How does your wholesale matchmaking service stack up?

DOES YOUR WHOLESALE MATCHMAKING SERVICE DESERVE YOUR FINAL ROSE?

I’ve been working in the entrepreneurial trenches as a wholesale strategist for a loooong time, consistently + intently listening to the struggles of my clients. My goal has always been to understand your pain points… the pieces of this wholesale puzzle that continually trip us up on the regular. My experiences working alongside hundreds of creative brand owners has made me deeply aware of the commonality of our obstacles:

 

• We’re not confident about which stores to approach.
• We struggle to carve out the time needed to discover new stores + introduce our work.
• We’re being passive in our communications with retailer, waiting for them to come to us. Part of that is confidence. Part of that is time. And part of that is organization.

 

So my team and I rolled up our sleeves, dug our heels in and developed a solution. A squad of nine people worked for more than 7 months to birth what is now Wholesale Matchmaker. Breathing life into this new service proved to be biggest project of my entrepreneurial career: in terms of manpower, time, and dollars invested. We’ve continued to expand and refine the service, too, launching more than 100 upgrades in the first twelve months. 

 

Team LBC has poured our hearts + souls into this project and we’ve welcomed more than 300 members in early months of the program. And while I do believe that I have the prettiest baby in all the land, I concede that I do not have the only baby in the land. I’m often asked what makes Wholesale Matchmaker so unique and I thought I’d pull back the curtain and bit and share why I’m so confident of the power that Wholesale Matchmaker delivers for moving your business forward.

 

 

DOES YOUR WHOLESALE MATCHMAKING SERVICE DESERVE YOUR FINAL ROSE?

 

 

If you’re a maker or product designer in search of a matchmaking service to tag into the ring and help you connect with new stores, then these are the questions I’d be asking any potential service providers in order to ensure that they’re the best fit for your business.

 

1. What’s their wholesale pedigree?

 

I launched my apothecary brand way back in 2003 and it’s been in continuous operation for 15 years now, turning a profit each year. I’ve never once laid off an employee, despite a decade spent in interesting economic times. Each of my globally-inspired products is still made in small batches by my team in a workshop that’s just 2.7 miles from my South Carolina home. In the course of steering that company, I’ve landed more than 1400 wholesale accounts and fulfilled 13,000+ wholesale orders. And in case you’re wondering: I bootstrapped that company every inch of the way: no loans, no grants, no, investors. Just blood, sweat, and tears… and lots of them.

 

After years of informally helping my entrepreneurial friends, I launched Lucky Break Consulting in 2012. I now simultaneously run both companies, but Lucky Break has been my labor of love for the past four years. It’s provided an opportunity to help more than 2,000 creative brand owners build their businesses. This work has proven to be both the hardest and most rewarding of my life.

 

Wholesale strategy has been the centerpiece of that work and I’ve graduated more than 300+ brands from my LBU wholesale mentorship. That gives me both a breadth + depth of wisdom about a variety of product categories: from stationery brands to jewelers and apothecary brands to apparel designers. I know wholesale like the back of my hand because I’ve enjoyed a seat on both sides of the table: as a successful product maker and as a guide for many other product designers.

 

Here’s what that experience has taught me: It’s one thing to know how to do something and it’s another thing entirely to be able to teach others how to do those same things. I feel confident wearing both of those hats and I think the success that the brands I work with are realizing is a testament to my ability to do both of those things with ease.

 

 

 

2. How do they select which stores to pair you with?

 

Wholesale Matchmaker puts some wicked cool technology into play, helping my team of retail experts connect you with best-fit stores for your unique brand. We’ve invested thousands (no, seriously… thousands) of hours building profiles for 4000+ independent, maker-friendly shops across the U.S. Each one has been hand-built by my team and then loaded into our proprietary software. We tag every store with key information: product categories, aesthetic vibe, price points, location, and more.

 

When you join Wholesale Matchmaker, we collect some important information about your brand: what products you make, how your price points play out, your past wholesale experience, what parts of the country you want to work within, the kind of stores you envision your products on the shelves of, and the kinds of brands you want to sit alongside.

 

Then we let the magic of technology do some of the heavy lifting for us. The system we’ve developed enables us to quickly sort through that library of 3000+ stores to find ones that match your specific needs. But we aren’t content to let software algorithms determine your fate. My team of retail experts carefully cross-checks each store suggestion.

 

We have your website up on one screen while we scrutinize the store profile we’ve made for each shop on another screen. Even with the magic of all that technology, we still reject 4 suggested stores for every one that we accept and match to a member. There’s an art to choosing the right shops and we know two things: a) No amount of technology can replace a discerning eye and b) Finding good stores takes time.

 

 

3. How effective are their matchmaking efforts?

 

I’ve tagged in a whip-smart team of software engineers to help me keep an eye on Wholesale Matchmaker and understand how well we’re serving our members. I can pull a flurry of reports with the push of a button, measuring a small tsunami of variables in real-time. And you better believe that my team and I watch those stats like a hawk.

 

Our current rejection rate is pretty stellar: it’s just 3.2%. Essentially, for every 100 stores we propose as a match to a member, they take a pass on about 3 of those. That means that 97 out of every 100 leads pass muster with our members and we’re pretty damn proud of that track record!

 

 

DOES YOUR WHOLESALE MATCHMAKING SERVICE DESERVE YOUR FINAL ROSE?

 

 

4. How many other brand owners do they recommend those stores to each month?

 

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how large our store portfolio is, or how many members we serve, or how pleased our members are with our matchmaking skills… if those amazing buyers are being bombarded by hundreds of our eager members each month, then the conversion rate will be lower.

 

To put it simply: if Team Lucky Break initiates a stampede that leads to the door of a single buyer, then our members will have a harder time landing the account. So we keep a pretty close eye on how often we’re recommending any single store to ensure that our member pitches get the attention they deserve.

 

I just pulled some data from the last 30 days and our most popular store was recommended to less than 5% of our members. In fact, 80% of our February 2017 store matches were suggested to 5 or fewer members last month. We keep the herd thin so you can shine, and we do that very intentionally.

 

 

5. What’s the member retention rate?

 

This is also known as “How pleased are the people?” And I’m proud to share that just 2.2% of Wholesale Matchmaker members paused their membership last month. That number is pretty steady from month-to-month and we recognize that it won’t ever be zero. We appreciate that our members may choose to take a break from wholesale, or a break from their businesses altogether. But the fact that 97.8% of them double-down each month and continuing work with us is what I’m most proud of.

 

 

6. Can this service grow with your business?

 

Success in the wholesale arena relies on an interesting web of understanding: it incorporates not just wholesale strategies, but a deep awareness of the fundamental principles of product pricing and brand development, too. My work with creative brands often taps into those other areas and I’m proud of the fact that we can support our clients in a holistic fashion.

 

We’re all pressed for time. There’s a fair number of over-hyped programs out there, making it a challenge to understand who you can count on to move your business ball forward. I love that when one of my clients needs help with a piece of their wholesale puzzle that taps into these other arenas, I have resources at the ready. They don’t have to launch a scavenger hunt for additional help or round up recommendations. And because I work with many Wholesale Matchmaker members in other facets of their business, I have an unusually holistic view of what’s happening.

 

Team Lucky Break is here to help, as much or as little as you need us. Since I’ve been deep in the entrepreneurial trenches for so many years now, I’ve developed a pretty robust support system for product-based brands and our clients appreciate how much we “get them” and simplify their business.

 

 

7. How accessible are tech support + wholesale education materials?

 

What good is help if it’s hard to reach, right?

 

Lucky Break is a bit of anomaly in the consulting world in that we actually keep office hours. You can ring us up Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm and reach a live person who understands both small business and how Wholesale Matchmaker works. We’re a small-but-mighty team of four women who are passionate about helping creative brand owners succeed. Three of us have product-based brands of our own, so this is territory we know very, very well.

 

Once you dive into the Wholesale Matchmaker community, you’ll discover a host of ways that we can support you. My ten-part “Speed Dating” video series illustrates the fundamentals of wholesale so you can polish your program… and it’s available to members 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

I also make myself available by phone twice per month to answer member questions. From triaging tricky retailer relationships to ensuring that whatever you’re working on at the moment is timed to coincide with current buying cycles, these calls keep us all on track and motivated to move forward as a community. They’re recorded in case you can’t attend live and the MP3 playbacks are portable, so you can listen in the carpool line, on the treadmill, or on the subway.

 

And we transcribe every word of those calls, too, so you can skim the table of contents and see if the information is relevant to where you are in business at the moment. If it is, you can either keep reading or reference the time stamp and fast forward the call playback to the exact minute mark you need.  Time is precious and I do my very best not to waste yours.

 

There’s a special kind of magic that happens on our group calls, too.  Sometimes you simply don’t know what questions to ask (I mean… you don’t know what you don’t know, right?).  And hearing questions from others often sparks strategy ideas for your own brand. Even better: these calls build community, which is something that so many solopreneurs crave.

 

Essentially, as a Wholesale Matchmaker member, you’re guaranteed to be on the receiving end of 2 hours of ultra-accessible wholesale support and you have the power to guide those conversations. 

 

 

 

8. What are people saying about the service, and- more importantly- why are they talking?

 

And here’s where things get a bit sticky. I made a vow long ago not to operate as an affiliate. I want my word to be my bond. When I make a recommendation, I want it to be because I believe strongly that something is right for someone, not because I’ll financially benefit from making the connection.

 

Virtually every coach and consultant I know works as an affiliate for programs they enjoy, and practically everyone I’ve tagged in to help me grow my business has recommended that I begin an affiliate program ASAP, because it could easily double my income. But that’s not my jam and I’ve never accepted a penny of affiliate money.

 

That also means that I don’t pay anyone to promote my programs either. If you see someone raving on Lucky Break or Wholesale Matchmaker, it’s because we’ve served them well. They get no kickback. No discount. No special favors. No extra anything, save for good karma and the satisfaction of knowing that they helped a fellow entrepreneur find the right product or service for them. The best recommendations are the ones you can’t buy and they’re the ones I’m most proud to have.

 

 

If you have any questions about how Wholesale Matchmaker works, who it’s designed for, or whether it’s right for you, then I hope you’ll reach out. We’re lovely peeps and we love to chat business, wholesale and otherwise. Be in touch and we’ll be happy to help!

 

 

Missed the Wholesale Matchmaker Screen Share tour?

Wholesale Matchmaker Screen Share Tour

Earlier this week, I hosted a live screen share tour of my Wholesale Matchmaker service. I invited visitors deep into the belly of the software and behind the curtain of my matchmaking process in a candid peek at this powerful wholesale tool, which is designed to streamline buyer outreach efforts while keeping you focused and accountable.

 

I captured the tour on video in case you couldn’t make it to the live event. I hope you’ll pour a mug of something delicious and dive in for an intimate peek into the biggest project in Lucky Break history…

 


I’m proud of the way that Wholesale Matchmaker has helped hundreds of creative, product-based brands save time while building their confidence and building smart business systems, too.

 

If you’ve been thinking about joining my Wholesale Matchmaker community, then there’s no time like the present. Last week, I announced that I’m retiring LBU Live, the intimate wholesale mentorship that I’ve taught for the past three years. I’ve merged the LBU curriculum with the matchmaking power and software tools of Wholesale Matchmaker to help my members create unstoppable retail programs.

 

I’m calling this new membership tier the “LBU Cohort” and it’s designed to amplify the education and support within Wholesale Matchmaker in a big way. This video explains more about the LBU Cohort, but here’s what you need to know right now: the cohort is open for enrollment twice per year for just ten days.

 

The doors are open right now, and I’ve rolled out the red carpet for members through Monday, February 13th. There is a cap on participation so that I can be absolutely certain that I serve each of my members well. And if we reach capacity before February 13, then I’ll need to pull up the drawbridge and seal off the cohort early. Long story short: I wouldn’t dilly dally.

 

Have questions? Reach out to my Client Concierge team and they’ll be happy to get you squared away. Ready to reserve your seat in Wholesale Matchmaker? I’d love to have you!

 

Meet the Maker – Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious

Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious

Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious

 

Today we’re excited to take you “behind the scenes” with Lucky Break client and Wholesale Matchmaker member Stephanie, who runs the artisan jewelry company Metalicious from her studio in New York, NY. Stephanie handcrafts family heirloom pieces from recycled metals and ethically mined gemstones – and the result is nothing short of stunning. Welcome, Stephanie – thank you for sharing your story with us!

 

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

Stephanie: My dad had his own computer business when I was growing up (hello, nerd family). I loved that he had the freedom to work on things he loved the most and that he could take vacations with us whenever he wanted. He was an incredibly hard worker and he taught me that failure is really an opportunity to learn how to succeed.

Growing up it seemed totally normal to be an entrepreneur, so even when I worked for other jewelry companies I knew it was only a matter of time before I had my own business. 12 years ago when my first son was born, I took a leap of faith and started Metalicious. I worked out of a small corner of my bedroom during his naptime and at night, and sold my jewelry at craft fairs on the weekends.

Over the past 10 years I’ve grown my online business to where I can rent studio space and have 2 part time employees. I feel incredibly grateful. Now it’s my own kids who think about what kind of business they will run someday. My little one loves to brainstorm ideas about how to increase sales. He even did a video “review” of my jewelry on YouTube.

 

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

Stephanie: When I first started Metalicious I didn’t have a plan (which is step 1 of what NOT to do). My jewelry was very geometric with hard edges and no gemstones, no color, just sterling silver, brass and bronze. I thought it was very chic and very “New York.”

Well, customers would ask me all the time to add gemstones and color, but I didn’t listen (step 2 of what not to do). After two years, my sales weren’t increasing so I finally swallowed my pride and opened myself up to my inner creativity.

The flowing swirls and colorful gemstones that now define my line brought in wonderful, new customers: people looking for alternative engagement rings and unique wedding bands. Metalicious.com is now the place to go for couples looking for something different from what’s already out there.

 

Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Stephanie: I create wearable art. Jewelry that tells your story. I feel so lucky to be able to hear the stories of my customers: the mom buying buying a ring for her daughter to remind her to be strong in the face of bullying; the couple buying wedding rings that connect them to their childhood when they walked through wheat fields together; the architect proposing to his fiancée on a mountaintop. Each story is unique and I am so grateful to be a small part of their journey in life.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Stephanie: Online exclusively at Metalicious.com – but I’m working on connecting with retailers so that more people can find my work in person.

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Stephanie: As a mom, wife, and business owner, it’s pretty hectic. I wake up at 6 or 6:30 and it’s a frenzy of eating, showers and getting dressed before my husband and I split walking our boys to school. Then I walk to my studio – everything is walkable in NYC and it gives me time to get into the right headspace for the day.

Once I’m at the studio, I read emails, answer customer messages, and try to get through my Inbox. My assistant Rebecca comes in 3 days a week, so when she’s there we’ll talk about the tasks we need to accomplish for the day, goals for the week, and chat for a little bit over tea. She is like my right arm at work and a wonderful person, so I really enjoy our chat time. Then depending upon what is due that week and what my goals are for the day, I will do some benchwork, work on the website (listing new items, working on photos, etc.), do research for a blog post, post on social media, plan out new designs, do “big picture” planning, etc. I work most days until 4-5pm, when I pick up my kids.

I try to carve out family time for the evenings and weekends and stick to that as much as possible. Establishing boundaries is really important for me – otherwise I could work. All. Night. The best thing I ever did was to start a ritual where I take 15 minutes before bed every night to plan out my schedule for the next day, which gets everything out of my head so that I won’t forget it the next day. It has done wonders for my productivity.

 

Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious

 

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

1) What is your goal with your business? What is the reason for it to exist?

2) Is there truly a need for what you’re selling (outside of family and friends)?

3) Would you be happy spending 60-100 hours per week doing this?

 

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

Stephanie: I think it’s a combination of things. Exercise helps me reduce stress, so I try to do small workouts 3-4 times a week. I also feel better when I have a plan, so I use a planner where I write out yearly, weekly and daily goals. When I feel a little lost, I go back to my goals and they help center me.

 

LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.

Stephanie: Hiring someone to help me with doing the things I’m not good at, or things that take me away from big picture thinking, is always a great decision. When I get to a point where I spend more time doing repetitive work and less time thinking about how to grow, then I know that I should look for someone to take some things off my plate. Rebecca’s position has grown from doing shipping and running errands to brainstorming marketing ideas, doing customer service, running reports, etc. You can always start by hiring someone just a few hours/week and go from there.

 

Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious

 

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

Stephanie: I was really resistant to learning about SEO, and got lazy about updating keywords. My business, which had always grown year-to-year, went flat. Luckily as a small business, I was able to make changes quickly, so I put in the time to learn about SEO and keywords, then updated my listings. Within a few weeks my business was back on track, and I learned a powerful lesson to not get complacent or lazy. You can always learn more and make adjustments in your business to stay on course.

 

LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?

Stephanie: Living in NYC, I literally walk past soup kitchens, homeless people and food lines every single day. So I’ve chosen City Harvest as my cause. They rescue over 150,000 pounds of food per day from supermarkets, restaurants, and banquets and deliver it directly to food banks and community shelters in over 500 programs across the city. They host mobile greenmarkets where they give away bags of veggies to families each week in 5 of the most needy boroughs. It’s an amazing program to volunteer for, and at the end of each year I contribute to them on behalf of my customers. Last year I was so grateful to be able to donate enough to feed 2,000 families. I’m so thankful for my awesome customers, who enable me to give back to my community.

 

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

Stephanie: 1) GoDaddy bookkeeping: Since my business is all online, I’m able to link all my accounts here so I can see a snapshot of how my business is doing (profit/loss). I check it daily to make sure I’m on track to hit my financial goals or to see if I’m overspending anywhere.

2) Endicia for shipping: I use the Dymo label printer with it and it changed my life. No more waiting on lines at the post office; we just print our labels and drop our packages into the mailbox. And Endicia gives free tracking, which helps me give great customer service.

3) Excel: I’m a spreadsheet maven and love analyzing my numbers. So I use Excel to create reports to track my social media, bestsellers, sales, and even to create pricing. I would kiss Excel on the mouth if I could.

 

ethical-crafted-metals

 

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

Stephanie: In a few years, Metalicious will continue to grow as an online presence. We will have a small team of people working to delight our customers and create fresh, delicious jewelry designs. Metalicious jewelry will be available in a select group of retail stores across the world so customers can see and feel the jewelry in person.

 

LBC: You’re a member of our Wholesale Matchmaker program. Can you  share a bit about how being a WMM member has affected your business?

Stephanie: I found Lela right before she opened Wholesale Matchmaker and I signed up as soon as I could. It’s helped me develop linesheets and has systematized my outreach. I feel like I have a solid foundation and have been contacting stores since December.

Since joining WMM I’ve put together gorgeous linesheets that I’m proud to send out to retailers. Having everything in one place makes it really easy to do outreach and follow up, and the email templates are not only helpful but they save me tons of time figuring out what to write. I also love the calendar with the reminders, it keeps me focused on building my wholesale business on a regular schedule. I’ve been working on outreach steadily and now that I have the support of WMM I feel confident that I can make it happen.

I also did a 1-on-1 call with Lela when I was designing my website. She honed in on what made my brand unique and gave me great, actionable tasks to make a website that I’m really proud of and that resonates with my customers. Lela is a generous, kind-hearted, super smart woman and I feel so lucky and grateful to have found her and the Lucky Break team!

 

Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious

 

LBC: Lela recently made the decision to retire her flagship “how to wholesale” program LBU Live, and is rolling that extensive curriculum into Wholesale Matchmaker. You were among the first to join the LBU Cohort within WMM! Can you tell us how you feel about embarking on this new experience?
Stephanie: I am really excited about the LBU cohort because I’ve already gotten so much out of the community in the ways of support and information from the other members. So the thought of having access to the LBU program at such a great price with the additional support of other members in the group going through the same hurdles I am is an incredible gift.

 

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

Stephanie: It would absolutely be chocolate. It’s a big deal when I tell my kids I love them more than chocolate and if I wasn’t already married I would marry chocolate. It’s kind of scandalous now that I think about it.

 

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

Stephanie: Helping my kids with their homework. I hated homework as a kid and would do anything to avoid it, so now that I have to help my own kids it’s like torture. Please send us a tutor!

 

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

Stephanie: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt… That one line helped me shift my mindset about self-confidence in a big way.

 

Meet the Maker - Stephanie Maslow Blackman of Metalicious

 

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

 

Interested in Wholesale Matchmaker? Now is the time. The LBU Cohort offers 12 months of matchmaking + 12 months of wholesale education and support. A limited number of spots are made available just twice per year for 10 days – and the LBU Cohort just-so-happens to be open to new members right now! But don’t wait too long – the LBU Cohort is only open for enrollment through Monday, February 13, 2017. If we reach capacity before that date, then it will close up tight early and won’t reopen until June 2017. Click here to learn more and enroll!

 

A look back at 2016…

luckybreak2016retrospective

Life often flies by in a blur, but I love the process of closing out a year and taking two steps back to look at what I’ve accomplished and how I’ve grown over the last twelve months. After feeling like I’ve been in the weeds, it’s helpful for me to zoom out and gather insights into the year that was. Each year, I compile a little retrospective here on the Lucky Break blog about the year that was…. here’s how 2016 shaped up for me!

 

 

look back 2016

 

LOTS OF NEW CLIENTS: Over the course of the last twelve months, I had the pleasure of working alongside 561 brands who tagged Lucky Break in to help in one capacity or another. This year saw notable growth in a few particular product categories: I’m working alongside more apparel + accessory designers and stationers than ever before. I’m excited not only by the size of my community these days, but by the diversity in the products we make, too.

 

HEAPS OF FREE BUSINESS COACHING: I streamed live on Periscope 72 times this year, offering more than 80 hours of free business coaching. In the process, I amassed a following that’s 20,130 people strong and those lovely people thanked me by offering 1,889,056 hearts for the effort (thank you!). In 2017, I’m parking Periscope for a bit to launch a new podcast created especially for makers + product designers. More on that soon…

 

A BRAND NEW CLASS: 28 savvy brand owners joined me for the maiden voyage of my new semester-long brand development program. And I popped the bubbly for 49 more brand owners as they graduated from Brick House Branding throughout the year. In 2017, I’ll be making space for 90 more brands in BHB. Heads up: my next enrollment period opens on January 10 for the spring semester!

 

RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME GROWTH: I grew the Lucky Break email list by 27%, the company’s overall revenue by 60%, and my team by 33% this year. I was thrilled to welcome Eileen to my motley crew of empire builders last May. That means that there are now four of us working full-time to help you hustle smarter and leaner. Woohoo!

 

MY BIGGEST BUSINESS PROJECT IN 14 YEARS: I launched my most ambitious project to date with Wholesale Matchmaker. The technical logistics were 837 times more complicated than I ever imagined and I had to temporarily freeze enrollment after 100+ brands joined within the first twelve hours, but… hot damn, that was a good time! Since that launch in June, my team has built a mind-boggling amount of technical scaffolding to support new members, which proved to be a necessity as an additional 100+ members poured into the Wholesale Matchmaker community.  To date, my team has built comprehensive profiles for 2,498 awesome shops that adore artisan goods, and rolled out more than 100 new software features in six waves of software upgrades. We’re a special kind of exhausted, but we’re also incredibly proud of what we’ve built.

 

TRAVELING + TEACHING + COCKTAILING: I talked my way across the country (again). I was invited to speak at business conference from coast to coast… Ventura CA; Nashville TN; Tampa FL; New Orleans, LA; Greenville, SC; and a few other spots. Meeting entrepreneurs face-to-face is incredibly energizing for me and I look forward to meeting many more of you in 2017. I logged 67,178 miles on Delta this year and I plan to log a few more in the coming year!

 

(more…)

Meet the Maker – Luke and Abby Hatteberg of Wayfaren

Luke and Abby Hatteberg - Wayfaren

Luke and Abby Hatteberg - Wayfaren

 

This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know Luke and Abby Hatteberg of the beautiful up-and-coming brand Wayfaren. We had the pleasure of meeting this husband and wife team via their membership in our Wholesale Matchmaker program, and have completely fallen in love with the beautiful aesthetics of their product line. We’re thrilled to go behind-the-scenes with them today to learn a bit more about how they tick. Welcome, Luke and Abby!

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as entrepreneurs?

Luke + Abby: We feel pretty lucky, because it seems that entrepreneurship found us. Wayfaren started as a creative outlet spurred on by our love for travel. Slowly over the next four years, the business kept growing and expanding more than we had ever anticipated. So thankfully the “leap” wasn’t too scary, each move seemed like the next practical step in our journey. The dream of what Wayfaren could become compelled us to eventually take the dive into self-employment. Also, knowing we would have the opportunity to hopefully raise a family around the creativity, strength, and independence of the entrepreneur world was very appealing.

 

Luke and Abby Hatteberg - Wayfaren

 

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

Luke + Abby: A niche business specializing in high quality, travel-inspired goods, meant to inspire a life of adventure.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Luke + Abby: Currently on our website www.wayfaren.com, as well as Etsy. We are excited to recently be entering into the world of wholesale! So hopefully, you will find our products in retailers across the world soon!

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Luke + Abby: Our products are handcrafted and travel-inspired. Our collections are thoughtfully designed and carefully crafted for the modern traveler, for reminiscing on your greatest adventures and dreaming up new ones everyday.

 

Luke and Abby Hatteberg - Wayfaren

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Luke + Abby: Most days are a wild mess of crafting products and order fulfillment, meetings, new project development, and taking care of our customers. Add a heaping dose of coffee and our baby girl spreading a bit of joyful chaos into all aspects of the business, and that sums up a good amount of our typical work days.

 

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

Luke + Abby: Do you see purpose in your pursuit? Do you have the commitment to see the business through in moments you will want to quit? Are you ok with flying by the seat of your pants…usually on a daily basis?

 

Luke and Abby Hatteberg - Wayfaren

 

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

Luke + Abby: Gratitude. When the overwhelm comes – and it does come in strong waves often when you run your own business – we try our best to get perspective. We take a step back and look at how unbelievably rare this gift is- to have built a successful business in four years, be able to support our family with that business, have the opportunity to provide for a few employees, make our own schedule, be our own boss, help inspire people to invest in the experiences that matter…only by grace, gratitude changes everything.

 

LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.

Luke + Abby: 1. For us, choosing to make conservative, debt-free investments has brought a lot of freedom and confidence. Although we know it won’t always be the case, only making investments we have the cash for has been a game changer for the financial stability of our business. Although it meant we probably grew more slowly than maybe we “should” have, we have no regrets.

2. Rebranding about 2 years into our journey was invaluable. We changed our name, logo, refined our aesthetic, and made the business much more viable long term.

3.Not giving up even in the most heart-wrenching, exhausting, “I can’t do this anymore” moments.

 

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

Abby: I think our biggest obstacle was thinking that we had to do everything ourselves, in combination with thoroughly underestimating the power and joy of strategically collaborating with other artists. In the beginning we tried to DIY everything, which was both isolating, extremely cumbersome, and pretty discouraging at times. Once we began to let go of having to do everything ourselves and began allowing in other brilliant and beautiful creatives who were truly gifted at different aspects of business (i.e., graphic design, brand development, etc.) we were able to focus on the things that we truly loved doing and the things only we could do.

 

Luke and Abby Hatteberg - Wayfaren

 

LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?

Luke + Abby: There is! We feel very passionately about the fact that only by grace have we been gifted this business, so in grace we MUST give back to others. In 2015, we began partnering with The Her Initiative, an organization bringing clean water and health & hygiene curriculum to communities in need around the world. We have decided to give 10% of our net revenue to The Her Initiative and we are grateful to partner with such a life-saving, life-impacting mission.

 

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

Luke + Abby: Can we say “our team” three times? Really though, our team is the lifeblood of our operation, the resource we truly cannot do without. Although it’s meant that we make less money, we have always erred on the side of not hesitating to bring others into this team. They’ve brought different perspectives and talent, much needed support, and most of all, fun!

 

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

Luke + Abby: In a few years we hope to be known as the source for high quality, travel-inspired goods. We hope to have significantly developed our travel journal and prints lines through our wholesale program, launch a collection of culturally influenced housewares and furniture, and grown our partnership with The Her Initiative. Dreaming big, we’d love to have a brick and mortar storefront to sell our products and support other small businesses, and even host some local woodworking courses.

 

LBC: Which Lucky Break products products or services have you found most helpful?

Luke + Abby: We first discovered Lucky Break Consulting through Periscope and have forever been changed! Lela’s wisdom and business insight from the scopes alone have been invaluable…pure gold. As soon as she introduced Wholesale Matchmaker, I knew it was exactly what we needed. Having very little knowledge and experience with wholesale, this program was the perfect solution to help us bridge this beginning stage. So much stress and anxiety has been relieved with this program!

 

Luke and Abby Hatteberg - Wayfaren

 

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

Abby: He says sushi, I say coffee.

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Luke + Abby: Currently, Seryn. If you don’t know them, you should.

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Luke + Abby: Playing hooky with our baby girl on spontaneous coffee dates and picnics.

 

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

Luke + Abby: P A C K A G I N G

 

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

Luke + Abby: Our business mantra- “Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Mary Ritter Beard

 

LBC: If you were given a million dollars, but were not allowed to keep a single penny for yourself, friends or family, how would you spend it or give it away?

Luke + Abby: Anonymously gift it to local families in need- nothing better than secret giving!

 

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

 

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!