Thursday, December 17, 2009
While I obviously loved the letter, the point of my blogging about it is that it reminded me how important it is to compliment others for things that you appreciate. I often find myself pleasantly surprised by service or products and think to myself "what a great experience" or "I love this product." I don't, however, take the time to tell the person behind that experience or product how much I appreciate their help or their product. For example - just yesterday, I was going through my favorite drive thru. (Yes, I am a fast food junky)! It is my favorite drive thru, not because of the food or speed of service, but because every time I go there the staff is just really friendly and nice. Working in fast food is difficult - but this staff is always so pleasant and happy. I think about this every time I go there, but I never compliment the service. I will next time.
And, as I think about it there are several other services and products that I love and this letter has inspired me to speak up about it. I plan to shoot off a few emails to other businesses that I love and hopefully make someone else's day. My little way of paying it forward...
Here is an excerpt from the letter I am writing about:
"The primary point of writing this letter is to tell you what an amazing team member you have in Amy (our Indy rep). She was wonderful to work with and helped me set up my party for about ten of my friends. When she came to my house she was professional and fun. She was wonderful in assisting all of the girls in finding what they truly wanted. The thing I liked most about Amy, was that she was the "anti" saleswoman. Never once did she try to force a bag on someone. She consistently said she wanted all of us to love what we designed and never forced anyone into a decision or a purchase. You could also tell that she loved what she was selling. She was able to show us so many examples of items that she had designed and used on a regular basis. My LILL purse party was one of the most fun things I have done with my friends and everyone was thrilled with their purchase. All in all, I want to thank you for creating LILL. I can not tell you enough how much I love your product and your staff. Not only have you created a wonderful product, but also a fun opportunity for people to get together and do something different. I have been to jewelry parties, Pampered Chef parties, Mary Kay parties and none of them come close to comparing with the fun my friends and I have had at the LILL parties."
Monday, December 14, 2009
Technology for me is something I have to think about versus something that is ingrained in my daily routine. I have dabbled in blogging, lightly use facebook and have yet to personally twitter. I keep my blackberry close at hand most of the time, primarily for email. I just started to understand the purpose of texting - and actually really like it. All this is great, but it is December, 2009. And, so, you might say I am pretty far behind the times in terms of keeping pace with some of my more technologically savvy customers. I feel the technology gap each time we discuss ways to reach this portion of our demographic. With all of the options that social media provides it can be a bit overwhelming to decipher which methods are the best tools to stay in touch. I find myself probing anyone who seems "totally connected" for their ideas and what they are doing now to communicate to friends, find out about events, promotions and products etc.
One idea we recently tried that was successful for us was working with Groupon - a collective buying program - where we adverstised a special purchase opportunity to their mailing list. It generated a huge amount of buzz for us in the first two markets we tried - Chicago and KC. Since we participated, I am on the daily deal email list and it is one of my new favorite ways to find out about different businesses and specials around my city. (We are the deal of the day in the Boston market tomorrow - 12/15 - so if you missed an opportunity to get in on the deal earlier, you can join in the Boston deal as coupons are valid at any of our stores www.groupon.com/boston )
That is one example of a great new tool - there are many more out there that I am looking to learn about. So I am asking - where do you go to find out about new concepts, cool experiences, great sales, etc? Send me your ideas. Leave your comments here - for each one I get, I'll put your name in a drawing for one of my favorite bags of the season - Grace in Chateau de Lill.
Or - come tell us your thoughts in person - if you are currently attending a large midwestern university and will be in Chicago over the holidays, we will be hosting a focus group on Thursday, Jan 7th from 1pm to 4pm at our Chicago boutique at 904 W. Armitage in Lincoln Park. If you are interested in participating, please complete this questionnaire below no later than Wednesday, Dec 16th. https://app.e2ma.net/app2/survey/27318/16426/0f8892001a/(If you are selected, you will be notified by Monday, Dec. 21st. Focus group participants will receive an 1154 LILL Design a Bag Kit in return for their participation in the focus group session).
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Speaking of holiday events, our Chicago boutique is hosting our annual Holiday Cheer event on Thursday, November 19th from 6pm-8pm at 904 W. Armitage Ave. We're offering amazing discounts to our LILL fans- 15% off all handbags and 25% off accessories, event night only. If you want to get some holiday shopping done, rsvp for the event www.1154lill.com/holidaycheer
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
So, what could be better than a gift certificate? How about the whole design experience in a box? How about we offer a way for customers to receive a gift they can get to work on immediately? What we came up with was a "Design a Bag Kit."
How does it work? Send your friend, family member or significant other to LILL via the web, party or store. They select a style they think is perfect for you and order a Design a Bag Kit for that style. Next, we package a sample bag of the chosen style, a set of fabric swatches, step by step design instructions and an order form and send it off to you. You happily receive the adorablely packaged kit and get to work picking fabrics for your new LILL. Invite a friend over and mix and match fabrics together or make your selections on your own - either way you get to create in the comfort of home. When you've found the perfect combination, you simply fill out the order form, pack up the sample bag and fabric swatches and send it all back to us with the pre-paid shipping label. In approximately 3 weeks time, your personally designed bag is sent back to you and you are off to show all your friends and family your newest creation!
Its really a great idea for the holidays and all of those special occasions through out the year. Its a gift that offers the ultimate in creativity right away - no waiting to visit the store, find time online or set up a party. And nothing beats the try on, tactile experience that the sample bag and swatch set provides. Check out our website for more details and be sure to tell all your friends and family that LILL's new Design a Bag Kit is on your wish list this holiday season!
Friday, October 30, 2009
She was a natural! With her innate sense of style and interior design background, she quickly chose three styles to design. She then selected classic textiles for the exteriors of each of the 3 bags so she could "wear them as much as possible." She chose bolder prints - our fresh green and white Southern Charm pattern for her Hadley interior and our graphic black and white Moroccan Tiles for her Erinn interior. She kept her Carolina wallet smart and classic by combining our Black Ink Linen and Charcoal woven grid - the perfect every day wallet to compliment any bag she carries.
Her girlfriends jumped in and designed as well - each one helping the other find something that suited them. After a couple hours of laughter and designing, they left the store and headed to dinner... They'll be back in a few weeks to pick up their bags were all too excited to start carrying them!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Shelley has been celebrating all month long with special prices on her Fave 5 Bags and lots of great LILL parties. This weekend she's having her official celebration party and since we can't all get there, we wanted you to have the chance to get to know Shelley a little bit. So we asked her a few questions...
Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in the Western Suburbs of Minneapolis, MN where I have made now my home with my own family. However, I spent 4 years (ok, 4 ½) at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Where did you meet Jen (our founder & president) and Robin (LILL's vice-president)?
Robin lived on my floor my freshman year at Drake. We rushed together and both pledged Delta Gamma which is where we met Jen. We have been friends for a very long time!
What do you love most about working for LILL?
It has been so cool to watch LILL grow from its most humble beginnings in Jen’s studio apartment in Lincoln Park to the successful company it is today. It is an honor for me to have the opportunity to share my own personal account of the company’s history. I am so proud of my friends and the work they have done. And, in my role, I get to have all the fun. To introduce women to this company and the fabulous handbags is such a thrill! And I have loved meeting such great people at these events. I have forged friendships with a handful of my hostesses whom have now become some of my best friends.
How have the parties changed since you started working with LILL?
If you can believe it, when I first started, I had to take the orders by hand and FAX them to LILL headquarters. The other major distinction is that the brand awareness and general familiarity with LILL has grown exponentially. This is not a typical sales job, I am merely a facilitator. The bags sell themselves and the process is so interactive and engaging people look forward to doing it again and again.
What about family?
I have been married for 7 years and we have two wonderful kids, Jenna Grace (age 5 ½) and George (age 3). I was so flattered when Jen chose to name the Grace bag for my Jenna Grace. No George bag yet... but that's probably OK!
What are your three favorite fabrics right now?
Not sure I can just pick three, but I'll try. Ooh La La... Lime Leaves... and any animal prints (Kalahari Leopard, Wild Zebra, Lemon Zebra, Snow Leopard)
Do you have a nickname?
In college I was called Link. Its origins are not all that interesting but the name does come out every once in a while now among our friends.
Favorite musician, band or music genre:
It seems like right now we are so kid-focused all we listen to is Kidz Bop and Disney princess soundtracks. But music really isn’t my thing. I don’t even own an iPod (but my 5 year old has one…go figure).
Where did you last go on vacation?
To Chicago to visit my best friends and their kids!
Thanks Shelley for all your help spreading the word about LILL and helping to get our LILL on Location program going. You have been a fantastic assest - AND a great friend - to the LILL Studio! Happy 5th Anniversary!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I got my bag on Friday and as I started to load it up for my first carry, my daughter Hadley, in her two year old speak said "ohh mommy, soo pretty!" She has taken to commenting on my bags and shoes almost daily - a little fashionista in training. I'm often taken off guard by this as most of her activities involve cars and balls, following after her brother. So I am rather pleased to hear her commenting on fashion and in fact, styling herself. It must be an inately female trait as she is very opinionated about which accessories should be worn with what outfits. I've attached a picture of her in a self-styled outfit. I'm still trying to explain to her that jeans under dresses is a trend that was only popular before she was born and that 2 dresses are not better than one.... her response - an eye roll and an "Oh, mommy..." And thus the next generation of mother /daughter fashion debate begins....
Thursday, October 15, 2009
We are thrilled with the collection of applications that came in. They are brimming with beautiful products and business concepts.... it was fun to review, but also tough to decide! We only have room for 20. We met yesterday and made some decisions. Here are some pics of products from companies we invited. We'll post the full list of vendors on our website as soon as everyone is confirmed. Mark your calendars now and get your whole list taken care of in one day!
Monday, October 12, 2009
I know I'm not the only one who loves to shop at these kind of events. And, lately we've had an influx of opportunities to showcase our line at area boutiques. We're excited to bring 1154 LILL to customers while shopping at some of their favorite boutiques.
Here are some upcoming dates -We'll be at Holly G Boutique in Baltimore on 10/17, Urban Belly in Des Moines on 10/20, Avant Garden in Milwaukee on 10/22, Splendor in Milwaukee on 10/31 and Poeme in Cincinnati on 11/5. Check out the line and get some of your holiday shopping done - custom ordering available at all events! No appointment necessary.
You can find more info about all of these events on our facebook page or on our calendar of events page:
We'd love to bring our line to one of your favorite boutiques as well. If you have suggestions, we're all ears! You can email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to see you at a boutique near you soon!
Friday, October 9, 2009
I hope you enjoy reading the new posts and looking through the archives at How About Orange. Scroll down to the entry written on September 28, 2009, entitled Hey, Matt. What's Up. Too funny!
Have a great weekend! Emily R.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
To celebrate her five years with LILL on Location, Shelley, our Minneapolis – Western Suburbs Rep is offering a special 20% discount to any of her Minneapolis customers who order any one of her five favorite bags. We asked her to tell us what it is she likes so much about the five she picked. Check out her answers below...
HADLEY – The slouchier the better! HADLEY can carry an enormous amount of necessities and keep me looking chic at the same time. Now that both my children are a little older, I've been able to replace the diaper bag with a HADLEY. This keeps me looking super stylish at preschool drop-off! I stash all my smaller accessory bags in there, too (ANNE, LIZ, AUDREY/JANE, JACK).
AUDREY/JANE – As a wife and mom I have found that there is very little that I can claim totally as my own. Among other things, I am constantly sharing the extra room in my larger handbags (even for my hubby’s wallet & sunglasses!). So there is something very satisfying about carrying an AUDREY stuffed solely with my stuff. I clip a JANE wrist strap to it and can step out with just what I need… and without schlepping everyone else’s gear!
GRACE – Aside from the pure elegance of this on-the-town clutch, I adore this handbag’s name! My dear friends Jen and Robin chose the name for this style after my daughter, Jenna Grace (she's the cutie in the picture with me up at the top). While most think of this as an evening bag, I have had customers who have opted not to have the ruffle accent and then chose a casual, bright patterned fabric paired with an unexpected interior fabric. I love when my customers can truly make a bag style their own.
ANDI – For most of LILL, ANDI is just thought of as a great bag and a constant top seller. For me, it’s both of those things and a sentimental favorite. I received my first ANDI from a friend at a time when I needed a little pick-me-up. She designed it for me in wonderful happy colors - bright turquoise with lime green and orange accents. It is such fun a fun bag and it meant a lot to know she had designed just for me! Goes to show that retail therapy can be good for the soul – especially when combined with a true friend!
SANDRA – My “NEW” Favorite! I know from my customers that zippers, pockets and key clips are in demand! And when you take a look at SANDRA’s features you can tell LILL listens to what its customers want. Just another reason I am proud to work with such an amazing company. Check out SANDRA when it debuts on Oct 1!
Friday, September 4, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
2. Our first sale at the street fair and our first handbag party at a customer's home were thrilling. As was our first sale at the original Chicago Store location. I still see Ann, whom I met at the street fair and hosted our first party. She became my insurance agent and a good friend. I also run into Michelle, our first Chicago Store customer, from time to time around the city and we talk about that "Ally" bag she created and still has.
3. Painting - who knew there would be so much. From bookshelves, to floors, to bathrooms and of course walls. I've spent a fair share of time, especially in the early years, with a paint brush in hand. There is nothing like a can of paint to transform a space or create a bond.
4. LILL bags everywhere. One of the best thing about this business is seeing your work on the arm of someone miles away from Chicago. I've seen them everywhere. It always makes me smile and it never gets old.
5. In the early years, I spent a lot of time in my car driving to contractors and hunting for fabric. I came to love talk radio - especially the Kathy and Judy Show on WGN. What a thrill when I was driving a long and actually heard them bring up and discuss my business one day. We've been blessed with some amazing press through the years, but this one was pretty memorable for me.
6. Life moments. When you are in business for 10 years, you and your team go through so many life moments together. We've had weddings and funerals and births. Together our team has shared a lot and created friendships that will last a lifetime. This is one of our best accomplishments.
9. New businesses and adventures. As an entrepreneurial company, you attract entrepreneurial team members. Many of our staff started with us right out of college. 4-5 years later, I'll get message from one of them asking to chat. I know before we meet that they are coming to me to tell me that they'll be leaving. I'm never sad about this. In fact, I am proud - because they are setting off to so something they've been inspired to create or to do because of their time at LILL. Former staff have launched a few new businesses and set off on some amazing adventures. Like my own parents, I couldn't be prouder.
10. Reaching 10. At that first street fair, I couldn't have imagined I was setting off towards 10 years. 10 years later, I couldn't imagine what my life would be like without LILL. Thank you to you, our loyal customers for making it all possible. I look forward to the next 10!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Let's get to know the woman of hour...
How long have you been with LILL? I started as a seasonal worker when I was 18 in the winter of 05. Then I left and came back as a seasonal worker (I think in the spring or summer of 06) and that turned into a part time job. After about less than a yr of that I decided to become full-time.
Favorite LILL style? I like the sophie, and smaller items like connor and jane. Big bags get in my way.
Do you have a nickname? A couple, they're in Spanish though.
Favorite musician, band or music genre: I enjoy latin music the most.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
We will be taking a little break from updating our blog while our two main resident bloggers are out on maternity leave. Both had baby boys - both named them Charlie - and no, they hadn't shared names with each other before hand. :) So fun. We are so happy and excited for them both!
We're getting our act together to get some new posts up in their absence - but in the meantime, please become a "Fan" of our Facebook page for lots of great updates, contests and special deals.
In addition, our design team is tweeting away - so please follow them on twitter.
Talk to you soon!
Monday, June 29, 2009
In order to do so, I created my very own customized CHRISTIE, a deluxe makeup bag which fits perfectly on my counter and holds all my beauty goodies. For the exterior and handle of the bag I opted for Apple Spice Tea, and for the exterior top and base I chose Kalahari Leopard. Animal prints and bright colors are huge right now and I feel like I am tapping into my inner Jungle Goddess every time I use my makeup in the morning!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Excited to get to work, I chose our new BRIANNA bag for the base of my “wild” new creation. A recession-ista’s best friend, this roomy and reversible tote is two bags in one. For the exterior color I chose the Wild Zebra print and Bay Blue for the interior accent. Because this bag is reversible, I think it’s the perfect way to test the waters while you search for your inner Jane of the Jungle.
My creating didn’t stop there! Inspiration found me again when I received an invitation for a black tie event downtown. Feeling tired of all my jewelry and even (gasp! ) my collection of high heels, I created the little black dress’s perfect accessory, the little animal print clutch!
Using one of my favorite and most practical clutch designs, the ERINN, I decided to use the Snow Leopard print for the bottom portion and add a pop of color at the top using Pucker Up.
Needless to say, a fabulous bag always makes a fabulous night out!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Here at 1154 Lill Studios, fashion is the name of the game. We want our bags to be as bright, colorful, resilient and unique as the women who carry them. However, nothing is more than important giving back to the community, especially when it comes to our children.
In Chicago, Illinois (where 1154 Lill Studios was first founded) a number of children at the Nettelhorst School were being bullied for having families that looked a little different than the traditional nuclear family. Both a fifth-grader and a first-grader were being taunted for having two dads, and in addition, an eighth-grade substitute teacher was being harassed and called a ‘fag.’
Photos by Cat Conrad and Robin Schachtel
The families and the teachers decided it was time to nip this bullying in the bud and start instilling pride and respect in the Nettelhorst students. To do so, they created the Fence Project, in which everyone in the school and in the community could tie a colorful piece of fabric to the school fences in order to signify tolerance, respect, unity, and diversity. 1154 Lill Studio had the honor of donating fabric to this pride project, and the myriad of colors hanging displayed on the fence is a beautiful sight.
Friday, June 5, 2009
This year, I started by doing a little spring cleaning and clearing all the clutter from my shelves and drawers. Bye bye, dustbunnies! Then, to bring in a pop of color and summertime sun, I created a few of my very own Jasmine pillows. This fluffy pillow is the perfect size to dress up a living room or toss on the bed for a little extra color and flair!
In keeping with my bright, summertime theme I created a couple of Jasmines for my living room, in Pear Faux Suede and with a ruffle of Sandstone. I created another set with a Cocktail Paisley print and a Pear Faux Suede ruffle.