A Look Back at Lucky Break’s 2017

Lela Barker


Is anyone else relieved that 2017 is behind us?


I aaaaaaaammmmmm! The year seemed ripe with division, disaster, and scandal.  I spent many a morning in 2017 asking myself what in the world was going on. But I’ve held tight to my belief that times of immense transition give rise to new opportunities, rebirths, and movements. I begin 2018 full of hope and prayer for a year that’s a wee bit less exciting (who’s with me?). I find reflection to be cathartic and I as took inventory of the year that was, I was reminded of how very much there was to celebrate.


Here’s a look back at 2017 through the lens of Lucky Break…


Wholesale Matchmaker

  • The Lucky Break team has now welcomed more than 450 Wholesale Matchmaker members – a monthly service that includes a wisdom-infused crash course in wholesale, twice monthly Q+A strategy calls with me, a matchmaking service that connects makers and product designers with independent shops around the U.S., and a robust CRM software system to help members manage their buyer outreach.


  • We’ carefully research each store that we match our members with, meticulously building profiles for every shop. In 2017, we added more than  1,300 new store profiles to our portfolio.  Our members can also request specific stores that they find out in the wild and we’re happy to research those shops and provide more information.  Those requests resulted in another 1,148 store profiles built. It takes an average of 90-120 minutes to build each profile… let’s do some math shall we?

         2,448 new shop profiles in 2017

         x An average of 105 minutes each

         = 257,040 minutes of store research on behalf of our members.

         That’s 4,284 hours of research or 107 weeks of full-time work in research for Wholesale Matchmaker members in 2017!


  • Because the Wholesale Matchmaker community is dedicated to empowering people around the globe who are building their dreams, my team proudly reserves 15-20% of the sales from the independent-study workshops we offer to our members, earmarking it to support various philanthropic programs. In total, Lucky Break donated more than $4,250 in 2017 – including funding the dreams of 40 American entrepreneurs through Kiva. Many of those recipients came directly from the Wholesale Matchmaker community, and they were able to access up to $10,000 in business loans at zero interest and without posting any collateral.  We’re proud ot have played a role in those successes!


  • I spent more than 55 hours of consulting time with members of the Wholesale Matchmaker community, building wholesale strategy and navigating retailer relationships via our twice-monthly Member Q+A calls. Every moment was carefully recorded and transcribed, so our members can listen to the playbacks or read the call logs, even if they couldn’t join us live.


  • I retired my flagship LBU “how to wholesale” course – and then rebuilt the curriculum into a new top-tier, 12-month education option within Wholesale Matchmaker. 163 WMM members joined one of 2 groups of the LBU Cohort and we’ve spent 2018 diving deep into wholesale strategy while connecting one-on-one within private Facebook communities and monthly group calls.


Lucky Break's Look Back at 2017


Brick House Branding

  • I graduated 3 semesters of Brick House Branding this year, sending 87 students out into the wild to put their new branding prowess into use!


  • I went “behind the scenes” to profile the “before and after” stories of seven BHB graduates. You can check them out right here!


  • BHB hosted students from 26 states plus Washington, DC. We also rolled out the red carpet for participants from Canada, the United Kingdom, Barbados, and Malaysia.  There was a delicious amount of diversity in product categories this year, too, including: apparel, apothecary, men’s products, candles, toys, children’s and parenting products, gourmet food, jewelry, stationery + gift, home + garden, and pet products.


  • I spent a significant chunk of hours in 2017 rebuilding the curriculum for 2018 for the new year and evolving it into a new class format that includes private one-on-one sessions with me throughout the semester. While enrollment is full for the first semester owe’re18, we’re looking forward to throwing open the doors for the spring semester on January 30. Mark your calendar if you’d like to join us… enrollment will be very limited!



  • Price-O-Matic, my product pricing software, was reimagined from top-to-bottom and relaunched in April of this year as a cloud-based service. No need for Excel to crunch those numbers – ever! POM is now universally compatible, cloud-based, and accessible from anywhere on the planet. And every single user (there are THOUSANDS of you!) received a free upgrade to the new version.


  • The new version can crunch calculates and articulate prices in 5 separate currencies: U.S., Canadian, and Australian Dollars as well as British Pounds and Euros. International users can now add GST + VAT, too.


  • I put my development team through the ringer with a 52-page scope, which we then followed up with 96 total pages of revisions gleaned from multiple rounds of testing. The result is a thing of beauty that features all kinds of new functionality and helpful tools, including:
    • The Reverse Pricing Tool, which helps you pivot to a value-based pricing mindset, and then use that mindset to create a product development budget.
    • The Revenue Projection Calculator, which enables you to see the revenue paths you’ll need to carve out to in order to make the kind of money you desire each month.
    • A new feature on the Pricing Strategy page which helps you understand how various promotions affect your ultimate profitability
    • Plus, there’s a whole suite of printer-friendly reports that show a profitability snapshot for each product, a cost analysis for each product, and a listing of inventory items for each product. Hooray!
    • Price-O-Matic is now instantly delivered (it’s ready within 60 seconds after purchase!) and a fancy new help desk system ensures that we can service tech issues quicker and more efficiently.
    • And as for looks? The software is 36 times prettier and 94 times easier to use. Yes, I counted!


Speaking + Events

  • I returned to my favorite conference ever – Craftcation – in Ventura, California for a second year. I was honored to speak with attendees about brand development and value-based pricing. Team Lucky Break even took first place in the Wanderings competition, which is a self-guided art walk/traveling party tour held in various hotel rooms by and for conference attendees. My teammate Shannon and I transformed our hotel room into the “Get Lucky Lounge,” complete with a photo booth, a wishbone keychain craft, and bowls of Lucky Charms cereal and organic milk.


  • I’m thrilled to say that my crew and I will be at Craftcation 2018 for the third consecutive year, where we’ll be hosting yet another Wanderings room and I’ll be hosting a few workshops on product pricing for makers. And pssst…I’m also the closing keynote speaker. I’d love to have a cocktail with you while I’m there! Registration is now open and I encourage you to snag a ticket now if you know you’d like to go – they’re known to sell out quickly…


  • My entire team and I made another appearance at the HSCG conference in Las Vegas, where we jumped off a building together (no really – there’s video evidence!) and I spoke to 600+ attendees about brand development. I’m honored to return to speak at HSCG for the 8th time as I keynote at the 2018 Annual Conference in May in my hometown of Atlanta. I’m also speaking at the first HSCG Canada conference in June of 2018 in Toronto. I’d love to see you there!


  • I was honored to be a guest on three fun podcasts this year:
    • I spoke with Jeffrey Shaw on the Creative Warrior podcast about creating a compelling brand, from the purpose of creating strong brand architecture to the top mistakes to avoid in brand development.
    • On the Your Handmade Business podcast, I dished about one of my biggest failures (and how I overcame it) with Isaac Watson of Academy of Handmade.
    • I chatted with the oh-so-lovely Delilah and Nicole on the Dear Handmade Life podcast about creating a business that has staying power, from defining what success means to you to creating systems that help you work more efficiently.
  • If you’re looking for a 2018 speaker or podcast guest, do give me a shout… I’m all ears!


Lucky Break's Look Back at 2017



  • My teammate Shannon painstakingly went through every single blog post on the Lucky Break website (359 and counting!) and updated all of the graphics and images to match the new aesthetic branding we launched a year or two ago. The effort took a few weeks, but it helped breath life into some long-buried gems from the blog. I’m forever in her debt for taking the helm of that project.


  • Want to catch up on the top 3 most-read blog posts of 2017? Feast your eyes…

A Better Way to Manage Black Friday/Cyber Monday Promotions

Prioritizing Where to Invest in Brand Development: Behind the Scenes with Hettie Joan

Road Trip Recap: Craftcation in Cali + HSCG in Las Vegas


On a personal note, I…

  • Sold my house in Columbia, South Carolina.


  • Fulfilled a lifelong dream of relocating my family to Atlanta after my husband made a major job change.


  • Said goodbye to older daughter as I sent her off to her second year as an entrepreneurship major at Butler University (she scored a 3.73 GPA this semester!)


  • Survived my younger daughter’s 16th year of life. Teenagers keep it mighty interesting, don’t they?


Looking ahead to 2018

  • The Lucky Break team is hopping on a ship and pulling up anchor the second week of January. We’ll spend 8 days sailing around the Caribbean, making grand plans for the year ahead.  Between meetings and mindmelding, there will be plenty of cocktails, a catamaran or two, turtle-spotting, and horseback riding through the rainforest.  Want to follow along? I’ll be sharing the journey via my Instagram!


  • The new year always bring new travel opportunities, and I’m excited to have my team accompany me to speak at several conferences across the country. Because we all work remotely in different states, the magic really happens when we all gather together in one place, and maker conferences are our favorite place to convene to both speak + nosh with clients old and new!


  • 2018 will also see the release of my pricing book and a pricing class, both of which delve into the psychology of pricing for makers. Hint: Pricing is so much more than your cost of creation…


  • I’ll be rebuilding my wholesale curriculum from top to bottom, a project I take on every 18 months or so ensure that everything is deliciously up-to-date. I’m a little obsessive about making sure my curriculum is current and top-notch, and it’s time to delve into wholesale materials once again!


I’m raising a toast to every maker and product designer that I was lucky enough to cross paths with in 2017. Thank you for allowing Lucky Break to be a part of your entrepeneurial journey.  Here’s to more sleep, more success, more fulfillment, and more peace in 2018!


If you spend some time reflecting on your 2017, then I’d love to hear a few of your revelations on the triumphs and the struggles.  Leave a comment below and I promise to write ya back!


About the Author

Lela Barker

Lela Barker hails from the deep-and-dirty south (ATL, represent!), where she spends her days helping makers and product designers navigate the pitfalls of product pricing, brand development, and wholesale strategy. She launched her apothecary brand in 2003 and bootstrapped the hell out of that little business to cultivate a portfolio of 1500+ stockists worldwide, generating $12million in revenue and establishing successful distributorships in the Middle East, EU, Scandinavia, and South Korea. Lela is the keeper of a well-worn passport and the maker of the finest lemon meringue pie you’ve ever put in your mouth.

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