Meet the Maker >> Carina Lawson of Ponderlily

Featured Image - Ponderlily

I’m excited to share another installment of our ongoing “Meet the Maker” series, featuring Carina Lawson fo Ponderlily.  For this ongoing series,  leading business owners share morsels of wisdom and give us a peek behind their brands. Carina is especially lovely and she makes some of the most beautiful planners on earth, so I’m eager for you to meet her!

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Meet Carina Lawson of Ponderlily

 

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

Carina: As a motivated woman with big dreams, a blossoming career as a business analyst, and a family who I love more than anything, I found myself being pulled in all directions. I was caught in a never-ending cycle of being busy, successful, and exhausted. I wanted a planner that was made sustainably, helped me create a sustainable schedule, and that was also stylish. I’ve always wanted to create a product that helped women with their life-balance and something that fulfilled my creative side, too. After managing other people’s organizations for many years I thought that with my passion for stationery and sustainability combined with my experience in operations management gave me a wonderful opportunity to start my own business.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Carina: I help women with full lives make smarter, meaningful decisions about how they spend their time. I use ethically sourced materials to make planners and diaries that bring attention to routines and rhythms that bring intention – to even the busiest days.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Carina: You can find our products in our online store and in select retailers in the Middle East and England.

 

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

Carina: As a luxury stationery brand for people with full lives seeking to create more space for intentional living.

 

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LBC: Walk us through a typical workday.

Carina: I take my children to school, head to the library to work on Ponderlily for a couple of hours. I then go into my 9-5 job, while my family runs the day-to-day operations. I pick up my children from school during my lunch break, give them a snuggle and catch up on their day. I head back to work until 5. This is all possible because thankfully, my family runs the day-to-day operations at Ponderlily while I’m at work and my work/kids’ school/home is only 10 min from each other! Once my children are in bed, I continue to work on my business for a couple of hours. I don’t work on Fridays. During the high stationery season, I take time off work to dedicate myself 100% to Ponderlily.

 

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

Carina: 1. Validate your idea –  do a lot of research with what you consider your ideal clients. Send them questionnaires, have them look through your prototypes, and get their feedback. We have to put the customer at the center of this process.

2. Consider your finances – your business finances should start and stay separate from your personal finances. And pay yourself a salary from the minute you make your first sale. I think it makes things a lot more real when it comes to making decisions about your business.

3. Find your tribe – find the people who’ve been there, who’ll cheer you on when you’re doing all the things and hit a major milestone in your business. Your friends and family may not get what you do so it’s important that you surround yourself with entrepreneur friends to cheer you along and provide you with advice when needed.

 

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

Carina: The vision I created for my business. I remember why I started and who it’s for: I can only serve my customers from a place of calm and not chaos. I recognize that if I’m operating from a place of overwhelm, I won’t be able to make the best decisions for myself or my business so I take breaks, take deep breaths, and take a good walk to put things back into perspective!

 

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

Carina: Working with an experienced branding agency to help us with our branding. I knew we needed to have a strong visual presence and working with Aeolidia has been one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made.

 

Ponderlily

 

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

Carina: I didn’t look into a contract as closely as I’ve been trained to do – I let my entrepreneurial passion get the best of my trained business analyst brain and I made a huge oversight: I didn’t question why there wasn’t a deliverable schedule in the contract. Production for our first batch of planners was delayed and this mistake cost me dearly. However, I learned a lot from this experience: approach my business like a business, bring people on who’ll be active partners and not talk down to me because I don’t have experience in the industry, and trust my instincts – if something doesn’t sit well or doesn’t seem right…it probably isn’t.

 

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

Carina: Asana, G-Suite, and One Note.

 

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

Carina: You’d probably see our company in more high-end department stores.

 

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

Carina: Phenomenal! The team is incredibly professional, Lela knows her stuff and genuinely wants to help your business flourish – every question gets answered and we wouldn’t have a wholesale program without Lucky Break.

 

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

Carina: I learned everything I know about the stationery business from classes I’ve taken online. I’ve also had mentorship sessions, especially related to production. I’m very grateful to a growing online community in creative groups I’m a part of who share their knowledge when I have questions.

 

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

Carina: Sushi.

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Carina: Popcorn!

 

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

Carina: I really don’t like my own cooking. My repertoire in the kitchen has become quite boring and working 9-5 AND running a business on the side makes me tired…and hungry. I’m not gonna lie but I often visit my parents and my in-laws at meal times on weekends (and with Tupperware in hand) just so I can bring their food back home.

 

 

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

 

 

Meet the Maker >> Fotini Tikkou of Fotini Tikkou Illustrations

Fotini Tikkou

I’m excited to share another installment of our ongoing “Meet the Maker” series, featuring Fotini Tikkou. If you are new here, our Meet the Maker series celebrates some of our favorite leading business wisdom and a peek behind some of our favorite brands.

 

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Meet Fotini Tikkou of Fotini Tikkou Illustrations

 

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

Fotini: Being able to make a living from what I love (creating art) was always a dream of mine. Things just happened on their own really. I started sharing my work online and people’s response was really overwhelming. That’s when I realized that people would pay to have my work in their homes so I just grabbed the opportunity and worked hard to build my online shop.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Fotini: I would say my work is colourful, optimistic, and straightforward. Diversity and inclusion are recurring subjects in my work, too.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Fotini: I sell my work online through my online shop. There’s also a selection of my prints and stationery in different shops in Europe and the US.

 

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

Fotini: I didn’t know much about starting a small business so I had to do a lot of research and there was also some trial and error. My vision for my business though was quite close to the way it’s functioning today. I wanted my shop to be friendly to my customers with a personal touch. I wanted it to give me a significant amount of income without tying me down too much so that I would have the freedom to work only on projects I really loved doing.

 

LBC: Walk us through a typical workday.

Fotini: Everyday is different. I’m afraid I’m not that good at keeping a strict schedule – having a toddler doesn’t help much either. I have always been a night owl so during the evening is when I’m most productive. I’ve always liked the serenity that comes with working late at night when the rest of the world is sleeping. There’s much less distraction then. Usually, I do admin work in the morning together with handling my social media or answering emails.

After I pick up my daughter from daycare at around 15:30 I spend the rest of the day with her til she goes to bed at around 21:00. After that, I will usually sit down and work on my projects at home. I also have my own studio close by where I work on my pottery and on packing my e-shop orders. So some days I work from my studio and others from my home. Practically I would say that even though my schedule is not fixed I end up working pretty much all day except when I’m with my daughter. Luckily I happen to have a very supportive partner who always has my back when things get too demanding with work.

 

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

Fotini: I think they should think about the ‘Who,” the “What” and the “How” principle. “Who” meaning who they are and who their audience is; knowing who will buy your work is important to help you choose the right products for your shop. “What” meaning their identity, how they would like to be defined as a business. That would make people relate to it much easier. And last but not least “How” meaning what methods they are going to implement to attract possible clients and how their whole business will function. All in all my advice would be to plan and organize your business as much as possible before you launch it. There’s going to be a lot of details that you will have to re-adjust but having a good plan beforehand will help a lot.

 

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

Fotini: That is something that happens quite often lately. Juggling all the different aspects of being a freelance illustrator and a small business owner can be quite overwhelming. When I feel that I’m about to burn out I try to shut down a bit. Get off social media, slow down my production, say no to projects and take some time off without doing anything business related. It’s not always possible but even a day or two off can really help.

 

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

Fotini: I think opening my online shop was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

 

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

Fotini: When I started out, I obviously had no idea how exactly to do things. There’s always a learning curve with everything. I remember calculating shipping costs gave me a bit of a headache. Dealing with the post was tricky and as I offered a tracking and a non-tracking option at first there were some incidents with lost or damaged packages. Even though I made clear in my e-shop that I would not be held responsible for damages by third parties, I did have to reimburse customers and make up for the damage. I solved this by offering only a tracking option for more peace of mind and also by reinforcing my packaging, especially for longer destinations.

 

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

Fotini: The only thing that I cannot imagine doing my business without is Instagram. That is my number one business tool. Without Instagram, my business would definitely be very different. I’m not even sure my e-shop would exist. Instagram gave me immense visibility which translated into a big buying audience. 98% of my customers come straight from my Instagram account and that is where I do all my marketing and promotion of new products. Without consolidating a significant audience that would be willing to buy your work, launching a shop would be a quite risky move.

 

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

Fotini: Hmm…that’s a tough one cause these days so many things happen unexpectedly. It’s hard to predict the future. Obviously, I would love for my business to do as well or even better than how it’s doing today even though that’s a bit of an intimidating thought for me as having a small business is only part of what I do for a living. I need to be able to work on the rest of my projects as well as creating art.

 

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

Fotini: Seafood

 

LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?

Fotini: “Don’t wait for a miracle to happen, make it happen” – I don’t know who said that.

 

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

Fotini: Shopping for clothes.

 

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

 

 

Meet the Maker: Sarah Villafranco of Osmia Organics

Osmia Organics

I’m excited to share another installment of our ongoing “Meet the Maker” series. We are with Sarah of Osmia Organics and she is revealing morsels of business wisdom and a peek behind her artisan brand. I hope you’re buckled up for this one because Sarah is a powerhouse and her energy is infectious!

 

Meet Sarah Villafranco of Osmia Organics

 

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

Sarah: I was feeling uninspired by the practice of emergency medicine, which was a very cool job but did not leave me feeling like I had contributed to people’s long term health in any meaningful way. I had recently lost my mom to cancer and had our second daughter, and I took a class making soap just to shake things up – it worked. I fell in love with the science and art of making soap and skincare and spent a few years developing the line. When it came time to commit and decide whether to start a business, I heard my mother’s voice say “Do what you love, honey,” so I took the leap.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Sarah: We make organic and natural soap, skincare, bath products, and scents. More importantly, though, we create opportunities and inspiration for people to care for themselves intentionally, weaving small moments of sensory luxury throughout their daily routines. We create a community of people who want to tap into their own power to feel well and joyful. My favorite thing to create is conversations about beauty that go much deeper than surface-level, encouraging people to redefine beauty for themselves, even if that definition includes a few wrinkles or strands of silver hair. And, of course, we create a whole lot of fun.

 

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Meet the Maker 2016 Roundup – Part 2

Meet the Maker 2016 Roundup Part 2

Meet the Maker 2016 Roundup Part 2

 

My team and I had a crazy-good time with our weekly “Meet the Maker” series this year! Each Monday, we introduced you to another product-based business that’s creating beautiful things and making waves in the process.

Last week, we shared Part 1 of this roundup series, where we’re highlighting each of the amazing makers who played with us on our MTM feature this year.  Today we’ll wrap things up with Part 2, so I hope you’ll grab a drink and cozy up for another hefty dose of year-end inspiration!

 

Meet the Maker - Gates of Burly Stone

T. Gates Councilor of Burly Stone

high-quality men’s grooming products

 

meet the maker - this paper ship

Joel and Ashley Selby of This Paper Ship

whimsical illustrations + paper goods

 

Meet the Maker - Sweet Jenny Belle Bakery

Jennifer Rodriguez of Sweet Jenny Belle Bakery

sweet, edible works of art

 

bonblissity meet the maker

Elissa Choi of Bonblissity

single-use hand and body scrubs

 

Melissa Camilleri - Meet the Maker - Compliment

Melissa Camilleri of Compliment

gifts to uplift

 

Meet the Maker - Wynne of Crowns for the People

Wynne McCormick of Crowns for the People

beautifully tactile crowns for of all ages

 

Paul Ocopek of Modern Moose

Paul Ocepek of Modern Moose

fun, well designed and affordable home decor products

 

Amanda Wright of Wit & Whistle

Amanda Wright of Wit & Whistle

witty and whistle-worthy greeting cards and paper products

 

Megan Eckman of Studio MME

Megan Eckman of Studio MME

approachable embroidery for modern stitchers

 

Annika Bentiz Chaloff of Married & Bright

Annika Benitz Chaloff of Married & Bright

quirky yet delicately handcrafted lingerie

 

Luke and Abby Hatteberg - Wayfaren

Luke and Abby Hatteberg of Wayfaren

high quality, travel-inspired goods

 

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Ali and Lauren Borowick of Fatty Sundays

gourmet, fun-flavored chocolate covered pretzels

 

Meet the Maker - Little Minnow

Lizzi and Mary Bradley of Little Minnow

hand-printed and sewn accessories

 

Sarah Swell Jewelry

Sarah Greenberg of Sarah Swell

handcrafted precious metal jewelry

 

Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!

Meet the Maker 2016 Roundup – Part 1

Meet the Maker 2016 Roundup Part 1

Meet the Maker 2016 Roundup Part 1

 

My team and I had a crazy-good time with our weekly “Meet the Maker” series this year! Each Monday, we introduced you to another product-based business that’s creating beautiful things and making waves in the process. We write each post in the hope that…

 

1. They inspire you to keep at it on days when your business feels like a bit of a struggle.

 

2. These “Meet the Maker” posts help widen your network.

 

3. That they help you keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the maker movement.

 

4. That they introduce you to a different mindset or new business tool that enables you to propel your brand forward.

 

As we wind down the year, I wanted to take this opportunity to once again share each of the amazing makers who played with us on our MTM feature this year.  We’re so grateful for their willingness to share the journey!

I hope you’ll snuggle up with some hot cocoa or a glass of vino and dive in to the first half of a fun retrospective… I pinkie-promise that your inspiration cup will runneth over. Stay tuned for our second half of our Meet the Maker 2016 Recap next week!

 

 

Scott and Margi Higdon of Ms. Betty’s Original >>

bad-ass soy candles

 

Meet the Maker - Ievgeniia MoonDome Jewelry

Ievgeniia Zlotar of Moondome Jewelry >>

raw gemstone accessories

 

Collin Garrity

Collin Garrity, Woodworker >>

playfully minimalist wooden items

 

The Vintage Honey Shop

Jennifer + Melissa of The Vintage Honey Shop >>

teething and nursing jewelry

 

katya valera

Kacie Fleming of Katya Valera and KV Wishbox >>

elegant, vintage-bohemian jewelry

 

Meet the Maker - Leela Hoehn Robinson of Native Bear

Leela Hoehn Robinson of Native Bear >>

original illustrations and block prints

 

Brooklyn Jewelry Artist Izaskun Zabala

Izaskun Zabala >>

high-end costume jewelry

 

Meet the Maker – Blue&Grae

Josef and Grace of Blue&Grae >>

artisan leather goods

 

JACKSON AND HYDE Genevieve Monroe

Genevieve Monroe of JACKSON AND HYDE >>

one-of-a-kind handbag designs

Renan Kennedy of Sans Skincare

Renan Kennedy of Sans Skincare >>

pure and simple skincare

 

Rewined Candles

Adam Fetsch of Rewined Candles >>

recycled wine bottle candles

 

Jane Pope Jewelry

Jane Pope of Jane Pope Jewelry >>

gold + gemstone artisan jewelry

 

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co.

Allison and Adam Grossman of The Seaweed Bath Co. >>

seaweed-based apothecary

 

jodi lynn burton

Jodi Lynn Burton >>

pen and ink illustrations

 

happy spritz meet the maker

Michelle Hutchinson of Happy Spritz >>

modern and functional aromatherapy

 

See Part 2 of our Meet the Maker Recap right here!