For today’s interview please welcome Cody from Lu & Ed.
1. Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country? Hi! I’m Cody. I’m a twenty-something monster making mom located in Kansas City, Missouri. I work in animal rescue and we have four cats and two dogs, with foster pets coming and going regularly. I am passionate about handmade & indie business and also nature, recycling, and upcycling.
2. Please tell us a little about the nature of your handmade business. Lu & Ed is my art business. I make upcycled, ecofriendly storage solutions in the form of monsters that eat toys & laundry, called Mon-stors! They are made from 100% upcycled materials. The scraps from the big Mon-stors are used to make small Mon-stors. Scraps from those are used to make Monster Totes or stuffed monsters, and the scraps from THOSE are diced up and blended with polyfil and used for stuffing, so there is absolutely no landfill waste from the creation of Lu & Ed products!
3. How did the idea for your business come about? There’s actually a long story about that. You can read it here: How Lu & Ed Got Its Name
Short version? I moved from South Carolina to Missouri with my best friend/fiance and we were living in his mom’s basement at first. My son was in this tiny room and we had no storage. I searched for an affordable toy storage solution that didn’t take up much floor space, but with no luck. One night I had this thought – how cool would it be to feed a MONSTER toys? You could hang it up, and the kids could feed it laundry, toys, books, whatever! The next day I drafted a pattern and set to work! After I posted pictures of the finished product online, people went crazy sending in custom requests. After a few months of filling orders, I decided to drop the dull day job and pursue Mon-stor making full time! Oh! And that pattern that I drew that day in October in 2009 is still the very same pattern I use to this day, with the exception that limbs have evolved a bit! 🙂
4. How long now have you been established? Since October, 2009! Coming up on my four year anniversary!
5. How do you decide what to make, and how do you come up with your great ideas? I kind of elaborated on that above. After I made my large Mon-stors, I had a few requests for smaller ones as stockings. They were SUCH a hit that I added them year round. They are perfect as stockings – or to hold PJs and books by the bed, hand held game systems and games, video games, DVDS and controllers, toys in the car, diapers and wipes – the possibilities are endless! I also added stuffed monsters from the larger monster scraps. After one year in business, I decided to make monster trick or treat totes – those recently became a year round staple in my shop as well! They are super popular as library book bags, preschool bags, sleep over totes, and more!
6. Do you undertake your business on a full-time basis or do you have other work/family commitments? I operate Lu & Ed as a full time business. I try to be done by dinner time and if I MUST work after normal biz hours (9-4) I work after my son is in bed. 🙂
7. Tell us a little about your typical day and what is involved in running the business? I usually get up, eat breakfast, make my daily healthy smoothie, & do some exercise before I hit the studio in the mornings. A healthy body is essential to a healthy biz! I do computer work from 9am until lunch, then sew colorful monsters from lunch until 4pm, when I collect my son from school and then we play, cook dinner together and have family time! 🙂
8. What advice would you give to others who are considering running a craft based business? A few things – Brilliant, killer product photography will make or break your business. You cannot have okay photos – you have to have amazing, eye catching photos! And don’t skimp on a professionally designed logo and branding tools! It may seem like a HUGE investment but it is the most important thing you can do for your biz! Also, exude happiness and positivity!
9. As this is Art of Crafts I have to ask, do you enjoy any crafts yourself in your spare time? If so, please tell us more. Yes! I love to do all kinds of art. I paint, sculpt, make jewelry, make beads, do mosaics, create yard art, sew home goods and clothing, refinish furniture, crochet and knit washclothes and scarves, and more. I grew up in a very creative family. 🙂
10. Finally, if people want to learn more about your business/website do you have a web address, Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can find out more ?
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