loobielabels

As some of my fellow Etsy readers know, treasuries are becoming more common.  And for those of you who don’t know, a treasury is a collection of items that share a common theme.  People spend a lot of time searching Etsy for the perfect combination of items that fit their theme and hoping that it will make it to the home page on Etsy.com.

Over the past year, many of my items have made it into treasuries, but so far, no front page.  I know some people live and breathe “front page worthy” treasuries, but I don’t. I don’t make my items in hopes of getting them on the front page.  I make them because I love what I do and I want to make my customers happy.  That’s it. Maybe it’s simple and “small potatoes” but I know that the day my focus moves away from those 2 things is the day I will close my shop forever. 

My newest item, Pay it Forward cards, made it into a treasury yesterday.  http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4dcb2c8729ba8eef9f1f0faf/thank-you  Obviously, I was happy that someone found one of my items treasury-worthy, but to be honest, I never figured people would pay too much attention to these cards.

The Pay it Forward cards are a set of 4 small cards that you give to someone when you help them out.  Rather than having you pay them back for their kindness, you encourage them to pay it forward.  When they do THEIR good deed, they pass the card along to the next person to encourage them to do the same.  I created these cards as more of an experiment.  I wanted to see if anyone out there was willing to undertake the task of helping 4 strangers without expecting anything in return.  So far, no sales.  I would love for these to “take off” and be my biggest seller.  It would definitely renew my faith in humanity, given all the negativity that seems to be in the news these days.  I’m still hopeful.

Wishing you a life less ordinary,

Lisa

Congratulations to the Independence Junior High School class of 2011!  They celebrated their upcoming graduation with a dance this weekend and I was asked to provide a small favor for each student to take home with them.  While I did several samples for the dance committee to choose from, in the end, simplicity won out and I have to agree – sometimes less is more.

Congrats, Patriots!  I wish you nothing but success in all your future endeavors!

Wishing you a life less ordinary,

Lisa

I had the pleasure of taking my first trip to Popcorn Town & Candyland Company in Tinley Park, Illinois this week.  A family member introduced me to the owners recently, thinking we would be great complements to each other,  and I have to say that I’m excited.  Kim and Donamarie have been great to work with so far and I’m looking forward to a long-standing relationship with them!

Walking into the store, you can smell the popcorn.  Ooooh, the smell of fresh caramel corn!  It was nearing lunch time when we arrived and I was pretty hungry.  If I could have jumped into the bin of caramel corn and splashed around in it, I probably would have.  (Ok, well, I wouldn’t have…. but at least I provided you with a lovely visual.)  They have several regular flavors, and rotate other flavors throughout the week.  I happened to come on the day they were making bacon cheddar popcorn and, well, I couldn’t resist.  I initially brought it home for the fiance’ but I am woman enough to admit that I ate more than he did.  4 thumbs up!  (It would have been 6 thumbs up if you count our daughter, but we were bad parents and waited until she was in bed for the night before breaking out the treats.)

Aside from the popcorn, I noticed how FUN the store was.  There was a giant train in the middle of the store with a gumball smoke stack and room for the little ones to run through or sit and play train.  This was my daughter’s favorite part.  Even the ceiling was fun – giant pieces of colorful wrapped “candy” hanging, helium balloons, and a GIANT 6 foot long strip of “candy buttons” near the door.  It was fantastic!  Everything a kid (or a kid at heart) would want to see in a candy store, this place has it.  A word of warning, though, if you’re bringing a preschooler into this place, be prepared to stick around for a while and expect a few tears when leaving.  My daughter actually asked me if she could sleep there.  lol

And, of course, there’s the candy.  They had EVERYTHING!  And I DO mean everything.  From chocolate covered gummy bears to candy arrangements, and nostalgic candy to a 3 foot long gummy snake.  It was all there, in all its yummy glory!  They even had these lollipops with “bugs” in the middle that looked SO real, I kind of wanted to ask if they were…. but I chickened out.  And if you’re looking for colored m&m’s for your wedding or graduation, they have those too.  The best part?  Free samples!

What a fun place to visit, and what a great selection!  If you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping by!  With or without a kid in tow, I promise your inner child will leave with a gigantic smile on its face – especially if you buy it some gummy bears (which are separated by color, by the way – no need for me to throw away the yellow ones.)

Wishing you a life less ordinary,

Lisa

A lot of people have asked me where I got the name “Loobie Labels.”  It started back in the early 80’s when my older sister decided she wanted to make my life miserable.  lol

When we were younger, my sister and I didn’t get along.  Well, that’s probably the understatement of the century.  We are 17 months apart and we’ve been like oil and water since the day I was born.  From infancy, I was tormented by a sister who liked to shove Spaghetti O’s in my ears, rub Vicks Vapo Rub in my eyes, and throw toys at my head.  (I guess that explains a lot.  lol)  It wasn’t until I started college that we became friends.  Now, 16 years later, I consider her one of my best friends.

Anyway, when we were in our teen years, she would drive me batty by calling me all sorts of crazy names.  Since my real name starts with L, she would come up with all sorts of “names” for me that started with L.  I hated it, and she knew it, and that made her do it even more.  One of the names she used to call me was Loobie.

When I started doing the candy bar wrappers a few years ago, she was my biggest fan.  She always encouraged me to turn it into a real business.  I didn’t think I was ready, and I lacked the self-confidence to put myself out there with the potential for failure.  I think I started my actual business more to get her off my back than anything else (gotta love those older sisters who nag you to death.)  When I asked her what I should name my business, she suggested Loobie Labels. 

I thought it was sort of fitting – taking a name she used to call me back in the day when there was NO possiblity of us ever having a decent relationship.  I figured if I could stick with our “relationship” and have it eventually turn into something amazing and incredible, maybe the same would happen to my little hobby.  Maybe I could take it and stick with it until it exploded into something I could be proud of. 

So far, it seems to be a pretty fitting name.

Wishing you a life less ordinary,

Lisa

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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