loobielabels

Archive for April 2011

I’ve had a lot of people ask me lately how/when/where Loobie Labels got started.

  So without further ado, here’s my “Once upon a time….”

I’ve always had a creative streak in me.  From the time I was about 7 years old, my passion was crafting, especially painting plaster figurines.  Throughout grade school, I continued to enjoy photography, and designed a simple “a bunch of papers stapled together” yearbook for my 8th grade graduating class.  In high school, I moved on to bigger things and became the photo editor for our school’s newspaper.  In college, I took Introduction to Fiber Arts.  (Yes, friends, I took what was essentially a basket-weaving class.)

It wasn’t until my daughter’s first birthday in 2008 that I got into designing labels.  I really wanted to have custom-wrapped candy bars as favors for her first birthday.  But I ran into 2 problems: 1) All the ones I found online were ugly and none of them matched her theme.  And 2) They were insanely expensive.  While browsing the internet, I came across a website that was selling software used to design your own candy bar wrappers.  What a cool idea – I’ll do my own!  They not only included my daughter’s photo (which was pretty rare among the designs I saw online) but they matched her “Under the Sea” theme perfectly! 

The first candy bar wrapper I ever designed

 

I had so much fun designing these wrappers that I started offering to do the same for friends and family.  Word spread.  Pretty soon, I was doing candy bars for the nursing home admissions coordinator at a nursing home where my friend worked.  I started posting on Craigslist – and that’s where the fun REALLY began.

One of the first emails I got after posting on Craigslist was for a young bride-to-be, who was looking for favors for her wedding.  She had met her fiance’ at a restaurant, when she leaned over and asked to borrow the bottle of hot sauce on his table, since her table didn’t have one.  Their wedding favors were going to be bottles of hot sauce.  (How cute is THAT?)  She wanted to know if I could design a label with their photo on it to put on the hot sauce.  After many emails back and forth, and emails to get permission from the hot sauce company to cover their label with a custom label (surprisingly, a lot of companies don’t want you to cover their name…. which occasionally poses a problem) – I had the design.  I picked up 150 bottles of hot sauce from my local grocery store, and got some pretty strange looks from the stock boy who loaded them into my cart.  Who buys 150 bottles of hot sauce?  I smiled seductively and told him “I bathe in hot sauce twice a week because I’ve heard it attracts wealthy men.”  He had to pick his jaw up off the ground so he could return to his regular stock boy duties.

For a while, I continued to fill orders for friends and family.  I got a few orders from friends of friends, and was content with earning a little extra pocket money, since I was a stay at home mom.  On December 25, 2009, my daughter’s father proposed and I happily said YES!  (Well, actually, I said “thank you” about 12 times before I said yes.  I’m kind of a goofball in that regard.)  Since I didn’t have a lot of money coming in, I decided to push for more sales by advertising locally.  100% of my profits are earmarked to help pay for my wedding.  Two and a half years later, we’re still saving, but things are coming along.  I opened my Etsy store ( www.etsy.com/shop/LoobieLabels ) in the spring of 2011. I FINALLY felt ready to run with the big dogs.  It has been slow going, but I know my day is coming.

I’ve been able to use my business in a lot of good ways, and I’ve had a lot of good Karma come back to me as well.  Because my first project (my daughter’s birthday wrappers) were so near & dear to my heart, I decided that the first of EVERY new idea/project would be donated – either to a person or an organization that would benefit from it.  I’ve donated a candy cake to a fundraiser for a young girl with a pseudotumor in her brain,

Donated to Karing for Kaitlyn

I’ve donated customized candy bars to help offset the meidcal expenses of Juliana Ramos (the fiancee’ of former American Idol contestant and local celebrity, Chris Medina.)  

110 candy bars donated to help offset Juliana's medical expenses

And 100% of the profits from all my sales each April go towards funding for Autism research.  (I was a social worker before I had my daughter and worked for quite a while with the individuals at PACTT in Chicago, who provide services for adults and children with Autism.  It was the hardest job I’ve ever had, but also the most rewarding.)

Most recently, I was given the opportunity to design thank you cards and belly bands for the annual Microsoft Dynamics Executive Breakfast.  I was humbled, scared, and excited all at the same time.  I like to think that good things come to those who have given to others, but maybe it was just the fact that I was in the right place at the right time.  Either way, it is a job that has made me very proud.

About a week ago, I decided to make Loobie Labels my full time job after losing the job that I had held for the past 2 years.  Again, I am excited and scared at the same time…. but it worked out pretty well for me before.

Wishing you a life less ordinary,

Lisa



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  • loobielabels: Thanks, Madalyn! As a mom, I generally do most of my work after my daughter is in bed for the night. I put in anywhere from 2-5 hours a day, broken
  • loobielabels: This was actually one of the stock layouts, so I didn't pay anything for it. However, I thank the person responsible - it definitely is a nice layout
  • loobielabels: Thanks, Celeste! :-)

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