The first time we ever walked through the automatic doors of Hobby Lobby we swear we heard the angels singing from above! “Welcome to HOOOOBBBBY LOOOOBBBBY”!! This store is incredible. It is our heaven on earth and if you haven’t been, you must go as soon as possible. In the meantime, here’s why we love it (in photos).
No disrespect to Michael’s or A.C. Moore, because we do love shopping there, but they are the Brooklyn Cyclones to Hobby Lobby’s New York Yankees. They know how to play a good ball game, but Jeter isn’t there to make a double play in the bottom of the ninth to end the game. (ok, that was our attempt at keeping the guys invested…Hobby Lobby might seem like a place for only the ladies of the world, but we swear guys, if you give it a chance you might find something you love).
HobbyLobbs has it all. It’s like Michaels, JoAnn Fabric, & HomeGoods had a baby. They have paper crafts, fine art supplies, giftwrap, a fabric department, home furnishings, and much more. Instead of trying to describe this crafter’s dreamland, we took photos for you…
Some of our favorite stamps have come from Hobby Lobby. We love them so much, we’ve almost bought the same ones twice. This visit we picked up this stamp for our dragonfly loving aunt, so we can create some custom stationery for her.
What do you need…fleece, cotton, burlap….gingham, polk-a-dots, deer running through the woods? Not sure if it’s just this Hobby Lobby because it’s located in North Carolina, but they have an amazing collection of novelty hunting and fishing scenes. A couple years ago for Christmas, we made our girl cousin an apron out of this fabric because her husband loves to hunt. Cut into a feminine shape, it takes on a new life.
The only reason our apartment isn’t filled completely with Hobby Lobby furniture is because we are limited to what can fit in a suitcase. They sell unique pieces you won’t see anywhere else. We’re not going to say it’s exactly HomeGoods, but it makes finding this gorgeous lamp that much more exciting.
These cardboard letters are one of our favorite Hobby Lobby finds. Monogrammed letters never go out of style and these cardboard ones are essentially a blank canvas. At a price of $2.47 each, you can’t get a better bargain. You can paint them, wrap them in yard, or cover them with glitter. The possibilities are endless. Several years ago, we decoupaged a J with pink rundowns to decorate our Script Office. From a distance, it looked like a custom art piece you would buy at Urban Outfitters and once you got closer it became even more meaningful.
If you are scrapbooker…they have the perfect background paper for any page you can think to create. You might want to allot about an hour just to this aisle.
Hobby Lobby knows what’s up!!! They have a SMASH BOOK section. Not sure how, but we were able to control ourselves and didn’t buy the whole collection.
We have a thing for sticker letters and Hobby Lobby fills that need. (and yes we consider it a need…possibly an addiction…we could even blame Hobby Lobby for enabling us)
We were inspired by the Cowboy section during this visit. Look for some Western themed Stationery coming out soon.
When I was younger, my aunt bought me a dollhouse!! We chose the colors and painted it. It was amazing. (Nate Berkus does say to pick your favorite outfit and paint your room that color…I guess I was in tune with this decorating secret even back then). Going shopping for the different furniture and decorating each room was one of my favorite things to do. This was probably the beginning of my love of interior design.
Hobby Lobby has an incredible selection of Dollhouse interiors, plus anything else you would need to create your own. We look forward to when Georgia wants her own dollhouse and we know where we’ll go to get it!! (if you are dollhouse person, you have to visit FAO Shwartz in NYC…the prices are about 1,000 times more expensive than HobbyLobbs, but it’s a must see)
Walking through this aisle is like walking through “A Secret Garden.” Yes, artificial flowers can easily become tacky, but if used in the right way you can create one beautiful wreath or a funky headband. Here are two examples. Love To-Go & P.S. I Made This...
If you are one of those people who go all out for the holidays, this place is your one-stop-shop! They have at least 4 aisles dedicated to seasonal items. And who can resist festive napkins? We can’t.
Once you have completed the perimeter, buried within the middle of the store is one lone aisle that contains the best collection of knobs next to Anthropologie (without the high price tag of Anthro). It wasn’t until our 5th or 6th visit to the store that we discovered these gems.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there hangs a great umbrella. It’s big and has a classic pattern. So cute.
As you head to the checkout there is an incredible selection of books and custom magazines (that cost as much as books). They cover topics you won’t find anywhere else. Since we just renovated our Love Jac Headquarters, we couldn’t leave without picking up this magazine.
Hobby Lobby is best experienced with someone who has either an equal love of creating or at least a love of your love of creating. Having someone to high five as you find that rubber stamp you’ve been looking for and then discover it’s 50% off adds to the fun. Be prepared to spend more than you expect because of all the bargains they offer. And try to focus on all the amazing things you will be able to create once you leave and the money you just saved instead of the total on the register. Hope you enjoyed our photo tour and can taking a shopping trip yourself soon.
We are happy to introduce you to the new official home of Love Jac. It’s the beginning of many exciting things to come and a place we look forward to spending the majority of our time.
When designing our new office there were two major goals we wanted to achieve. It had to be functional & beautiful. We were in serious need of storage and organization, but we also wanted it to feel inviting and comfortable. It had to become a place we enjoy working…a space that inspires us.
In preparation for renovating this space and transforming it into Love Jac Headquarters, we purchased two books we highly recommend. Apartment Therapy’s Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces and Design*Sponge at Home. We practically read each one cover to cover. They contain amazing photographs & design ideas for almost every type of room. Both of these books are extensions of their corresponding websites, which we are now addicted to.
While these books definitely got us in the renovation mode, our two true inspirations were Oprah’s Harpo Studios Office and an Anthropologie Shelving Display.
Oprah’s Office: First off, Love Jac Loves Oprah. She is truly making a difference in the world, is an incredible journalist, and uses her celebrity for good. That being said, she always has impeccable taste. Ever since we saw her office on “Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes”, we have dreamed of working in an office similar to it at Love Jac. We love how she her desk faces the door. It feels very inviting and organized. We also love that she can turn around to use the computer on the desk behind her. We have a thing for multiple workspaces because often times we have multiple projects going at once. We pride ourselves on our ability to multi-task. Since our space isn’t as big as Oprah’s office we opted for shelf in front of our window instead of a full desk. If we are working on a big project, we can easily swing our chair around, slide the desk up against the window in order to work in the sunlight.
Here’s a look at the progression of the space as it became our new headquarters.
Step 1: Find the space. We debated actually posting this photo because it’s kind of embarrassing, but we think it helps illustrate the transformation. This was an underused room that became a catchall for everything and anything we didn’t have a place for.
Step 2: Clear it out! Now, we are located in Brooklyn, NY so we didn’t have a huge lawn the lay everything out on Peter Walsh style, so we basically moved it all out and are slowly purging!
Step 3: Build the structure. There was lots of measuring, graph paper and trips to Home Depot, but all the planning was worth it for sure.
Step 4: Paint it white!! We wanted to stick with white because it reflects light so well and will allow us to get creative with color later.
Step 5: Attach stained molding. We almost didn’t think it was possible to love the shelves any more…and then we added the molding!! Couldn’t be happier. We also attached the vintage mailbox we purchased at Brimfield a couple years back.
Step 6: Fill the shelves & get to work! For some cohesion and color splash, we went on a shopping spree at The Container Store and found these great boxes. They are all made of recycled paper & have a texture we love. We know many of the shelves are still empty, but this is just the beginning. We promise to post more photos as the space develops.
As a final note we want to share two blogs with you that we have become slightly obsessed with: Vintage Revivals, run by Mandi Gubler and Kara Paslay Design. We were introduced to both of them by The Nate Berkus Show. These two women have a serious eye for design and create amazing rooms without spending a lot of money!
Unlike a makeover on The Nate Show, our new office still has some details to be tended to, but for a week of work we think it looks fantastic! We'd like to thank Scottie & our supervisor for all their hard work!
This weekend we finally conquered a project we’ve been meaning to get to for months now. Organizing our recipes has been on our list since before the summer. We believe in lists, even if something stays on it for a long time. We think if it’s not on a list it might never get done. Plus, it makes it that much more gratifying to finally cross it off!! We were able to get this done over the weekend by breaking it into a couple sessions & spreading it out over two days. This way it didn’t take up our whole weekend and by Monday our task was be complete.
Between the episodes of Extreme Clutter & our apartment getting smaller and smaller as our daughter gets more stuff, we’ve been feeling a little claustrophobic in our surroundings. In an attempt to not get too overwhelmed, we decided to purge or organize one thing a weekend. Even if we only have time to purge our socks, at least it’s something. This weekend we finally got to our recipes.
Our recipes have gotten so out of control we have two “before” photos. In our defense each photo was an attempt at containing the madness, but neither was successful. This first one is a vintage recipe box we found at Brimfield one year that isn’t as functional as we had hoped. It has a bar in the bottom to secure the recipe cards, but who has the time to write recipes on index cards theses days. Not us. The second is an ugly black three ring binder that is too big for our cookbook shelf. We wanted to take both of these organizational failures and turn them into one organized and inspiring book. After purging and sorting, we achieved our goal, and helped preserve some memories in the process.
Here’s how we did it…
We bought this cute recipe binder months ago when we saw it in the sale aisle at Michael’s. It’s got a great patchwork pattern and goes nicely with our hutch.
The first thing we did was sort through the recipes we had made copies of, ripped out of magazines, and printed from the computer. We kept only recipes we love to make, made for a special occasion (and want to make again), or seriously plan to make in the near future. We often fall into the trap of ripping things out of magazines for this life we dream we had…one where we bake homemade Mississippi Mud Pie and make pasta from scratch. In an attempt to enjoy living the life we actually have, it’s crucial we aren’t overwhelmed with clutter. So we put on our big girl pants and trashed them. (Thanks, Peter Walsh). We can always look them up online later, if we somehow find the time to make pudding that doesn’t start with a box of My*T*Fine. (doubtful)
We then used this super cute 8x8 scrapbook paper that was given to us as a gift. It’s from the Nancy O’Dell Scrapbook line. It almost matches our binder perfectly.
Since we often get caught up in all the details of scrapbooking and never finish, we decided to treat this one more like a smash book. We created it assembly line style. Here’s what to do…
- Cut each recipe down, so that it will fit on the page.
- Glue each recipe on the paper. Use both the front & backs.
- Measure & punch three holes in each piece of paper.
- Have small photos of occasions we’ve made these meals printed. We like CVS’s mini-prints best.
- Add photos & short stories or notes to each page.
- Make sure you leave enough room for the holes, since we aren’t putting them in clear sleeves. Or better yet, punch holes in the paper first. (clear sleeves are another option, especially if you are a neat freak and don’t want your recipes to get ruined. We embrace our messiness and think the strains give it character and add to the story.)
- It’s good to use a similar color scheme throughout the book. This helps unify the magazine cut outs and random recipes. We also used similar colored markers to write our comments.
- Don’t feel bad about leaving pages blank or not putting it in an exact order. This will allow you to add more recipes, pictures, or stories later.
- Use sleeve pockets to keep extra stickers or cards, so it’s easy to add more recipes later. You can also insert recipes as you come across them that you eventually plan to glue on their own page, to control the clutter in the meantime.
- If you are printing out recipes, you often have the option of printing them out as note card size. This will make it easier to fit in the 8x8 book. (we unfortunately had not done this. We will going forward)
- Make a pocket: This is easy (especially if you allow yourself not to be a perfectionist). We used a blank recipe card & a stapler (you can also use double sided tape – or if you want to put in the time, sew the pocket on). We simply stapled two sides of the card to the page.
Some of our favorite pages…
After we were married we had a “Break Out Our China Chinese Dinner Party”, where we cooked typical Chinese Take-Out Food. We made a couple recipes we had mastered and experimented with some new ones. It is such a great memory for us (that never made it into a scrapbook) and we are happy to have it archived here.
One of our favorite snacks, is our friend Marlana’s Mango Salsa!! We’ve made it a million times, but can never remember everything we need to get from the grocery store. In fact, when sorting through our recipe box, we found two print outs of the email she sent us. When putting in into our new book, we made a pocket for one of the lists, so we could easily bring it to the grocery store with us. We also included part of the email, as a sort of time capsule of that time in our life.
This recipe was ripped out of a magazine by Chad’s parents. They often send us recipes, articles, or comic strips they think we would enjoy. It helps us feel a little more connected since they are all the way in North Carolina. It also makes us feel like we have a personal assistant who combs the pages of every magazine and newspaper to make sure we stay up-to-date. Ok, we know it’s not like that, but one can dream.
When we celebrated Chad’s 6th Annual 29th Birthday, we made many picnic foods, we still eat on a weekly basis today! We made a pocket for the Mac Salad recipe because it also contains our complete shopping list, which is fun to look back at.
Pumpkin Pie is my brother’s favorite holiday dessert, or at least it was until we made what we like to call “Death by Pumpkin” for him a couple Thanksgivings ago. Each year since then, we’ve been experimenting with other pumpkin dishes, but this one keeps getting requested! Yum-o! Here's the recipe. I also make extra whipped cream so that the end product has a white layer too!
We hope our new recipe binder has inspired you to add “Organize Recipes” to your to-do list! Get to it whenever you can. Don’t try to make it perfect. Let its uniqueness & personality grow & change as your cooking does. And most of all let it allow you to enjoy your now less cluttered kitchen and the experience of cooking in it!
What does a birthday mean to you? Does it make you excited about the year to come or does it make you feel old? Is it a day to do something fun and celebratory or just an excuse to eat whatever you want? Birthdays, to us, have always been a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new challenges and events the next year was about to bring.
This past weekend we celebrated our daughter, Georgia’s, first birthday and it gave us a whole new meaning for the word BIRTHday. Just one year ago we were in a delivery room - naive and nervous – trying to prepare ourselves for how our lives were about to change. Today, we feel proud, accomplished, and extremely blessed to have experienced and survived the first year of our baby’s life!
At Georgia’s birthday party we wanted to achieve a few important things. #1- Celebrate Georgia! #2 Make sure she, along with all her friends, had a great time. And #3 Thank everyone who has influenced her life over the past year. We hope you find some inspiration in these ideas, incorporate your own personality, and share a wonderful day with those you love on your next birthday.
A birthday can be a little overwhelming at times, but with a some planning and attention to detail you can be sure people feel welcomed and have a good time. (It also doesn’t hurt if your mother was a party planner in another lifetime).
CELEBRATE THE BIRTHDAY BOY OR GIRL.
#1. A Quiz! Everyone loves a little friendly competition, right? By simply thinking of 10 trivia questions about the birthday boy or girl, you can create some great conversation starters. It helps if you make the questions multiple-choice and it’s always a good idea to have a tiebreaker question. All you need to do this is your computer and printer. An example of a question from “The Georgia Quiz” was “Which class has Georgia NOT attended? a. Mark Morris Baby in Motion, b. Music Together, c. Brooklyn Little Swimmers, d. The Little Gym”. This question really had people comparing notes.
#2. A Slideshow! This one is a lot easier now that almost everyone has a digital camera. By using iPhoto or a similar photo editing software, chose your favorite photos from the past year and burn a DVD. Have it playing the background for people to see throughout the party.
MAKE SURE THE BIRTHDAY BOY OR GIRL & EVERYONE ELSE HAS A GOOD TIME
#1. We think the key here is good food, good music, and a comfortable place for everyone to hang out. Whether you cook the food yourself or have it catered, having some ready when guests arrive is crucial. Good music is as easy as creating a play list and setting up your iPod. Since our party was a kid’s party, we tried to have a section where the kids could play and run around, as well as a section for the adults to eat and drink. Of course the two overlapped, but we think people appreciate having their own space.
#2. It’s a must for the birthday boy or girl to have their favorite cake. Since Georgia is only 1, she hasn’t had many sweets, but we know she loves her veggies, so we made her a beautiful Turkey Meatloaf Veggie Cake! We had lots of nay-sayers when we were describing this before the party, but we’d like to think it was a big hit! And the most important person LOVED it!!
THANK YOUR GUESTS & THOSE WHO HAVE MADE THE PAST YEAR AWESOME!!
#1 & #2. The Gift Bag! We may have gotten a little carried with these, but we picked a theme and went with it. We think a good gift bag has things people will actually use in it. We were inspired to do gift bags, when we got bubbles in one at a recent birthday party. Georgia just loved them and it kept reminding us of Sofia & her party! Our theme was “Bath Time”. It started with the idea to burn a CD of bath songs and somehow turned into a canvas tote, which included a disco ice cube & homemade bath sea salt for the moms. By including a note, we were able to explain the reasoning behind each gift item. We had a lot of fun making these and we hope everyone enjoyed them.
A birthday is a great time to reflect and celebrate! We hope you can use some of our ideas at your next birthday. And for the next birthday that you attend, we hope you bring the birthday boy or girl one of our cards!! Have a great week.
It’s been a busy week for us at Love Jac. We finished the Letterpressed Wedding Invitations we’ve been working on (full blog once their guest have received them – we don’t want to ruin the fun of seeing it in person for anyone). We also negotiated a deal to have our cards sold in a major NYC store!!
We have also been attending many first birthdays over the past 2 weekends…which is way more fun that people seem to think it is. There is really nothing that compares to seeing your child having a good time. Georgia’s party is next weekend and we’ve been working on little details that will hopefully make our guests feel welcomed and ready to party! (that full blog will be next Monday).
So in the meantime, since we’re keeping this blog short, we’d like to do one of our “Take a Moment – Make an Impact”. Who is that friend who seems to always cheer you up? Who you can always turn to? Who probably has an equally busy life as you do, but always makes time to talk or send an email when you need one?
Take a Moment, right now…and send them a quick email thanking them. It doesn’t have to be long…just a sentence. “I don’t know what I’d do without you” or “You are the best”. Taking this moment might just make their day! We would prefer it if you took a second and bought one of our “Dear Friend” cards and mailed it to them, but we don’t knock technology at Love Jac. What’s most important is to appreciate what you have and the people who make your life awesome!!
Have a great week! Check back next Monday to see all the fun of Georgia’s Birthday! (and get some inexpensive ideas for your next get together).
In the stationery world, letterpress printing seems to be the hottest trend. Yes it looks sophisticated, yes it gives the card more texture, but we never bought the hype…until now. For us it was like that cool kid in school that everyone wanted to be friends with…yeah he’s good looking, but is he the kind of person who would make a good friend? Well, the answer is yes.
This past Friday, we had our first cards letterpressed. They are invitations we’ve been working on for a great couple who is getting married in May. They wanted their invitations to be formal, but fun. We worked together to create a sophisticated design using playful colors. We knew letter pressing was what we needed to take entire invitation up a notch, so we put our feeling aside and went for it.
The whole process has been a learning experience. Where we though we’d have maybe 5 yellows to choice from, there were actually 100. Where we thought we’d go in once to do a press check, they actually required us to do this three times. Where we thought a machine would just spit out our invites, there was actually a person cranking each sheet of paper by hand.
When it came time for the press checks we packed our bag and headed into the city for the day. When we arrived at the print shop the owner gave us directions to the letterpress machine on the lower level. As we came down the stairs we were surrounded by millions of boxes filled with envelopes and paper. The room had an aroma of ink and metal. It reminded us of the hallway in middle school that had the Industrial Arts classroom right next to the Art classroom. All the way in the corner of this production room was a friendly employee waving us back. We passed machines for engraving & employees precisely cutting. Brian, our new friend, was standing in front of a large metal machine with rollers and a crank. We were amazed. There was no keyboard. There were no wires. It was raw steel. Across from the letterpress was a table with cups of ink and a slab of the exact yellow ink we had selected the week before. The machine was ancient and well broken in. We imagined all the other beautiful paper invitations, letters, and books created using this exact machine. We thought about all the people who had a better day or a wonderful experience because of this piece of equipment.
To produce our invitations, Brian dabbed just the right amount of ink on the rollers. He started them spinning and then turned the lever to feed the paper through. The photopolymer plate with our design on it got inked and then stamp the paper. Brian was able change the pressure of the indention by adding newspaper, packing tape, or in his words “whatever works” to the rollers. It was very Macgyver…which is one of our favorite ways to create art. He did a couple different tests varying the amount of ink he used so we could choice the perfect brightness. It was incredible. After the first color was decided upon, we grabbed some breakfast (where we sat next to one of the Jonas brothers), came back to approve color number 2, made it to Georgia’s gym class just in time, then back to the city for color number 3. It was a whole day affair, but it felt like we were in a new relationship and couldn’t wait for that second and third date! Luckily for us, the invites still need to be mounted and the envelopes printed so there is a fourth date in sight.
At Love Jac we believe a handmade card is so much more meaningful than something mass-produced. We can’t believe we didn’t know the amount of human effort letterpressing required. We have fallen in love and you can be sure to see letterpressed cards coming your way soon.
We are pleased to introduce our Card of The Month Club and we guarantee becoming a member will change your life! If you are tired of rushing to buy a card on the way to a party... Or even worse you can’t remember how many times you meant to send that thank you card, but didn’t have one on hand (and possibly forgot about it and accidentally never sent it)... Or if you just want to get some fun mail every month…this club is for you.
We came up with the idea because that used to be us. Before putting the time into creating Love Jac and building our card database, we felt like we never had the right card to send. We would dream of the perfect card and intend to create one with time to spare, but the result was many tardy birthday arrivals because we were gluing last minute touches on our cards. We knew if we could stop being procrastinators and make these cards in advance it would eliminate a lot of stress from our lives. Six years later, we have found that time to not only make the cards for ourselves, but make them for you as well.
THE WAY IT WORKS: At the beginning of each month you will receive an assortment of 5 Love Jac cards. Over the year, you will collect Birthday, Thank You, Mother’s Day, and every card in between. Instead of the standard $5 a card, you will get 5 cards for only $20. That’s basically one free card a month. A one-year membership, which is a value of $300, will only cost you $240. Plus, shipping is free, as always.
|We are also offering you the option of purchasing stamps with your cards. How many times have you written a card and then went to mail it but couldn’t because you didn’t have a stamp. Well, worry no more. By selecting this option you will always be able to put your card in the mail right away. Besides, who can keep up with how much postage is these days. Even if you don’t use these “forever” stamps on the cards we send (say you’re putting the card on a gift) having extra stamps is never a bad thing.|
If you are feeling lucky, two of our favorite blogs are running a contest starting Monday, January 30, for you to become a member of our club for one year free of charge. Babyrazzi & Lady & The Blog. You might as well just bookmark them after you enter the contest, because they are pretty addictive. Babyrazzi reports on the latest news about celebrities and their kids…their fashion…their parenting secrets. Plus, they have these great pop-ups that show how you can get their style. Lady & The Blog is run by Vera Sweeney and covers almost everything: beauty & fashion, food, travel, product reviews, EXTREME COUPONING!! We’re most excited about her Fashionable Mom Show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which will stream live on February 16th.
If you don’t want to wait to see if you’re lucky this week, you can always just sign up to be a member today! You won’t regret it. Have a great week!
Oh Valentine’s Day… some may call it the “Hallmark Holiday”, but Love Jac is taking it back this year. We promise to not go all lovey-dovey on you. We definitely went through our single “valentine’s day sucks” phase. But we don’t think people should get angry because there’s a day that reminds us to take a second out of our busy lives and tell those we love how much we love them. Hopefully, now that you have found Love Jac, you will find yourself doing this more than once a year.
That being said. Let’s take back Valentine’s Day. Who says you have to be “in a relationship” to enjoy February 14th. We like to use this day to thank our close girlfriends for being awesome. Sending them a card might just brighten their day, no matter what their relationship status is. And there’s really never a bad time to tell your parents you love them…or your kids for that matter. We don’t think Valentine’s Day should stress you out either, so remember to focus on what’s important: your feelings. As cheesy as “it’s the thought that counts” is…the thought can truly make someone’s day.
ATTENTION ALL MEN OUT THERE: The card is the most important part. And it would be nice if you didn’t just sign your name. Take 5 minutes and tell us why you love us or how we make you happy. Yes, jewelry is nice. And who doesn’t love a good bag or dinner out. But what will really make our day is to know what you keep locked up in that mind of yours. We’re not asking for this all the time (although that would be nice), but if you make the effort on Valentine’s Day it will not go unappreciated.
Love Jac has several brand new card options to help you send some love this Valentine’s Day. We have created 3 Photo Mounted Greeting Cards. Each one captures some of your favorite iconic Valentine’s Day images and is accompanied by a simple, yet strong message. We have also created 30 one of a kind Limited Edition Hand Crafted cards. We were inspired by beautiful scraps of card stock which we couldn’t resist. We collaged them together to evoke love and texture. There are three sayings to choose from and no two cards are the same. Plus, they are numbered on the back to identify their uniqueness. So you can order several and each person will feel special.
The good thing is you have plenty of time buy your cards and send them out. It’s not even February yet (and I think we do have Hallmark to thank for that.)
This past Tuesday was a pretty exciting day for Love Jac. We fixed our printer, upgraded to Verizon Fios, and....oh yeah...placed 2nd in Brooklyn Public Library’s PowerUp! Competition. Out of 109 business plans submitted, ours was chosen as one of the top 13. We were then asked to give a powerpoint presentation to further explain our company. The judges must have liked what we are all about because they awarded Love Jac $5,000 to build our brand.
We are still completely pumped and extremely thankful for this honor. Since PowerUp! is the reason lovejac.com is finally up and running and you have this blog to read, we figured this week’s post would be a good place to let you know what PowerUp! has to offer. If you live in Brooklyn and are starting your own business, we highly recommend it. Heck, if you don’t live in Brooklyn we suggest you move here just to benefit from PowerUp!
Last March what we thought was just one of our typical trips to the library turned out to be the first of many life changing boosts of motivation that has brought us to where we are today. When we were leaving the library I saw a poster promoting a competition for start-up companies. Love Jac has been a dream of mine for the past 6 years. Slowly we have been creating cards, designing a logo, and talking about what this company would be. The problem was it felt like we only had time to talk about what we dreamed, instead of doing it. Somehow life just always seemed to get in the way. Then we enrolled in PowerUp!
At the first orientation they described classes on finance, marketing, utilizing the library, and writing a business plan. They said there would also be many seminars conducted by past winners and other experts on various topics. I remember thinking to myself “I have to win this competition. I need to learn all those things.” Turns out, you didn’t have to win in order to benefit from Powerup! And thus, it began.
We were inspired by last year’s winners Camille Newman (Pop Up Plus), Michael Zawacki (DailyPress-Bedstuy), and Brandon Graham (wouldyourockthis.com). We received some great advice from Monique Greenwood, founder of the Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast. We took notes in all the classes, traveled to CAMBA for Finance 101, took the subway to Harlem for free legal advice from NELP, and drove out to East Brooklyn, where we carried a stroller up 4 flights of stairs to have a meeting at the Women’s Brooklyn Enterprise Center. Equipped with all this information, we then had to write a business plan. At first this didn’t seem like it would be hard, but in reality it was the equivalent of writing a thesis for a college course. And in retrospect we should have started it much earlier than we did. Regardless, it forced us to think about many aspects we hadn’t previously when it comes to running a business. It gave us a plan to expand and grow Love Jac.
Last Tuesday was such an exciting night. I was surrounded by the people who mean the most to me. My parents, brother, husband, and daughter were all there with me at the Central Library’s Dweck Auditorium, Grand Army Plaza. We heard from Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services and the one and only Marty Markowitz, our Brooklyn Borough President.
As Linda Johnson and Edward Odom described the companies in the order the finalists placed starting from the bottom, I waited and waited. Finally there were only two of us left. When I heard Mr. Odom begin with “a home based company that offers creative greeting cards” I might have stopped breathing. I pulled it together and accepted my extra large check and had a chance to thank the PowerUp! judges and everyone at the library. After that it was a whirlwind of mingling, press, and delicious food.
And be sure that we won’t be taking this honor for granted. We will use it to help us continue to grow and make it easier for you to stay connected to your friends and family. At the end of the day, that’s what this is all about isn’t it?
We are featured in the NYTimes blog. Check it out!