Tuesday, August 4, 2009

10 Years of LILL!

We can't believe 10 years have flown by! We feel so fortunate to have collaborated with so many amazing customers, team members and friends to help build the 1154 LILL Studio of today. Thank you for your support, for your business and your friendship - it means the world to us.

To celebrate 10 years - this month we are offering 10% off EVERYTHING - and 20% off at all parties! Visit our website for all the details and to start designing online! http://www.1154lill.com/

Owner Jennifer Velarde penned 10 thoughts on the 10 years of LILL - take a look:

1. Glee - That is the best word to describe the feeling I had when I sewed the first sample bag in my tiny studio apartment. Something inside leapt for joy. When I get that feeling about a new style or fabric to this day, I know it is going to be a good one.

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.

7. Warehouse sale. We had our first one last fall on my birthday. I didn't know quite what to expect. The sale started at 9 and we had customers lining up in the rain at 7 am. The sale was packed with ecstatic customers who sorted through piles of bags. I met so many loyal LILL customers who shared their experiences with LILL through the years. Glee, again...I was overwhelmed. It was by far, my favorite birthday.

8. Proud parents. When I announced I'd be quitting my job and starting a handbag business, my parents were not exactly thrilled. At each milestone we've reached, I see at least one of my parents pause, shake their head, and beam with pride. It's a pretty cool feeling.

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!