Thursday, February 15, 2018

WHOA...let us catch our breath!

Since our announcement last week of our upcoming retirement (scroll back to previous post), things have do I say this...INSANELY CRAZY?!

OMG. Never expected THIS. We have been overwhelmed with your emails, blog comments, phone calls, and every kind of sweet sentiment. We feel absolutely blessed by all of your thoughtful, heartfelt words. The stitching community truly is a very special place.

Before this train runs completely off the tracks (that's what it feels like here at L*K world headquarters), we need to clear up a few details. Honestly, we never intended to create a "cross stitch emergency".

RELAX!!!  We have lots of L*K inventory!
We always have excess inventory on hand. That's one of the risks/challenges of the business - printing enough, but not too much. Here's the catch...our products may not be ASSEMBLED and ready to go out the door.

Lizzie*Kate designs are NOT going to disappear after March 31.

We will be shipping directly to shops worldwide until March 31. After that, remaining inventory will be sent to our distributors (who sell to shops). Shops will continue to order L*K products from distributors and it will be ready for YOU.

If you want to make sure you get more L*K in your stash before March 31, contact your favorite needlework supplier and ask them to order. 

We are already SWAMPED with orders from our faithful needlework shops, so we know lots of you have already been ordering.

BE PATIENT! Thanks in advance for bearing with us. Usually we pride ourselves on shipping orders the same day they are received. Because of the current volume, we won't be able to do this. We will do our best to get orders processed quickly.

If we don't have enough printing on a certain design, we'll order more! If we're out of charms for a Flip-it, or supplies for a kit...we will order those supplies. We may be waiting on our suppliers in order to assemble your products, so shipping will be slower.

We are considering various options going forward as some things sell out. We will keep you posted on our future plans when they are finalized.

Carmen in the former L*K office. She's always dressed up, I'm usually in sweats.

Our faithful helper Carmen is already on overtime since our announcement. She is so fast at assembling L*K products, it's a struggle for us just to keep her desk filled. Carmen says she's ready for MORE!

#190 Spring Smalls (with embellishments)

We will release our final design #190 Spring Smalls on March 1. If you're wanting this "historic" design, let your needlework supplier know now, because we're printing soon. We anticipate printing more of this than our usual quantity. If we run out, we'll just print more...and sack more charms!


Our little ride in the needlework biz has been a thrill right from the beginning in 1996. We have never known what twist or turn was hiding around the next corner. It's always been a thrill, and sometimes a bit of a gamble.

Thanks for coming along for the ride of our lives!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

L*K has BIG news!

Drumroll...let's get right to the scoop...

We will be closing our official Lizzie*Kate "world headquarters" office on March 31.

We will be releasing our final design, #190 Spring Smalls, on March 1.

It is with much gratitude that we share this with you - our loyal cross stitchers everywhere. It's hard to find just the right words, but I'll try.

When I reflect over the past 22 years, the word I associate most often with my job is JOY. Who knew this job would be so fun, continually challenging, and bring pleasure and creativity to talented people around the world?!

When I began Lizzie*Kate I knew that I loved stitching. Most often, it was my favorite end to a long day. I could hardly wait to get the kids into bed and pull out my stitching. Before I finished one project, I was already dreaming of the next one and gathering supplies from my local needlework shop.

What I didn't anticipate when I became a designer, quickly became apparent to me. I could help others enjoy their favorite stitching hobby!! It's been so special to enable cross stitch fanatics to pursue their passion with L*K designs.

Sarah "Lizzie" and Alison "Kate" in our basement storeroom, circa 1996

It's been 22+ years since I made an appointment to chat with my LNS owner. I wanted to discuss a crazy idea I had to design cross stitch patterns. I needed a little extra income so I could continue to "stay home" with the kids. She didn't think I was serious, but she patiently told me about the needlework biz. 

Six months later I was sitting in the Lizzie*Kate booth at Charlotte Needlework Market on Row 14, "conveniently" located at the far back of the convention hall by the snack bar and ladies' room. My mother and a friend traveled with me. We had NO idea what we were doing, but we were there with 20 new "hot off the copier" L*K designs. Before market I hurriedly drew a logo for Lizzie*Kate, fully intending to revise it later - I never did.

For 3 hectic days we were unexpectedly swamped with shops owners eager for something new, placing large orders. We busily wrote orders from the nearby snack bar tables, and promised to ship ASAP. We were grateful for other kind vendors who helped us navigate the market. It was overwhelming.

Boy, were we busy when we returned to Wichita!!! I spent the entire first week tallying quantities, and ordering all the printing and photos we needed. Our basement air hockey table was completely stacked with printing, and I almost filled an entire grocery cart with photos. I remember the photo bill was $1700! 

It was summer so the kids and their friends jumped in to our "emergency" (OK, I coerced them and donated to their clubhouse fund) and helped us glue photos and assemble thousands and thousands of chartpaks. Alan helped me every evening as we attempted to ship 10-12 boxes every day.

We hustled and managed to get those original 250-ish orders out the door in less than a month. Complicating things, though, were the new orders piling in from non-market attendees, and those optimistic re-orders. We were blessed by a pile of orders that just wouldn't seem to disappear.

Standing in front of antique L*K door - leading to the basement office

As we were struggling to ship those original 20 designs, one question kept popping up -  "When are you going to have more designs?". MORE designs, I thought? Yikes! Can I do more?

Fast forward to 22 years later...
The L*K girls grew up and our family grew, along with our Lizzie*Kate business. Our family and L*K will forever have a special connection. 

Linda, Alan, Sarah "Lizzie", Jeff, Ali "Kate" and Barclay

As we close the door on Alan's L*K warehouse/office, he'll miss the day-to-day rhythm of L*K with inventory control, phone calls and emails from shops, and shipping. Our home will undoubtedly be cleaner when I'm not buried in all the stages of product development, designing and publishing. It's pretty hard to keep L*K contained in my home office - it gravitates all over the house!

We are so THANKFUL for the presence of Lizzie*Kate in our lives. In fact, I can't imagine doing life without L*K. I was able to use my creative gifts in a way that enriched the lives of others, and have a ball doing it. Because of L*K I was able to work from home and Ali and Sarah got to experience entrepreneurship first hand - whether they wanted to or not! 

Alan joined the biz full-time about 10 years after I began. From our beginning in 1996, he was always behind the scenes doing accounting and supporting me. He's the voice answering the biz phone and chatting daily with our loyal needlework shops everywhere.

Alan and I celebrating our 60th birthdays (several years ago!) with a Hippie Party 

Now Alan and I are ready for a change. We're not sure what the future holds for us "soon-to-be-retirees", but we are excited to have some time to explore possibilities and opportunities.

THANK YOU for the blessing you have been in our lives...sniffle, sniffle...and allowing us to come into your homes and your stitch at a time.

***If you need more L*K designs, no worries. You can contact your favorite needlework supplier. We have a lot of inventory that we will be shipping to them and also their distributors. Just be patient as orders will take longer than order as we are assembling tons of stuff!

If you have a favorite L*K design or memory to share, LEAVE A COMMENT below. We would love to hear from you.

Love and best stitches,
Linda and Alan