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Monday, January 20, 2020

Where Have I Been? What's Going On?

Hi there!! It's been a little while, right? Well, I made a decision to wind things down here at Lil' Inker. and while it's really hard to say goodbye after TEN years working from home, running my own business and being my own boss and doing something that I love so much, it's time.

I had just had a baby in 2008 and having my son refueled my love of cardmaking when I began to create thank yous for the gifts I was given when he was born. At that time, I dabbled in Splitcoast Stampers, started my own blog and it wasn't long after that I was in search of an item I wanted for my own crafty use but couldn't find on the market. With the help of my friend and professional graphic artist, Ariana Grant, and with just $500, I designed my first products, Sentiment Flag Die and Sentiment Flag Stamps and launched them with the help of the Design Team at the Color Throwdown Challenge. These went on sale on my humble little blog with a PayPal Buy Now button.



(projects both courtesy of Debby Hughes)



As I came up with more ideas, I continued to launch them and they did so well like my Pinwheel Die and Stamps .......

 


and new Rainbows and Clouds Die Set , the FIRST EVER die in a small paper crafting store to feature a stitching detail and that's about when I moved to a small store website.







At this time, I was still working as the Director of Human Resources and Safety Compliance for my family's trucking company here in Boston which was sold in 2011. I continued to work for the new owner and run Lil' Inker until early 2012 when my temporary employment with the new company owner had expired and when I decided to run Lil' Inker full-time.

That's about the same time I launched my Stitched Mats: Rectangles and Bow Die Small which are some of the items that really put Lil' Inker Designs on the map.



Stitched Mats: Rectangles was literally the first-ever set of geometric dies featuring a stitching detail on the market and they were even more unique than just their stitching because that largest die only stitched a border around a premade card base.


And our Bow Die Small was just the cutest thing EVERRRRRR and also the first Bow Die for paper crafting ever to exist!


Seriously, still so AWESOME!!


Nearly two years later, the business had grown so much I was designing, releasing and filling orders more than ever and it was obvious I needed a more efficient website and needed to rebrand which I did in 2014. This lead to lots of growth and ultimately over 500 SKUS/products designed!

While there have been some battles fought, big-girl pants to put on, happy times and times that have made me cry and cry, Lil' Inker Designs has been nothing short of a success and filled with creativity and innovation and that's how I will choose to look back on my experience. I will not be looking back on this as a business that was ripped away because of China and counterfeits. I choose to see this part of my journey as the big, awful thing that had to happen in order for me to make a much-needed life change and lead me to my next chapter.

And back in May of 2019, I did just that. And it's the best thing I've done for myself recently.

Now that I've been in my job for more than six months the time has come to grow in my new position and for me to say goodbye to a part of my life that I cared for, cultivated, and nurtured like a child just as much as my actual child!! I started Lil' Inker when my son was ONE. Hard to believe!!!! I worked through two major surgeries, significant health issues both physical and mental and started on a journey in 2011 with Weight Watchers which lead to an 85-pound weight loss.

The time has come to look back with pride, accomplishment and in awe of all the things I was able to do, all at once and do well. It's taught me that I can do hard things and that I'm not afraid of working hard and that I'm definitely self-motivated.

There are many people to thank and while my family is first and foremost, of course, Ariana Grant and Karen Baker are at the top of that list for all their design support over the years. My Design Team is also at the top of that list and I can't thank you enough for working so hard and for sharing your talents with me and with the Lil' Inker customers and fans. You made the LID products shine brightly!!

Special shout out to Amy Kolling who started on my very first Design Team in November of 2011 and was with me right to the very end. That's quite an accomplishment for both of us, I think! Similar shout out to Sarah Jay who's been with me since then as well but whose position with me grew and changed over the years.

Dearest Customers, without you there wouldn't be Lil' Inker Designs. It was YOU who truly made my little company a success from reading my blog, to engaging on Facebook and Instagram and being part of our New Release Hops and to making purchases in my store. YOU are the ones that challenged me to work hard every day, be kind, generous, treat others as I'd like to be treated and be an honest and transparent businesswoman.

I've found customer service with Lil' Inker Designs Customers to be among the most pleasant of experiences ever. I think it's paper crafters in general. We're just a lovely bunch. Everyone was always so kind and I found that if I was transparent and fair and accommodating that this spoke volume and traveled miles. There wasn't anything I wouldn't do to help a customer.

The greatest gift I have learned along the way is that mistakes can and will happen but it's how you right them that matters most. This is something I've been able to teach my son and something I will carry with me on my new journey.

So, what's next for me? I mentioned that I took a job back in May. At about the same time I started Lil' Inker, my friend Holly Daniels-Christensen started her business, Dune Jewelry. Holly and I talked over the years on occasion about working together and the time was finally right for both of us in May, 2019!

I'm working in Operations at Dune Jewelry, the Original Beach Sand Jewelry Company, who specializes in capturing your favorite memories into tangible, wearable pieces of beautiful jewelry.

I'm so happy being surrounded by people that I can learn from, laugh with and I have an opportunity to put the education I received running Lil' Inker to good and important use. Not to mention, I'm 5 minutes from my home which works out great for my son. It couldn't be a better transition for all of us with mom now working outside of the house! And Dune is creative in its roots and that was so important to me.

I know in my heart of hearts I making the right move for myself and my family. I'm enjoying my new job so much already and I'm looking forward to what 2020 has in store for me: professionally at Dune and in life in general.

Thank you. Thank you for making these last ten years a massive success. Thank you for your support and thank you in advance for your encouragement as I move into the next new chapter of my professional career.

For now, everything in the store will remain at 70% Off . There are some AWESOME THINGS that you can still grab for next to nothing right now. It's a great time to head over and grab some coordinating dies. CLICK HERE to see what's still in stock.

I deeply appreciate you being here and spending some time with me today and for any time you may have spent with me over the years.

It has been an absolute honor and a great joy to design stamps and dies for you and share my creativity with so many all these years!!

Lots of love and crafty hugs,

Laura












50 comments:

  1. I had no idea you were the pioneer of so many innovative styles and designs! As sad as it is to see a company close its doors, we can all cherish the sets we own and use them to honour your legacy. Thank you for sharing your talents with us and good fortune in all your future undertakings.

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  2. Good luck with your new job. I have quite a few stamps and dies from your company. You really were an innovator. I believe you were the first to come out with stitched circles. I had never seen them before. I still use them all the time. You will be missed.

    Patricia R.

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  3. Thank you and CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. Sorry to hear Lil’ Inkers is “closing it’s doors”, I know I love my sets and will think of you Laura when I use them.
    All the best to you and your family in your new stage of life! (((Hugs)))

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  5. Laura, while I'm SO sad to see Lil Inker Designs close, I wish you all the VERY BEST in your new adventure!! I will continue to enjoy using the fabulous products I have from you!








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  6. Laura, I am so excited for you, but sad for us! Seems I have used so many of my Lil' Inkers favorites lately - and am often asked about my personal favorite: the wood grain cover plate! I'll keep sending friends your way until those shelves are empty!
    Thanks so very much for making my shopping experience at Lil' Inkers so much fun!!
    =]

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  7. I have the stitched mats & the small bow die! Seemed like every card I saw used the stitched rectangles & I wanted it so bad I requested it for my birthday gift that year. I've neglected the bow die, but used it with felt over the holidays & fell in love with it! Thank you for all the creative products you brought to the industry & I wish you the very best as you move on with your life!

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  9. So sorry to see the end of your company. I still have never used my pinwheel I purchased, but I have used a lot of other purchases I've made from the LID store. I wish you happiness and much success in your future endeavors. Hang on to all your licensing in case you want to reopen one day.

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  10. Your stitched rectangles set me on a stitched die frenzy since getting yours. I have loved everything Lil' Inker die and stamp created and have enjoyed building up my die collection with many of your stitched dies and cover plates. The industry is losing a wonderful store in you. Thank you. Best wishes to you in everything you do!

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  11. Truly the end of an era - I’m so sad about this news as a crafter, but I am so very glad to have many LID staples in my stash that I will continue to enjoy for years to come. I will miss LID in this wonderful community but know that you will still be giving joy to many through the legacy of what you’ve given us. Have an amazing time in this next chapter of life - I’ll be thinking of you with a smile every time I crank through my beloved stitched Christmas tree die - the LID all-time iconic purchase, that’s where it started for me. All the very best! x

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  12. Wow, I had no idea that you started the stitched die phenomenon! Thank you! I love stitched dies! I really enjoyed reading your story and want to thank you for all of my Lil' Inker products! I am sad that Lil' Inker is closing but it looks like you've got great things going on and I have no doubt that you will have continued success in life - you are AMAZING!

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  13. Thank you for creating such wonderful crafting products for us for so long! I don't think a day goes by that I don't use my stitched rectangles to make something. Life changes for each and every one of us, and although I'm sad to see Lil Inker being phased out, I understand you're doing what's right for you! Congrats on your impressive weight loss, your determination for setting goals and for all you've done for the world of card makers and crafters! Wishing you the very best life has to offer and as much happiness as your heart can hold! Happy New Year in 2020! Hugs

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  14. Family and yourself first! Congratulations on your new position and your new found happiness. A win/win for you and your family. [Bunny]

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  15. I'm so sad now, but I support your new journey. I love your creative die and stamp sets. Especially, stitched dies are always my favorite items. I haven't met you, but I'm sure that you are sooooo kind and sweet person. Even with so many questions and requests from me outside US, you always answer me kindly, thank you so much for your kindness. So, I will never forget you. Lil' Inker Designs will be remembered as a good memory for me. And I will continue to use your products. Thank you sooooo much.

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  16. I will miss your cute and clever designs, but wish you well on your new endeavor. I will still be using your products for years to come and appreciate how great they are. Good Luck!

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  18. It was your unique stitched dies that lead me to your wonderful company. The stitched cover dies are still some of my absolute favorites. Your company will be missed. But I'm so happy you already have a new chapter started for your life and your family. I wish you lots of blessings! Thank you for providing the crafty industry such amazing inspiration for the past 10 years.

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  19. A class act as always. I am so sorry that some crafters continue to buy stolen property from China. We will continue to lose good people and companies. Best of luck in your new job and family and life!!

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  20. I have SOOOO many of your products and love them all; hate to see you go but completely understand. (Just glad I have so many of your innovative products already!!) I wish you a bright and happy future going forward - and now off to check out this new company you are working for, as I'm definitely a beach gal!! Good luck, and thank you for all the gorgeous and creative products you've provided over the years!

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  21. Congrats and all the best in your new work adventure!

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  22. Congratulations on your successes! And heartfelt wishes for all the successes that will come with your new endeavors. I so admire you for taking your ideas and scaling them to a full blown company! And on a side note I'm a Weight Watchers lifetime member too so I know all about commitment to making meaningful change. Best of luck to you. :) I live in Massachusetts too (and not far from you) so maybe we'll run into each other at a crafty event someday. LOL!

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  23. Sure sounds like you're right where you suppose to be...I wish nothing but the best for you and your family. Enjoy all your new adventures! :) And Lil' Inker Designs will always have a place in my heart. <3 Hugs

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  24. Awww, this makes me so sad. Lil' Inker has always held a special place in my heart. It was one of the first stamp companies that I fell in love with. I do believe Stitched Rectangles was my first stitched set and I thought it was brilliant! I'm sure going to miss you but I totally understand the need to turn the page and start a new chapter in your life. Thank you Laura, for all the wonderful challenges and Lil' Inker fun I have enjoyed over the years. Love and much luck to you on building your dreams.

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  25. Laura thank you so much for always being such a great inspiration and so professional. I love all your designs and wish you the best.

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  26. I just want to wish you all the best and thank you for your beautiful designs over the years

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  27. Sigh, this makes me so happy.
    You're awesome and I'm soooooo very happy for you.

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  28. Laura, as the others have commented, you and Lil' Inker Designs will be very much missed in the crafting world. I have many of your products that bring me joy because they're unique and timeless. The new chapter of your life, at Dune Jewelry, is sure to be fulfilling. I just dropped in at their website and OHMYSTARS! Gorgeous projects and a perfect 'fit' for your many talents! Sad to see you go; wishing you all the best on the next part of your life's journey!
    ~carol

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  29. You have been a leader in this creative world and your beautiful designs have inspired us to become better artists. Thank you for your dedication and the courage it took to leap into your business. I wish you great happiness as you move forward into your next chapter.

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  31. Blessings on your new phase in life!

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  32. Thank you for all of your contributions to the crafty world all these years! Best wishes in your next chapter!

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  33. I'm going to miss your shop! Some of my first dies were from you. I won several giveaways from you and I always appreciated your generosity. It sounds like you have an exciting future ahead. I'm glad you've found your next passion. Blessings to you and your family!

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  34. I echo all that's been said above. Thank you for the wonderful products - and wishing you every happiness in the future. We'll miss you though! Your stitched rectangles set of dies is my most used and loved one. You led the way on those for sure. To the extent I now generally make US A2 sized cards and have to source my envelopes from the US! Living in England is tough at times :) x

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  35. I am sooo sad. But happy for you. I came to your blog to buy some of your wonderful cover dies, and discovered that you are closing down your business! Going to miss your products, but will continue to enjoy the products I have from you. Best of luck on your new endeavors. And it was great hearing about how your business started and where you are headed now.

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  36. Wish you best in your next adventure! Glad you look back on happy times and not the sad. Loved playing with your products. OH, and so funny to read about you being in HR, me too! HUGS!

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  37. Thank you for all the wonderful dies and stamps you have provided to my "collection" over the years! I loved your products and I love your positive attitude! Thank you for everything through the years and good luck with the next journey of your life!

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  38. Thank you for all the wonderful dies and stamps you have provided to my "collection" over the years! I loved your products and I love your positive attitude! Thank you for everything through the years and good luck with the next journey of your life!

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  39. I am sad that about Lil Inker but happy for you. I love your products. You had many genius & original designs. My favorites are 'mom' and 'dad' word die. Mom with heart & dad with @ in the middle...can't be more brilliant than that. Wishing you all the best for your future journey!

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  40. Congrats and good luck on your next steps with your new job!! I was lucky enough to have purchased some of those first dies. The bow die and rainbow with clouds in particular. I didn't realize you were the first to have stitching! You were so ahead of the curve. Best of luck and I'm sad to see you go.

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  41. I'd like to wish you every success for your future ventures. I'm sad to see the end of Lil' Inkers, but I'm grateful to have your stamps and dies in my collection. Thanks again, and good luck xxx

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  42. Love my lil inker stitched dies...wish you success in your future ventures!

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  43. Laura - wishing you all the best in your new endeavors. The crafty world is going to miss Lil Inker Designs. Your innovative designs and products will remain favorites for a long time to come!

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