2020 Alpha of the Year

🏆 MEET OUR 2020 ALPHA OF THE YEAR- Lori Treleaven 🏆



🐺 What do you sell and what inspired you? 

I offer witchy and pagan inspired jewelry and art (with a focus on clay sculpted vessels and tools.)  Before I opened my shop, I sought out these kinds of witchy items to express my own sense of style and to help make my sacred space reflect what I felt within, but I saw the lack of options on the market. Not only is our style not ‘mainstream’, but each one of us resonates with our own unique set of colors, symbols, animal spirits, and totems. Finding items that represent our beliefs, enhance our intentions, and make our souls sing is not an easy task!

Then, one day, I was playing in my art studio with my clay and thought, what if I just tried making what I can see in my mind?

This began the long road of trial and error with techniques, clay, and paint- and many, many hours of practice. Eventually… it came together! I was finally able to create beautiful, functional pieces of art that reflected that vibe within.

I knew I wanted to offer my pieces to others as well, but I was concerned that we as a society have become so accustomed to mass-produced cheap, disposable products that it would be difficult to find an audience who appreciates hand-craftsmanship. Also, what if no one else shared my love of this style?

And, of course, from a business perspective- I didn’t yet know how to stand out as a brand.

Despite these hesitations, and with the guidance of Starla and HAA, I forged ahead  (also adding niche-related jewelry designing to my “laboratory” experiments, and still expanding to other product lines as I progress) and just a couple months after joining HAA I launched my shop with my first collection…  and it took off faster than I could have ever hoped for, and I found that my concerns were unwarranted.  There IS a market for what I sell.  I found them, and was able to market to them, even in a competitive category like jewelry…  because Starla taught how to do that 😉

🐺 How do you feel about your growth from “casual-seller-LORI” to “Alpha-LORI”?

This has changed my life in ways I can’t even count!  So, I’ve dabbled with online selling since I was a teen in the 90s, but I never had any focus and everything was slow moving with trial and error until I became frustrated or bored and I quit in short order.  For example, I opened the Etsy shop in 2012, but I didn’t know anything – I sold a few digital scrapbook items, some vintage things.  I didn’t have a brand or any cohesive store.  I got bored, and I quit for years.

Frustration with my day job and the intense desire to work for myself lead me to Starla and HAA and I made the commitment to finally- after 20 years- take this seriously.  And, it worked!  Here I am, a year and a half after I launched Lori‘s Laboratory, and I’ve made 1400 sales in that time.  I cut back my full time day job to part time only 4 months after my shop opened, and now I am hoping to fully leave that job before the holiday season this year.

It is what I always wanted, and i would not have gotten here without Starla and HAA!

🐺 How has HAA helped you the most? 

Hooo boy.. where to begin?!   Even though I’ve been selling random items online here and there for a long time, I was still basically a newbie when it comes to running a cohesive shop and a BRAND.  That, as a whole, is what makes all the difference in the world.  You become successful when you create your own entity, you own little world of handmade products and your fan base that desires those products and to whom you can connect on a personal level.   HAA teaches you from the ground up how to not just create your shop -technically- but how to create your brand and how to cultivate a community to form around your brand, which will create loyal customers who keep coming back for more.

The technical walk-throughs of Etsy, Mailchimp, photo editing, etc are absolutely wonderful but equally as important to the success I’ve had are the more psychological parts of the course.  Getting inside the minds of your customer base AND yourself (so you can get out of your own way and have the confidence to push forward.)

Having a community of other wonderful student Alphas, where Starla is helpful and active as well, was also instrumental in getting up and running.

I went into HAA knowing some basics of how to take a photo and make an Etsy listing, but I came out of HAA with the knowledge of how to run a niched-down branded shop people will flock to and come to trust as an authority in the field. 🙂

🐺 What tips would you give to Alphas who are struggling in their journey? 

My best advice comes down to the familiar tagline… JUST DO IT.

Planning is great.  But don’t get caught planning too much for too long because you’re too afraid to actually start the work.  Just do it!  Spoiler alert:  Planning never stops happening!  We’re always planning our next steps and evolving. You have to be putting work out at the same time, though 😉  Otherwise you are getting no where, and you risk burning yourself out before you even do a single thing with your shop. (Been there, done that!)

It doesn’t have to be perfect.  You’re just procrastinating.  (Been there, done that!)   Just do it!  You’ll learn, and next time will be better.  It’s not like you only get one shot at this thing 😉

You can’t wait for motivation to happen before you start working.  Motivation often comes after you start working!   You have to just do the work sometimes even when you don’t want to. You’re tired after you get back from your day job or after you put the kids to bed-  What’s the trick to getting motivated to work on the shop?  There is no trick for this.  You just have to do it. You have the choice.   You can think about how much your shop means to you, where you want to be in your life down the line, etc,  and sure, those dreams can help get the energy going- but sometimes you really just have to get up, go to your workspace, and start working when you’d rather be doing anything else in the world.  And it stinks sometimes.  But you’ll find often that after you start, it gets easier.  And when you’re done, you’ll be closer to your goals, and you’ll see that it was worth it.  During the holiday season when I had to work 100 hours a week, I was literally making products while crying a few times.  But trust me-  It won’t always be that hard!  If you just keep pushing forward, you’ll get to where you want to be sooner, and it will get easier sooner.  🙂

Another piece of advice I can give is to spend as much time as you can learning- either learning business or learning your craft.  Turn off the mindless entertainment that doesn’t really contribute much (movies/shows/news/social media scrolling) and put on a Youtube tutorial or read a book instead.  For example, listen to one of Starla’s videos while you work, or while you’re cooking, or while you’re in the shower!  There are so many chances to fit more in your day-  Take every moment you can to learn, and do so from many sources.  (But, as I mention above- actually do the WORK as well – don’t get caught simply collecting information but not using it! )  This is what I’ve done for years, with Starla and HAA having formed the foundation, and it makes ALL the difference- I may feel a little boring sometimes because I can rarely chat about the latest series everyone else is watching, but, instead I have a successful shop, so it’s been a fair tradeoff  😀

🐺 Any final words about winning Alpha of the Year? 

I am still just mind-boggled at how I’ve made it here and how I am seeing my dreams come to life.  I am humbled and appreciative, considering how many other wonderful Alphas are working hard every day and continue to inspire me.   Thank you so much to Starla, Marc, and Nate, and all supportive Alphas out there!  You guys are truly the best and I am rooting for all of you!  Never give up on your dream!  <3

🏆 where to follow LORI