Road Trip Recap: Craftcation + HSCG Conference




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.



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!



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…



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.



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!


Shall I save a seat for you at 2×4 Live?


In 2008, I was summoned to Washington DC to serve as a small business advocate before Congressional members who were debating an overhaul of federal cosmetic regulations.  Little did I know how drastically that trip would change my life!


2x4 live


Somewhere between dashing down the halls of Congress and sweating my ass off around the FDA offices in DC in the middle of summer, the seeds of some of my most important relationships were sown. Donna Maria of Indie Beauty, Anne Marie of Brambleberry, and Kayla Fioravanti of KaylaFioravanti (celebrated writer + former owner of Essential Wholesale) and I became more than partners in a legislative crusade… we became dear friends.


In the 7+ years that have ensued, we’ve become accountability partners and support systems for one another. We’ve celebrated the births of babies, marked the passing of loved ones, toasted accomplishments in our personal and professional lives, and gotten into some fantastically naughty fun (Cocktails with comedian Tom Green? Check. Tattoos in Mexico? Check.)  I had no idea how pivotal a “tribe” was in business until I had one- a team of people to cheer me on, hold my feet to the fire, provide solid guidance in times of tumult, and a support system who’s always ready to raise a toast to a job well done. We truly “get” each other and these relationships have become some of the richest of my adult life.



2x4 live


Which is why I’m ridiculously excited to share a “secret project” that the ladies and I have been quietly planning for  months.  We’re hosting an intimate gathering of makers + shakers in sunny Nashville, TN for two days of empire-building goodness.  Kayla, Anne Marie, Donna Maria and I have very different areas of strength and you’ll benefit from time with each of us.


A mix of wisdom-filled workshops, enlightening panel discussions, and small group breakouts, 2×4 Live is a once-in-a-lifetime gathering designed to propel your business forward under the mentorship of three of the most dynamic and successful business women I know! Collectively, we’ve spent more than 50 years as entrepreneurs and we’ve launched more than two dozen brands. Together, our companies have generated more than 9 figures in revenue (yes, that’s $100million+), and we’re really eager to share the ups + downs, the ins + outs of building a business with a determined group of makers on the move.


We have a very special weekend on tap and I’d love to save a seat especially for you. Seating is extremely limited and almost 50% of tickets have been reserved in the first 48 hours, so I don’t recommend waffling on this one.  Grab a spot and mark your calendar for 2 days with 4 mentors for one business-changing weekend!


Snag your spot before they’re gone…

Join me at Craftcation in April!

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Whaddya up to this April? I hope you’ll come join me at Craftcation in Ventura, California for four days of makerly and business fun. I’ll be there enjoying the gorgeous California sunshine and teaching a few sessions on branding, alongside some amazing makers + business mavens and I can’t wait to share my knowledge with you. Also on tap? Hands-on food and craft workshops, lectures, and interactive panels. Sounds too good to miss, doesn’t it?


As an added bonus, one of my 2016 LBU Experts will be speaking at Craftcation, too. I’m thrilled to present alongside Caitlin Bacher as she gives the lowdown on social media. I’ll be there taking notes!


Craftcation Business + Makers Conference


When: Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 9:00 AM  Sunday, April 10, 2016

Where: The Ventura Beach Marriott in Ventura, California

Early bird tickets are on sale now! Grab yours before they’re gone on January 10th. You can reserve yours here.


I hope to see you there!


Meet me in New Orleans!


Have you heard? I’m heading to New Orleans next month for a special event sponsored by Stay Local + Good Work Network! These amazing nonprofits are hosting a day-long workshop for makers, artists and product designers who are keen on cracking the wholesale market and I’m thrilled to be presenting 4 solid hours of wholesale workshop goodness.  Even better? Registration for Stay Local + Good Work Network members is a mere $20, which includes refreshments, lunch and  some fun entrepreneurial swag from Lucky Break. Not a member? You’re welcome to join the fun! Tickets for non-members are just $75 and I promise to make it worth every penny. This workshop is jam-packed and I’m doing-cart-wheels-excited to hit up the Big Easy with makers on the move. Reserve your seat + let’s turn up the volume on that burgeoning empire of yours…




I’ll be teaching all morning and the afternoon will see a fantastic session on branding and an expert panel hosted by some fantastically successful makers who are rolling up their sleeves to offer insight + experience.  Here’s the run-down for the day…


Time: Wednesday, September 9, 2015, from 8am-4pm

Location: Café Reconcile (1631 OC Haley Blvd.)

Cost: $20: StayLocal and Good Work Network Members // $75: Non-Member (Includes workshop, lunch, and refreshments)


8am: Doors open

8:15: Featured speaker Lela Barker of Lucky Break Consulting will explain:
– Laying the Foundation: Product Pricing + Wholesale Policies
– Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Designing Line Sheets & Order Forms
– Making the Sale: Finding Stores + Woo’ing Wholesale Buyers

12:30: Lunch catered by Cafe Reconcile

1:30: Branding Session

2:30 Q&A Expert Panel with…
– Tippy Tippens of Goods That Matter
– Tereson Duprey of Fuzzi Buns
– Molly Babineaux of Loomed


Seats are very limitedClaim one now and I’ll see you there!


Event Recap: The 2015 HSCG Conference


Melissa and I are back from a busy week in Indianapolis and I wanted to share some of the fun with you! For the second consecutive year, I was invited to present at the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild’s annual conference. We spent five solid days meeting LBU alumni, answering questions + supporting new brands, teaching about brand development and doing our damn level best to apply custom gold tattoos on virtually every square inch of bare skin we could find.


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I taught a four-hour, small group workshop on brand development on Friday and spent 90 minutes on Saturday dissecting the anatomy of successful brands for a crowd of 450 attendees. The workshops were well-received and I was so very grateful for the opportunity to coach creatives on the importance of thoughtful branding that creates emotional resonance with their audience.


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Melissa, the Lucky Break Operations Manager + Client Concierge, works out of her Boston-area home office and I work out of my Columbia-area home office, so I’m always doubly excited to get us in the same room together. We spent a few days together in Greenville last month for The Makers Summit (which I cannot recommend enough!) and the chance to see her in-person two months in a row had me positively giddy. Melissa is expecting a wee one this summer, so this will likely be our last “hurrah!” for a few months. Like the trooper she is, Melissa still managed to put in long days at the conference and I pampered mother + son with room service breakfast each morning.


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The Lucky Break booth was uber-fun to design as we brought the Lucky Break website to life. A custom-printed table runner in our signature watercolor print, mondo-sized gold mylar ballons that spelled LUCKY, and bouquets of my favorite flowers (ranunculus for the win!) garnered enough compliments to make us blush.  We stocked that vendor booth with heaps of fun + free goodies:


  • Gorgeous hand-lettered gold tattoos


  • Snappy doorhangers drenched in gold foil



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Hundreds of entries were tossed into my sexy Tom Dixon gold geo for a chance to win a copy of the Price-O-Matic system. We drew one name from the pot and the lucky winner is: Deborah Kraemer of Abbey Brown in Chicago. Congrats Deborah!


We offered show specials on two of my favorites: my just-launched Brick House Branding class (four solid weeks of branding goodness) and Price-O-Matic, my product pricing software that puts makers + products designers in the driver’s seat of their numbers. We’ve decided to extend those show specials for just a few days… conference attendees: check your inbox for details. If you had your eye on the Price-O-Matic but didn’t win the drawing, we’re able to offer that same price of $149 through Sunday, April 26th.


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The conference was punctuated with cocktail parties, a disco night, networking lunches and a small avalanche of workshops for makers in the personal care space. This was my fifth conference and I always enjoy seeing old friends and meeting new ones, too.  Thanks for being so welcoming to Melissa and I- we had a blast with you all!