Archives for the month of: February, 2012

We had decided to sell our shaped crayons at craft shows and on-line.  We were familiar with the craft show circuit from creating the Holiday Craft Market fundraiser (www.holidaycraftmarket.com) at our kids’ elementary school.  And there were a few shows in our area with good reputations, so we signed up for two of them. The first one was on August 27th.   This gave us a deadline to have everything finalized and stocked up.

The show was fairly expensive to participate in (at least for us), but it did give a large space; $95 for a 12’x12′ space.  We didn’t have enough product of our own to fill that space so we asked friends who make handsewn headbands (http://melandstacy.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Handmade-Headbands-by-melandstacy/168617083187464?sk=wall&filter=12) to join in and I decided I’d sell my upcycled accessories (http://www.facebook.com/Sup.cycling) too.

We called ourselves Centerville Crafters Co-op so that we could apply together.  But part of the application process was submitting a photo of our display.  And of course we hadn’t sold together before.  So we faked it.  We went to Stacy (of Mel and Stacy)’s sister’s backyard where she had a tent set up, dragging all 9 of our kids with us.  We set up our display, hung our sign, and snapped a bunch of photos.  Thank goodness one, yes just one, came out ok!  So off it went with the application – and we got in!

What came next we couldn’t have dreamed up – a hurricaine in the forcast.  And this was an outdoor show.  We watched the weather reports like hawks as did the show’s planners.  And they decided the show must go on.  The latest was it would blow in late afternoon on Saturday and get worse overnight into Sunday.  So we went and set up our tent (which we had no idea how to do – thank goodness for the friendly, helpful, more experienced neighbors we had on either side who showed us how).  And up went our display (thank goodness for our practice photo shoot. We had already had to work out how to display our wares – in brightly colored plastic bins on wooden racks.  You know the kind they make to store kids toys in that you can get at Target?  Yup, those).

But what didn’t go up was our sales.  Because of the impending doom of the hurricaine, about half the vendors didn’t show up and more than half of the typical amount of customers were no shows. And then, right on cue, as the show ended at 3pm and crafters were packing up their goods, the skies opened up.  It was like the world was ending – people were running everywhere trying to get their stuff in their cars.  Cars were pulling up on the grass.  I lost Leslie in the mayhem but at least our stuff was packed up.  My car was blocked in its parking space, so I sat and waited unable to see out my windows due to the torrents of water flowing down them.  But when I finally turned my back wiper on, I saw Leslie out there helping another vendor with a tent she couldn’t get closed.  She is a better woman than I!

So how did we do at our first show?  After taking out the cost of the space, we made a total of $7 for the day!!!!!!

We here at LeeLee Street, (that would be Leslie and I) are officially branching out into party planning – one of our long term goals!

Enter Moe and Giselle.  Moe hired us to plan the look and feel of Giselle’s BatMitzvah happening on June 2, from theme, colors, and decorations, to event coordination, etc. (OK, truth be told, Moe is Leslie’s sister, so its a bit of nepotism – but thats what family is for).  Not being Jewish, and never having been to a Bar or BatMitzvah, I have a lot to learn.  Until I learn all the terminology, I can only use my similar Christian terms – I apologize if I unintentionally offend anyone by doing so.

So far, I’ve figured out that the sermon part comes first and is quite long. Then the guests (number will never be firm, because its traditional for members of the congregation to attend after the service if they choose to) will move into the function hall at the temple (this temple is actually in a congregational church) where they will be fed. After the kids eat, they will go to another room where the kids’ party will be held.

Moe has requested that the function hall be simple and tasteful to keep the focus on the importance of the day.  She’d also like it to be green – using recyclable or re-usable items and the budget to be kept to a minimum. Giselle has requested that the kids party room have a Candy Land theme.

And we’re off!  I will post at every step in the process so please feel free to follow along.

Now that we had a name, we had to develop a logo to be able to use it.

How exciting – I got to play on the computer (with my very limited knowledge of how to do that!). My original thought was to find a font that looked like the letters were drawn with a crayon.  My husband works at an ad agency so his computer has hundreds and hundreds of fonts on it.  There are alphabets made out of Legos and alphabets made out of clouds, but not one that looked colored with a crayon. So I went thru and chose a bunch of funky and unique fonts, set “LeeLee Street” in them, and then narrowed that huge list down to just a few. Turned out that both Leslie and I liked the same one best.

Then came color.  I put the type in a million different color combos.  Originally we were thinking of using 3 colors.  But my print production experience snapped into gear and said a 3-color logo would be too expensive to produce, better make it just 2 colors.  So I did.  However, which 2 colors was harder to agree on – we didn’t both like the same one best at first. After lots of go rounds we finally decided on orange and blue.

But exactly what orange and blue? I examined every orange and blue PMS chip in the book, played with them next to each other, looked at swatches of them on my computer screen, Leslie’s computer screen, printed out on my color printer, Leslie’s color printer and my husbands work color printer (all of which looked slightly different!).  The final choice: PMS 640c blue and PMS 1585c orange.

Then I diddled around with layout.  The font had drop caps, so I ended up tucking Street underneath LeeLee in the space between the 2 L’s and it formed a cube.  It looked so much better than the name all on one line and wouldn’t need any kind of art or icon to go with it.

Final step: set LeeLee in orange and Street in blue, and LeeLee in blue and Street in orange.  Yipee!  We both agreed!

So after many days of trial and error, experimentation, option testing, and just plain fun, we had our logo.LeeLee Street Logo

What was I thinking?

As I was giving in to my Pinterest addiction one night, I fell upon the cutest monster bookmark
(http://pinterest.com/pin/245375879667005379/) and somehow that led me to a similar Angry Birds bookmark.  Then a lightbulb went off in my head:  Because our school doesn’t allow treats in the classroom anymore, I’ll make these for my sons to give for Valentine’s Day!

Not the best idea I ever had.  Sure, they’re fun, useful, reading related, and of course Angry Birds are all the rage these days.  So they should be a big hit.  Wish I had reminded myself of that at 11:30pm on Sunday and Monday nights while I was STILL up making 42 of these!  I just thank goodness my 3rd son said no thanks and went with store bought Spongebob tattoos instead.  I would have committed hara-kiri if I had to make 62.

There are 9 parts on each of these.  That equals 378 individually traced, hand cut, and glue sticked miserable pieces!

But… aren’t they cute????

So here we are on the morning after the Super Bowl and a depressing (at least for us New Englanders) loss by the Pats.  I’ve gotten to thinking about the sport of football.  I’m glad that my son is almost as enthusiastic about the game as his dad is.  But I’m also thankful that he still thinks its goofy when his dad stands up and cheers at the top of his lungs for a good play!  Last night my little guy said “I can literally feel my heart pounding in my chest” during the last minute of the game.  I’m happy he’s finally found a team sport that he enjoys playing.  Although to this point, he has only played flag football.

Which brings up my issue.  I’m sure this is only an issue for a mom and I happen to be a rather big worry wort of a mom.  My son, who will be 10 when the season starts, now wants to play tackle football. Should I let my little boy play this particularly violent sport?  I watch these players on TV take these world rocking hits, have a pile of 300 pound men jump on top of them, and literally fall on their head, and wonder why they don’t get broken.  My husband says its because they work out so much that their bulky muscles protect things like their necks from breaking.  But my 10 year old son, does not work out.  And although he’s no lightweight, he would certainly be broken by that kind of roughness.

Its not that he hasn’t been broken before. He broke his arm when he was only 5 by falling off the monkey bars at the park. So I’ve seen him truly injured and I survived it (as did he).  But do I purposely let him “play” something where the odds of bodily damage go up exponentially, and knowingly put him in the way of danger?

Or… perhaps, this will turn out to be a good outlet for him. He’s got a temper (huh, no idea where he could have gotten that from!), and tends to be a bit agressive. Maybe this is the perfect place for him to beat on things legally instead of using his little brothers.  Maybe he’ll be so pooped when he gets home from practice, that he won’t have the energy left to try to get his brothers riled up.  Hmmmm….

Wow, what would I ever do if he came to me and said he wanted to join the military!!!!

(Ooops!  Guess writing a bunch of drafts all at once may not have been the best idea!  I posted the 3rd blog, before the 2nd.  Try to mentally insert this part of the story before the Where to Start part, ok?  Sorry for the confusion.)

Well, not that way back – just back 8 months to June of 2011.

My friend and neighbor, Leslie, and I had worked closely together for almost a year putting on a huge craft fair fundraiser for our kids’ elementary school. We also both sold at the fair.  I sold my upcycled food packaging accessories (http://www.facebook.com/Sup.cycling) and she sold primarily jewelry (http://www.facebook.com/#!/beJewelry). When she found the detail work of making jewelry was giving her headaches, she added shaped crayons to her product mix at the last minute.  And the crayons sold better than the jewelry!

Thinking the crayons had promise, Leslie asked me if I wanted to go into business with her.  She wanted to take them to the next level and really go for it. Hopefully the crayons would become the first stepping stone to a much bigger product line. So, needing some mental stimulation after being “retired” for the last 2 years, I of course said yes!

My background is in advertising/marketing/business, print production and project/event management.  Leslie’s strengths are her natural sales ability, her very creative mind, her ability to research and figure things out, and her just-get-it-done-now work style.  Did I mention, her creative mind?  And we’re both workaholics.  So we complement each other really well.

And so a business was born.  At least a concept of a business.