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Product Spotlight
Travel Amenity Kits
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We’re thrilled to introduce a skillfully collaborated collection of Bella Lucce’s bestsellers, now offered in TSA-friendly sizes tucked inside chic cotton travel bags. Our new Travel Amenity Kits enable you to take your favorite Bella Lucce luxuries for face and body on the road no matter where your travels may take you. Whether you’re off on an adventure by plane, train or automobile, we wish you happy travels!

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From Morocco With Love

Shop Bella Luccè's nonprofit to discover a treasure trove of handmade Moroccan luxuries and learn how adding beauty to your life can change the lives of indigenous Berber people.
Visit From Morocco With Love.

Latest Obsession
Inspirational Jewlery from LuluBug
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My teenage daughter recently left for a summer service trip to Thailand. I was scouring Etsy for a piece of inspirational jewelry to give her when I stumbled upon LuluBug. I’m smitten with her whimsical, original designs in sterling silver. My Chloe scored a locket that said “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams…” but I’ve got my eye on several other pieces as well. Who could resist the “You are my sunshine” necklace?

Ingredient of the Month
Crushed Freshwater Pearls

Crushed Freshwater Pearls: Celebrated by Asian women and ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia for more than 3,000 years, pearl powder has a rich history and a myriad of legendary tales about its use at the Imperial Palace. Created by pulverizing real freshwater pearls, it is reputed to boost skins brightness and is rich in both amino acids and trace minerals.

Find it in: Shiitake & Green Tea Antioxidant Serum, Detoxifying Giinger-Wasabi Masque, Orchid & Crushed Pearl Body Creme

Food For Thought

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma- which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

- Steve Jobs

Home Spa Rituals
Lavender- Honey Milk Bath

3 tbsp. Dried Lavender Flowers*
1 1/2 cups Whole Milk or Buttermilk
1/3 cup Honey

Process lavender flowers in a blender until they become a powder, turning off the blender and scraping down the sides as necessary. Whisk together lavender powder, milk, and honey in a glass bowl, then pour into a jar. Before each use, shake the jar and pour half of the mixture into the bath. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes enough for 2 baths.

*Dried lavender flowers can be found in the spice section of gourmet and specialty stores. (Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board)

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Blogroll

I highly recommend the following cozy nooks and places of interest- they represent some of my favorite stops on the web.

NY Times Travel Blog : For those days when you're trapped in your office, but dream of snorkeling expeditions to Belize or biking through Spain.

Yoga Journal : An ever-changing source of information about yoga, meditation and healthy cooking.

Women's Rights Blog : An eye-opening look at the state of women's rights around the globe.

Daily Candy : Unwrap a surprise in your email inbox every morning. It's the only site you'll ever need for the latest in travel, culture, nibbles and libations.

101 Cookbooks : Delectable new recipes every single day. Never fret over what to make for dinner again!

What Ten Years in Business Have Taught Me

September 3, 2013

Sunday marked ten years since I started my first company. I spent the day enjoying my family, indulging in a long bath, a pot of fresh ginger tea and a long walk down Memory Lane. I realize it’s cliche, but I could not possibly have imagined this journey when we flipped the switch on the first Bella Lucce website on September 1, 2003.

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At that time, I was standing at a strange crossroad in my life. I’d just walked away from a fantastically destructive marriage with a toddler on each hip. I’d left my hometown of Memphis, TN and 21 years of friendships and memories behind to move into my parent’s basement on the opposite side of the state. I was broke and scared and defeated. I’d graduated high school with so much promise: near the top of my class, a nationally ranked speech + debate champion with a full-ride scholarship at university.

Many years later, I stood in my mama’s driveway unpacking a car that contained every last thing I owned. I’d gotten pregnant sooner than expected. Was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant. Spent a year getting better. My husband had been diagnosed with a small handful of mental illnesses and had run our credit card debt up so high (buying music gear so that he could be a rock star, no less!) that I was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. I was grateful for the warmth of my parent’s home and my mama’s chocolate pie, but I was absolutely petrified.

I started my business after being turned down for a job waiting tables at the local steakhouse. Oh, how I wish that were a joke. But it wasn’t and that was the day that I realized no white knight was on his way to save me. No serious employer was going to take a chance on a broke, newly-single mother without a degree. My mom was the first to suggest that I turn my hobby of making soap and lotion into a company and I started in earnest, just trying to keep us fed until I found a “real” job. Something better. I found something better alright… except that I built it myself.

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Ten years! Where did the time go?

Ten years later, we are still plugging away at Bella Lucce. I now employ a staff of amazing souls who love that company as much as I do. We create our products by hand in a 7500 square foot workshop in South Carolina. Those products have traveled the world and I have, too (thirty countries & counting!). We’ve been featured in magazines and on television. I’ve been hosted in the homes of Middle East royalty and taught business skills to women in African mud huts. I’ve walked the halls of DC and met with legislators to advocate for small business protection. I’ve designed products and spa programs for top-tier, international hotel chains and it’s not uncommon for the Bella Lucce team to be working on an order of 30,000 lip balms for a private label client in Colorado or a pallet of product to be shipped to Dubai or Italy. Most days, I’m neck-deep in one task or another, but when I finally step out of it, I’m simply awed by it all. And really, really humbled. I still don’t have that college degree. I’ve turned down more than one seven-figure investor and a reality TV deal. Here’s what I’ve learned in ten years of business.

1. It’s not where you start.
Oh sure, trust funds and supportive husbands and college degrees will provide a nice start. But with enough grit, you can thrive without any of those trappings. Once upon a time, I marveled at those things and lusted after them, but I’ve since learned that passion is the great equalizer.

Don’t let your lack of ANYTHING keep you from starting.

2. You have to put yourself out there.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” - Wayne Gretzky

THIS. So much this. You can’t expect success to be delivered to your doorstep neatly wrapped with a beautiful bow. No, you’re going to have to get out there and chase it. Pitch to that account you’re certain will say no, approach your business idol at a networking event, throw your hat in the ring in that small business contest. Take a risk. The worst that can happen is that they say “no,” right? That’s not fatal and I’ve discovered that a glass of wine and a hot bath mitigate 99% of no’s. And that remaining 1%? Well, I’m half-drunk and squeaky clean and there are worse things to be…

3. Tenacity is your greatest weapon.

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Meet Christina: Bella Lucce’s Director of Operations

You’re going to stumble. You’re going to make fantastically bad choices. You’re going to be ridiculed. You’re going to be exhausted and confused and phenomenally tired. Those who ultimately enjoy success are the ones who push through any and every obstacle.

(…says the girl who’s been sued for a million dollars in a trademark dispute, torn apart on internet forums, had her biggest client go belly up on a 6-figure deal, gone mostly deaf and endured bone reconstruction surgery on her inner ear and skull, and endured a few employee ordeals that could be parlayed into TV movies…)

4. Let hunger be your fuel.
Entrepreneurial journeys are not for the meek of heart. This journey has been more challenging than that cancer, that divorce and that bankruptcy. But I’ve continually tapped my hunger as fuel to propel me further. Once upon a time, that was a hunger to get off food stamps (did it in 12 months!), other times it’s been to prove my naysayers wrong. On more than one occasion, it’s been to pursue a deal that I have absolutely no business nailing as a pint-sized business. Whatever frustration, anger, obstacle lays in your path- use it to your advantage.

5. You are not an island.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
- African proverb

One of the greatest joys that I’ve known as an entrepreneur is the network of peers and mentors I’ve established through my business. For years, I slogged through this journey alone until I learned that isolation is truly the enemy of success. Build a community of support around yourself. Interact on social media, attend conferences and workshops and fairs, comment on the blogs of the people you admire, join a trade group. Masterminding together energizes my business and these women lend an understanding ear (and a soft shoulder) when I’ve reached my tipping point.

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Meet Justin: Bella Lucce’s Production Manager

So that’s the last ten years in a nutshell. Bella Lucce has been nothing if not a fantastic learning experience for me. I look back at that tender 26 year old standing in her mom’s driveway- so broken and scared- and I hardly recognize her. The journey has not always been easy but it has sure as hell been worth it. Every. Single. Step. And I can’t wait to see what my next ten years as an entrepreneur has in store…

P.S. We’re having one hell of a month-long birthday party and you’re officially invited.


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