Making Monsters & Mommies Happy
Making Monsters & Mommies Happy
Cody Bauchman, creator of Lu & Ed, takes on sustainability and eco-lifestyles by making delightful little monsters for children (or adults if you’re like me!) Cody shows us all that no matter how out-of-the-box your business idea might be, you can make it a huge success and something you love to do with a little moxy and by rolling up your sleeves. Learn how Cody makes children happy with her monstors and makes mommies happy with her clever ideas for clean up.
1. What’s your mission? Tell us about your organization/business.
Hi! I’m Cody, owner, operator and master monster maker at Lu & Ed. Lu & Ed is an entirely ecofriendly, sustainable toy company beat on raising awareness about textile waste & promoting healthy, eco lifestyles for families. I turn textile discards (pajamas, robes, blanket, sheets, table cloths, and such that would otherwise end up in landfills) into handmade toy storage solutions shaped like monsters that kids “feed” their toys & laundry to called Mon-stors, in addition to stuffed monsters, monster tooth pillows, monster sensory blankets and more! I use the scraps from the big Mon-stors to make smaller Mon-stors, stuffies and more. Then I use the little scraps from those to make eyes, mouths and horns. And those littlest left over scraps? I dice them up super fine and blend them with polyfil to make stuffing for the monsters so there is absolutely no waste from the production of my monsters heading into the landfills!
2. How long did it take you to reach important milestones in your business or organization?
I feel like I’m always hitting milestones – everything is a victory and worth celebrating, you know? Haha! I celebrated every first as if it were a huge milstone – my first sale, my first craft show, my first 50 sales, my first 100 sales, my first rave review, the first time I sold out, the first time my products were featured on a blog. Everything is something to celebrate! I think my biggest accomplishment, not really a milestone, would be having my Mon-stors featured in Parents Magazine in 2015! That was so freaking amazing, and I still have to pull that issue out every once in a while and remind myself THAT REALLY HAPPENED. Because, whoa, I still can’t believe it some days! Probably one of my proudest moments!
3. Tell us about the start-up scares: Was there a moment where you ever seriously contemplated quitting?
Never once thought about stopping after I started! I made the first ever Mon-stor for my son, and when I posted photos to social media I started getting requests – every time I posted photos of completed requests, I got more requests. I was able to quit my day job just about three months after I made my first monster. There’s been ups and downs over the past 8 years, but this is my dream job I never knew I wanted until it began! I love every minute of what I do and both me & my business grows exponentially every year!
4. Did you ever fail or make a substantial mistake in business or organization? Any serious Challenges? How did you overcome and resolve it?
I don’t like to think of situations where things don’t go as planned as failures or mistakes. Failure & mistakes are such negative, heavy words. I feel like as a business owner, it’s so important to use positive verbiage. Sometimes things just don’t go as planned, and that’s okay. Hmm. I guess I would say the one unexpected blow my business took would be how much of an impact my divorce & move from KC to NC had. Some people I used to be friends with trash talked me & my business when all that happened, and spread some really gnarly rumors, and that really hurt my sales for almost a year. I never expected that. So going forward, I was much more careful to separate my personal life & relationships from my business.
5. What action has the most impact that you’ve taken to reach your goal/s?
Putting myself outside of my comfort zone, setting higher goals than I thought I could achieve, booking events & setting up wholesale accounts before I felt “ready” – if I waited until I felt ready or in some cases even worthy of some of the events I applied for or wholesale opportunities I sought out, I never would have taken the leap & landed so many amazing opportunities, plus I would have missed out in thousands of dollars in sales!
6. What would you tell your younger/earlier self? Any piece of advice?
Positive vibes only, kid
7. What the best advice YOU’VE ever received about pursuing your vision?
“Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. They aren’t you.” – my dad
8. Has having success in your business/organization or money changed you? In what ways?
My most successful seasons come when I am the most positive and generous. When I am lifting others, when I am investing myself wholly in good things. In seeing the ebb and flow of sales in correlation with my attitude & mentality, it has helped me to grow into a more consistently positive, engaged, generous & helpful person. It’s taught me to look deeper, love harder and be kinder.
9. How do you create, innovate or break the rules in your life/business/organization?
There’s a lot of pressure to buy into branded everything. Packaging. Tissue paper. Stamps and stickers and all that jazz. Being an sustainable, eco-minded business, I don’t do any of that. I flip food boxes, like cereal boxes or pasta boxes, inside out for packaging. It’s free & eco-friendly, and suits my business model. I also only send business cards to new customers, no tissue paper or plastic packaging. Minimal waste, no frills and fluff – just the product & a thank you card, and a swag bag – which also sort of breaks the rules about “setting yourself apart from the competition”! Each swag bag has 10-12 samples from other makers tucked inside with coupons, so each order I send out helps promote other toy makers & small businesses. Community over competition, baby! I’m all about the lifting tide mentality.
10. Tell us about your most successful launch. What was it for and what really moved the needle for you to make it a success?
For YEARS, my Mon-stors sold out every single time I listed them, within 3 hours. The quickest they ever sold out was a stocking of about two dozen that was sold out 3 minutes. I’ve worked REALLY hard over the past 8 years to increase production so that I don’t constantly sell out & Mon-stors can be more readily accessible to people, and I’m finally getting to a place where I’m not selling out every single time I do a stocking or at every event I’m at! Yay!
11. Stevie Wonder or The Beatles? (this, I must know.)
Not a super huge fan of either (more of an indie folk rock kinda girl!) but I’d have to say The Beatles. 🙂
Master Monster Maker Cody Bauchman, creator of Lu & Ed, sews in a small studio from her home Asheville, NC, turning textile discards into upcycled laundry and toy storage solutions for kids called Mon-stors!