Ellen: My background is in non-profit community arts development. I wasn’t really thinking in terms of entrepreneurship, but instead about how to develop a network of sharing around the topic of women’s history.

After the 2016 election I had a strong desire for my then 11 year old daughter to have a deeper understanding of how long and hard women have been fighting for equality in all fields, including the political. My son collected baseball cards and consequently developed an impressive knowledge of athletes, and a network of similarly interested friends around the country.

Trading cards seemed like the perfect medium to spread the word about trailblazing women throughout history. But I had never developed a product before. After creating the initial set of cards, I had so many women saying to me, “We need this!” I decided to go all in, and launched a Kickstarter campaign in the fall of 2017. I then found myself knee-deep in packaging, pricing, shipping and, of course, hours and hours of research. I drew a lot of energy from the enthusiasm of the Kickstarter backers that took the leap with me.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Ellen: Persistent Sisters is an ever-expanding line of women’s history trading cards so that girls can see who they can be.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Ellen: Online at www.persistentsisters.com, on Amazon, and in many fantastic museum stores and several boutiques around the county.

 

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

Ellen: Simply as a needed and accessible resource to empower and inspire both women and older girls, and something to be collected and shared between mothers (aunts, grandmothers, etc.) and daughters. Pocket-sized sheroes!

 

LBC: Walk us through a typical workday.

Ellen: Recently I went back to work full time in the non-profit world, and my typical workday with Persistent Sisters is now very early mornings and late evenings and the weekends. It can be a challenge to find balance.

I have some fantastic graphic designers that I work with, and have brought in other illustrators for a few sets of cards. However, the day-to-day is just me. You might find me researching, running numbers, checking inventory, packaging, illustrating…all the things. Sadly there are many days when I feel like I am so enmeshed in the minutia that I lose sight of the big picture, and don’t take enough time to spread the word about Persistent Sisters. I’m always striving to find ways to manage my time more effectively.

 

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

Ellen: Everything BUT the creative. Learn what the tax implications are for an inventory based business. Choose and be very familiar with your accounting system (or find someone to do it for you). And find a way to absolutely love spreadsheets! Literally every penny counts. My life would have been a lot easier if I had taken the time to develop some systems before I was elbow deep in product development.

 

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

Ellen: I try to think about why I started the business. I pick up a few Persistent Sisters trading cards and reflect on women that have helped changed the world, often facing tremendous obstacles, without support, and on their own. A couple weeks ago, my daughter and two of her friends each submitted papers for National History Day about women’s history, inspired by the Persistent cards. This is what keeps me going on the hardest days, reflecting on the impact the cards can have on young women. The future is female!

 

LBC: Tell us about the best business decision you’ve made to date.

Ellen: I joined the Museum Store Association early on, and found an amazingly supportive group of both vendors and store buyers that were willing to answer my many questions along the way. For anyone with a product that fits in the museum store market, the Museum Store Association is a small investment with big returns. (side note from Lela: I whole-heartedly agree!)

 

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

Ellen: Oh, so many to choose from! In my first Kickstarter campaign, I wasn’t careful enough when I calculated shipping and went way over budget. I made it work, and am careful not to repeat the same mistake.

 

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

Ellen: Microsoft OneNote keeps me organized. And the library! I try to include lesser-known women, and sometimes that takes a little digging. Lastly, I would say my daughter and her access to other middle-school aged girls. They’re my ad hoc focus group and their feedback has been invaluable.

 

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

Ellen: My dream has always been for the Persistent Sisters trading cards to spark a little network of girls sharing their own dreams and visions for their future. Recently I started including blank make-it-yourself trading cards, encouraging people to share those on social media and maybe trading them with each other. There are so many more trading cards to make, but I’d also love to find ways to build and engage a community.

 

LBC: How have your interactions with Lucky Break influenced your business?

Ellen: Lucky Break provided me with some invaluable resources. I learned so much, from product descriptions to pricing strategies to line sheets. And I know there’s a lot more that I haven’t tapped into.

 

LBC: What benefits have you seen from taking classes, working with a mentor, and/or building community around your business?

Ellen: There has only been an upside. Finding resources for all of the aspects of the business where I lack knowledge allows me to stay focused in the areas that I feel more comfortable. Additionally, objective feedback is so important. Because I am primarily a one-woman show, I have sought out workshops and other learning events that allow me the opportunity to hear what others think.”

 

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

 

 

Meet the Maker: Cindy Collins of Euphoric Herbals

Euphoric Herbals

If you haven’t heard of Euphoric Herbals then I am thrilled to introduce you. When I think of female entrepreneurs who are decidedly ambitious and willing to throw almost anything at the wall to see if it sticks, Cindy’s name is one of the first that pops into my head. Pair that ambition and willingness to innovate with a good business intuition and a solid work ethic and you’ll see why Cindy’s company is on the move!
World, meet Cindy Collins.  And buckle up, because this lady is going somewhere!

 

Cindy Collins of Euphoric Herbals

 

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

Cindy: I’ve always enjoyed the process of creating and building things. It was after I got out of the military that I knew the only way I would have the autonomy I craved was going to come about through my own business. However, I never thought the products I created as a hobby would turn into a business, let alone at this capacity.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Cindy: At Euphoric Herbals, we create meaningful products for women and their families. Most of our products either were developed due to a personal need I had or my former doula clients had.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Cindy: You can find them on our website and our growing list of retailers.

 

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

Cindy: To be honest, when I first started I had no vision or thought about how my business would be defined. I was simply trying to fulfill a creative outlet while raising babies. My vision came later as my business grew, my team members grew and I grew along with it.

 

LBC: Walk us through a typical workday

Cindy: After I get my 3 boys off to school, I usually check email for any urgent issues that need to be addressed. My workdays are a bit different now than they were a few months ago that we recently opened the first herbal apothecary in our state. I bounce back and forth as needed between our manufacturing warehouse and the store to make sure the staff has what they need to complete their daily tasks. I personally attend meetings or schedule meetings, do administrative work, marketing, make sure supplies & materials are ordered and respond to a lot of emails.

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

Cindy: 1.) That they have tested the market to see if there is a demand for their product/service. 2.) Would you create this product or offer this service even if you didn’t get paid because facts are you will have to work a few years without pay typically investing any profits back into your business before you collect a paycheck or salary. 3.) Can this be scaled beyond yourself? At some point, you might actually need to hire help either employees and/or contractors and possibly outsource areas of your business to continue to scale. By doing everything in your business, you limit growth and opportunity for yourself and others.

 

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

Cindy: Remembering how much I’ve overcome to get to this moment. Sometimes you have to focus on just the immediate and urgent essential tasks that must get done today, or if not there will be negative consequences as a result.

 

LBC: Tell us about the best business decision you’ve made to date.

Cindy: Building a team. I’ve learned to work with a contract manufacturer, consultants, freelancers and have employees on my staff. It has forced me into a position of leadership and influence I never imagined. Having people on this journey with me makes all the difference.

 

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

Cindy: In 2017, we had a delay in our contract manufacturing of some of our best selling products that we use to make by hand. Our revenue dropped in half for about 3 months. We lost an estimated $60,000 in sales, seriously. I learned to run a business feast or famine. I learned how important it is to plan and project inventory and production of product, especially before you start offering wholesale. I learned that it’s always good to have back-up partners and vendors to work with. For a few weeks, while we waited on our product from our contract manufacturer we resorted to basics and temporarily made the product again by hand to get orders out to retain customers.

 

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

Cindy: 

1. CraftyBase. It helped me nail down my COG, profit % and my overhead. It’s helps us track our production, materials and inventory.

2. Gusto. It takes care of payroll, taxes, and reporting new hires.

3. Deputy for employee scheduling & time clock. I create schedules eight weeks in advance for almost 10 employees in two locations.

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

Cindy: This could get very long because I visualize this often, however, I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible. Very soon I won’t be the only full-time employee. I foresee building a team with department leads, scaling manufacturing locally in a larger warehouse and buying and importing botanicals direct from farms. Developing wholesale and distribution relationships domestically and internationally for our product collection. In regards to our herbal apothecary, opening multiple locations in key cities (I have some in mind already of course).

 

LBC: How have your interactions with Lucky Break influenced your business?

Cindy: I learned a lot about good manufacturing practices, GMP, and how to implement them in my business. It came at the right time as we were preparing to move into a new warehouse, it really helped me up the bar for team members and myself. I’ve also learned loads about wholesale though Wholesale Matchmaker and simply watching a lot of Lela’s live videos. I can’t recommend Lucky Break enough to someone just starting out!

 

LBC: What benefits have you seen from taking classes, working with a mentor, and/or building community around your business?

Cindy: Being apart of online/offline classes & workshops has helped me grow as a business owner. Getting out my local community has allowed great opportunities to meet new people to learn from as well as encourage other business owners. Additionally, opening our first retail store has provided a great platform to translate an online store offline into the community, which can be quite challenging. It has afforded me the privilege to interact face-to-face with customers regularly and truly learns what it means to fall in love with your customers and not your product.

 

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

Cindy: Cleaning, all day long.

 

LBC: Have you ever held an odd job or one you weren’t particularly fond of?

Cindy: Being in the military. I’m way too much of a free-spirit and rule breaker.

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Cindy: 60’s & 70’s folk

 

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

 

 

Lucky Break May 2019 Calendar

May 2019

The May 2019 Calendar is here. April has been a challenging month as we get the site ready for re-launch, but kittens, we are in the home stretch!

 May 2019 Calendar

 

We have our monthly call with our LBU Coaching Community on the 14th.

 

I am so excited to teach a free photo styling workshop on Facebook Live for the 16th. So be sure to mark your calendars and get your questions ready!  Anything you ever wanted to know about how to prep for a product photoshoot will be spilled in this free 1-hour session.

 

We launched our Mastermind Think Tank Group last month. We host monthly group calls for this closed group of serious entrepreneurs.  No topic is off the table. I roll up my sleeves and get in the trenches with you!

 

And we will be closed on Monday, May 28th to observe to gather ourselves, harness our chi, and celebrate the summer! (translation: lots of wine, nachos, and sunning on patios)

 

There is an insane amount of new things happening, so make sure you are following along on all we have cooking this March via our mailing list as well as on Instagram! @lelabarker and @luckybreakconsulting

 

DOWNLOAD THE MAY CALENDAR

 

May 2019