Funny story...I called ahead to Sam's in Franklin, TN to order cake. I spelled Lizzie Kate about 20 times, but I still wasn't sure we were communicating (charming Southern accent vs. Kansas twang). Alan went to pick up our cake, which cheerfully proclaimed "Happy Birthday Lizzie Cape". A little scraped frosting later (it took 2 tries), but we finally got our name right. It was a close contest to see which side of the cake disappeared faster...the chocolate or the white. Chocolate won by a slice or two!
Here's a pic of our "showroom" door at Needlework Market. We use the living area of our Embassy Suite for our showroom, and turn the bedroom into our warehouse for extra inventory, orders waiting to be picked up, Alan's checkout desk, and oh yes, sleeping. It's always amusing when I direct ladies to the backroom to pay for their market orders, saying something like "Go to the back room (bedroom), and Alan will be there to take your money!".
I began L*K in March 1996 on a lark, and somehow the 20 years have slid by. Our namesake daughters, Sarah "Lizzie" and Ali "Kate" have grown up, and L*K has grown into a full time job for both Alan and I.
When I had the idea to try designing cross stitch, I scheduled some time to chat with my local shop owner, Janice. I was a loyal customer in her lovely shop, and she was a little surprised I had the design bug. We chatted about how I would sell designs, should I come up with something. I think she was more than a little doubtful about my possible future in the needlework biz.
Long story short, I worked hard for 6 months and took 20 designs to the late July Needlework Market in Charlotte, NC. I hastily named my company Lizzie*Kate (which, for the record, my Mother did not recommend). Nonetheless, she traveled with me to Charlotte and helped at my first market. Of course, her handwritten orders were the neatest.
After our first few hours at market, I knew my life was headed in a different direction. I called my husband that night and told him we were going to be BUSY!!! I spent my first day at home totalling orders...figuring out exactly how many of each chartpak I needed to print. I had printed 50 each before I left, and my best selling chart (#001 Hats Off to Halloween) had 1000+ orders. YIKES!
After a few days I picked up a car full of covers and insides at the printer. Then I wheeled a grocery cart FULL of photos from the grocery photo lab. We began collating charts, gluing on photos and sacking, with the help of our family and some neighborhood kids. I know...child labor...but I contributed to their "clubhouse" fund and fed them.
A few years after we began...miss you Lucky dog
We would do assembly all day, then Alan and I would pack orders all evening. Then start again the next day. The most unexpected part, though, were the orders flowing in the very day we arrived home from market. Even without the internet, somehow the word was spreading and the order pile was getting larger. Thank goodness I was 20 years younger and could burn the candle at both ends and still function.
Blah, blah, blah...don't want to to bore all of you faithful readers...but it's been a fun ride for 20 years!
I've been trying to think how to celebrate. With that in mind, I have some fun projects coming your way soon. Here are a couple things to look for in 2016.
* New Double Flip series - yet unnamed - but we had sneak peeks at market. I decided to do another monthly series, because it's been a LONG time. I'm feeling very nostalgic, so am using the same 12 charms I used on our original Year with Charm Flip-it series (F1-F12). It was a fun design challenge and I'm super excited about this series...really! I'm also using a little L*K motif each month that has previously appeared in another L*K design. See if you can recognize them, and where they originally appeared...hide and seek in stitches. Coming in April.
* Halloween Mystery Sampler - also unnamed - but in progress! I just started designing this 2 days ago, and I can hardly pull myself away from the computer, or sleep. I hope to have it ready for you this summer. The mystery will unfold in 3 parts, and we'll have fabric, threads, and embellishment packs available, along with the charts. Mysteries are so much fun for us, and I'm loving this one! My house is full of bunnies and eggs, but my brain is full of pumpkins, bats and cats.
* L*K Website Facelift - I know, I know. Our site has looked the same forever. We update it regularly, but it needs some cosmetic work. I'm crafting a new look with my graphic designer pal, Janice. Then we'll work with our webmaster, Mary, to make it happen. Can't wait to show you a new, improved L*K. Don't know when...this project always gets set aside for new releases.
* Design 101 Blog Series - I'm always getting questions about my design process, so I want to share some tips on "cross stitch design how-to". Or at least, how I do new designs. I know from reading designer profiles in magazines that everyone approaches the design process differently. I'll share a few things that work for me, and challenge you to DIY...or at least appreciate what goes on behind the scenes at L*K.
Ready to celebrate with us???