Back in the game

17 Dec

It’ been a minute since I’ve been here. But there’s no time like the present to get back on the horse. Back on the wagon. Back in the game.

When I created this blog, I envisioned its primary use as something of a marketing tool for Lemon Tree Cookies. I still hope it can be that. But as I find myself wanting (even needing) to write more; looking for a space to share my thoughts and ideas and take ownership of something I create – I figured this was the place to do it.

I’m trying to breathe some much-needed new life into Lemon Tree, my baby who I have shamefully neglected over the last 10 months. I had so many reasons over the last year why I was just too busy to move this project forward. I started a new job. I’m getting married. I’m moving into a new apartment. And the list goes on.

But you know what? “I’m too busy” is never an excuse. What I should have said was, “It’s not a priority,” because I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we all know that we’re never really too busy for anything. We always make time for the things that are important or that we want with all our hearts.

That’s not to say that Lemon Tree Cookies is not actually a priority, because it is. But it’s also a little scary. Starting something new, taking risks, putting yourself, your ideas and your passions on the line is scary. But isn’t that the point? Aren’t we supposed to do things that scare us? That remind us why life is exciting? That ignite our senses and our passions?

So here’s my challenge to myself and to you: be the master of your fear. Whether it’s a new business venture, an exciting new project or set of responsibilities at your current job, a promising new relationship or that book you’ve always wanted to write. Conquer it. The only thing standing between you and your dreams is yourself.

Figure out what your priorities are and don’t let yourself get in your way.

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Find LTC at Fresco Italian Sandwich Shoppe!

25 Feb
Fresco

Fresco Italian Sandwich Shoppe – right next to Marsh!

Massively exciting news, Indy!! Starting tomorrow afternoon, you’ll be able to buy Lemon Tree Cookies at Fresco Italian Sandwich Shoppe in downtown Indianapolis, located at New York and New Jersey Street near Marsh. We’ll be rotating different varieties every week, but tomorrow we’ll start with some authentic Italian cookies: Chocolate Pistachio and Cappuccino Chip. Delish.

We’re SO thrilled about this big step for Lemon Tree, and we hope that you’ll join us at the amazing Fresco for lunch tomorrow, and every day this week. We’re so proud to be part of the thriving local business scene here in Indianapolis and hope that we only continue to grow and become a bigger and better part of it. There are big things in store for Lemon Tree Cookies and Fresco Italian Sandwich Shoppe, and we’re excited to get to share more developments with you as the come.

Thanks to everyone who’s supported us through the first chapter in our book, we couldn’t have gotten here without you!

The Most Charming Wedding

19 Sep
Lover's Brook Farm

Photo courtesy of Sarah van Loon’s ever-impressive Instagram account.

I had the great pleasure and honor of standing up at my dear friend Hannah’s wedding a couple of weeks ago. This glorious long weekend contributed to my lack of blogging, but now it’s provided me with so many ideas  – inspiration is practically seeping out of my pores.

Anyone who knows her, knows that Hannah is one of the most creative, beautiful and interesting people on the planet. And her wedding was no different. It was held at Lovers Brook Farm in South Berwick, Maine – the farm where her new husband, Nick, grows beans, tomatoes and all sorts of other vegetation. Being so far away from my current residence of Indianapolis (but very near to where half of my heart still resides), I was devastated to be missing all of the wedding preparations, bridal shower and bachelorette party that my lovely ladies were getting to lavish upon our dear friend. So I was delighted to contribute in any way I could when the big weekend finally arrived.

My fiancé Mark and I (you’ll surely be hearing all about our own wedding planning throughout the coming year) arrived late on Wednesday and got to spend some time with his parents in New Hampshire. Then Thursday I was up bright and early to help Hannah and Sarah set up the farm. We cut flowers and painted signs while John washed fresh tomatoes. We set up chairs and strung bunting in the warm glow of late August while Lupe napped in the sun. John cooked. Nick climbed. We feasted and toiled to prepare for the big day that would soon be upon us.

Hand-painted wedding signs

Lupe resting

Lunch

Friday’s rehearsal dinner gave a little sneak peak of how beautifully the wedding would come together. It was such a joy to stand up with so many beautiful women, all of whom I love, admire and miss dearly. Hannah and Nick were so unbelievably relaxed, even as they recited the words that would bind them for life. If it wasn’t already clear, this was a match made in heaven. We ended the evening with one last girly night for Hannah to enjoy as a bachelorette. Being the considerate bride that she was, she let all of us girls pick out our own floral fit-and-flare dresses (which came together so charmingly), but gave us all a unifying factor in the darling little hair pieces we each wore for the wedding. Perfection.

Hannah and Nick

This came from Sarah’s Instagram too!

 

ladies
And then the big day arrived! We were all up bright and early, making sure everything was in its place for the afternoon’s nuptials. Nothing I could write here could possibly express what a perfectly intimate, personable and relaxed day this was. It was Hannah and Nick to a tee. I’ve been to a number of weddings, but I’ve never gotten to be a part of one where everyone came together in such a communal way to make it all happen. And I couldn’t imagine any better way to start a life with someone, than surrounded so abundantly by all the people who love you.

Married!

Another lovely photo from Sarah.

Etsy Craft Party 2012!

11 Sep

Etsy Craft Party 2012First off, my endless apologies to you, my lovely readers for the lengthy hiatus in posting here. I must have missed that lesson in Blogging 101 that taught us to, at the very least, let your readers know if you’ll be abandoning them for two solid weeks.

BUT! Those two weeks were full of inspiration and beauty and the most refreshing encounters I’ve had in a while.  So I’m set for blog posts for a whole month now.

To kick off things off, a couple of weeks ago, my mom and I attended a national craft party sponsored by Etsy and Michaels and hosted by Homespun: Workshops & Gallery and the lovely Samantha Howard of bobaloo!. I learned about this event through Facebook (is there any other way these days?) and thought it could be a great opportunity for Mom and me to meet some fellow craftettes and entrepreneurs. When I saw it was a potluck, I was sold. (Not only because we could bring our cookies, but also because I just love food. Duh.)

Etsy and Michaels did this thing all over the country, where they donated craft supplies to any party hosting 25 people or more. This was really very nice of them. Thanks guys!

Heart shaped porcelain cookies

So, Mom and I decided to go and make our public debut as Lemon Tree Cookies. She met me at my house right after work on a Friday, and after sipping a glass of wine and whipping up some delicious homemade salsa (courtesy of A Cup of Jo), we marched right on over to Irvington with a tray of cookies, bowl of salsa, and little hearts racing in anticipation of meeting new people (we’re total introverts and I am particularly awkward in social situations).

Mom making the coolest Indiana coasterBut there we were! Gathering our felt squares, embroidery floss and Indiana stencils to make these darling little coasters. My mom clearly was more skilled in this endeavor, but I think we both had a blast. There was crafting, food, and a new coaster set that came of it all, but the best part was getting to meet some great ladies who are doing some really exciting things with their craft and passion, right here in our little corner of the world.

We were lucky enough to sit across our craft table from Allison Kegley and learn about her ADORABLE pet portraits. All of my pet owner friends, do yourself a favor and check her out. As soon as I have a mildly disposable income, this is what you’ll all be getting for Christmas someday.Allison Kelgley Designs - pet portraits

And of course, there was Samantha from bobaloo!, who couldn’t have been a warmer hostess. She put on a great party, and it was so nice to meet the creator of many of the kids gifts I gave last Christmas!

Rowan's been sporting one of these killer tie bibs since before he could walk

Rowan’s been sporting one of these killer tie bibs since before he could walk

By the end of the evening, we even got to share a little bit about Lemon Tree! None of it felt forced or pitchy at all (which is one of my fears in telling people about our business). It was just a gathering of lovelies who were genuinely excited about and interested in the work that everyone there was doing.

We left with a high that I imagine can only come from networking, because it was an entirely foreign feeling to me. I’m totally jazzed about all the creative small businesses that are thriving right here in Indianapolis, and hope that we get to be a part of it all someday!

Inspiration: Quit Your Day Job

23 Aug

This week I spent a good deal of time doing Etsy research: similar products, pricing, keywords, tags, finances, terms of use and so on. Each of these were eye opening and helpful in their own right, especially because the nitty-gritty of running a business is not my forte. So it came as no surprise that the best bit I stumbled onto was their Quit Your Day Job series.

Women entrepreneurs EtsyThese stories of women who have found success turning their passion into their work are inspiring. Most of them were making crafts, art or jewelry in addition to full-time jobs for years before they took the plunge to 100% self-employment, and all of them had the same advice to give about running your own small business: “Make sure it’s something you’re passionate about.” Check. I can’t imagine being happier doing anything other than baking, gluing, sanding and painting for the rest of my life.

The real kicker though, is the business end of running a business. Cappell Ellison wrote a great post about woman-owned businesses, and all of these incredibly successful, passionate and motivated women emphasized what a challenge it is to be the CEO, Sales Director, Manufacturer, Accountant, Shipping Department and Janitor of your business. Thankfully, I have my amazing mom/business partner to share the load on most of this, but it is still a ridiculous amount of work.

I think my main takeaway from these women’s insight was to take my time and put the work into Lemon Tree that it deserves. I don’t even have a fully-functioning Etsy store yet, let alone a successful one. So, for now I’ll work on building an inventory, growing our customer base and establishing a brand. Before I quit my day job.

The power of Etsy

9 Aug

I saw this incredible infographic from MBA Online the other day (thanks to one of my favorite Indy shops, homespun: modern handmade), and it got me even more excited about opening shop on Etsy! (You’ll have to wait a little while though, it’s not quite ready yet.) Everyone knows by now that it’s the only place to find all your necessary adorable handmade goods these days.

For a small, local business with no storefront, Etsy is a powerful tool that can open us up to the wide audience we’re hoping for. I find this utterly inspiring!

Business is Booming

1 Aug

"Indianapolis custom cookies" google searchAs I mentioned on Monday, it’s been a really exciting few weeks for Lemon Tree Cookies. Two weeks ago, we received our first order that didn’t come from a friend, family member or coworker. That means someone googled “Indianapolis custom cookies”, found our website, liked what she saw and decided to buy our product. (There it is, number three! Hooray for SEO!!)

When I received that email in my inbox, my jaw hit the floor. I couldn’t believe it! Obviously, this is what we’ve been hoping would happen, but so far we’ve had kind of a kamikaze approach to everything –  “Want to buy our cookies? Awesome, here you go!” No real marketing plan, tracking or advertising. That was part of the business that I was planning on getting to eventually. “Let’s just take things as they come,” was our mantra.

Well it appears that now we’re having to catch up to Lemon Tree’s success, rather than build it up. I don’t anticipate this will be the case for long, but I think it was just the kick in the pants that I needed to start giving Lemon Tree the time and attention it deserves. Hence, this blog.

Duck cookiesI’m not sure if I was nervous about wholeheartedly promoting our business because I wasn’t sure it would live up to what I’d hoped it would be, or even completely flop. Maybe it would just remain a little side project for my mom and me, and that would be it. I think I would have been okay with that, too. But it seems that may not be what the universe has in store for us, and it’s time to give this thing a shot.

I was so jazzed about that cookie order, I promptly posted a photo on our wildly neglected Facebook page, and that blew up too. Like we-got-two-new-orders-straight-from-Facebook kind of blew up. That was part two of what told me I need to be focusing more on really promoting Lemon Tree. We now have seven rather large projects for the month of August, and we hardly had to try for those. Imagine what we could do with some real effort!

So I guess we’re taking the plunge. Saying to the world, “We’re Lemon Tree, and we’re here to sell some cookies.” If I know that it’s what I want to be doing, what should stop me from doing it with all my heart?

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