Road Trip Recap: Craftcation + HSCG Conference

Lela Barker



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!


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.

4 responses on “Road Trip Recap: Craftcation + HSCG Conference

  1. Johanne Nicoleau

    Lela and team!!!!!! I so loved the blog about overcoming fears. Thank you for sharing the video clip about how you chose to lead by example. I could not help shaking my head though…. I am not sure that I will ever do that!!!! Wow, just wow! But I giggled when I saw Lela’s face before she jumped and cheered her on her descent as she was shouting “it’s so pretty “!!! Lollll it actually looked fun!!!!! There are lots of things developing in my life as I reflect on some major future decisions. Thank you for this “Pick me up”. Cheers!

  2. Katie Crider

    Lela and Ladies, I loved that video and thank you for sharing it with us!!! Can I just tell you, I got tears in my eyes when watching all of you landing safely. Yes, I am with Lela and THAT afraid of heights!!! It looked like so much fun too, what mixed emotions. Same ones that come up with what was written in the blog. I decided to truly take it to heart, put my big girl panties on and applied to 10 BIG shows within 5 hours from my home! Not that I will get into all of them but if I can just get into one.., you never know what can happen or who you can meet at that show! I may mess my big girl panties before the show but I will clean them off, put them back on with a smile on my face and courage in my heart. Thank you for all your support, encouragement and thoughtful words. Congratulations on making it through both shows, an insane jump and all the long days. Much love to you all and honestly…., I couldn’t (and wouldn’t want to) do all of this entrepreneur crazy world without the LBU team!!!! Love and hugs to you all!!!!

  3. Amy Chin

    This made me smile. LOVE the analogy and totally get the message. Not out of your comfort zone? No growth. I think I’ve been basically out of my comfort zone ever since I started my business! And being a part of Wholesale Matchmaker is pushing me even farther. And guess what! It’s getting easier. I guess that’s the point. 🙂

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