Yo Momma Monday: Cody from Lu & Ed

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Meet Cody, a work-at-home mama in her mid-twenties from Kansas City, MO, who runs an eco-friendly monster toy line called Lu & Ed. Before starting her own business, Cody was the head of marketing in a retail store, and before that, she was in line to become a store manager at a local restaurant. Not looking back, Cody says that making mon-stors “is the best job I have ever had!”

She came up with the idea of Mon-stors when she moved from South Carolina to Missouri with her son and lived in the basement of her fiance’s mom’s house. With little room to move around, Cody thought of a storage solution where her son could literally feed toys to a stuffed monster.

Once I posted photos online, I got dozens of requests and soon after, dropped my day job to pursue it full time!

Cody is not only a mama to her son, she is also a mama to seven rescue pets and has another job recording sales for an author. Being a mom has made her more motivated because she has more flexibility as an independent business owner than she would in the workforce, and she is setting a good example for her son to pursue his dreams.

Photo from Lu & Ed

Photo from Lu & Ed

“My son loves what I do and I love that it enables me to stay home with him, that I can be here for him all the time. I am so thankful for everyone who supports my indie business and allows me this opportunity.”

Although it’s hard for Cody to pinpoint her favorite thing about running her own business, she did say that the scariest thing is straightening out her taxes and licenses.

“You always want to make sure you cross your T’s and dot your I’s and it can be scary filing taxes for your first time or applying for a new license when you relocate. There are so many great resources out there now for handmade businesses to help them get their affairs in order, and for that I am thankful!”

Right now, she is a one-mama shop and works in the extra bedroom in the back of her house. Cody says that she is casually looking for an intern to help out with sewing during her busy times – before big events and during the holiday season – but in the meantime, her son has turned out to be quite the helper.

Photo from Lu & Ed

Photo from Lu & Ed

“On take your child to work day last year he worked in the studio with me all day and made two stuffed monsters, and had so much fun doing so! He also loves to make jewelry, sculpt, paint, make soap and draw. ♥”

She describes her workspace as “messy, colorful, fun, full of inspiring quotes, monsters and a huge over flowing closet of fabric.” Speaking of fabric, Cody uses all eco-friendly materials to make Mon-stors and assures that there is absolutely no waste going into landfills. She uses large cuts of fabric to make Mon-stors, then from that, she cuts use the remnants to make small Mon-stors, totes, stuffed monsters, gadget Mon-stors and other productsWhatever is left from that is used for stuffing or to make dog beds that she donates to animal shelters.

“They are all little steps that make a big impact in the environment.”

Cody has always been eco-aware but admits that she didn’t know the impact buying new fabric had on the environment until she took a part-time job at a fabric store to help cover the costs of some dental work she needed. After she witnessed all the waste firsthand, she decided that she could no longer support big-box fabric stores.

Photo from Lu & Ed

Photo from Lu & Ed

“Fabric arrives in a big, plastic wrapped box. The box and plastic wrap are thrown in the trash (not recycled), then each bolt is wrapped in plastic wrap, which is then throw away. All uneven edges are trimmed and just thrown away, as are tiny remnants & the cardboard sleeves the fabric is wrapped around.”

She started buying fabric at thrift stores and after a few months, people were offering her old fabric, sheets, clothing and blankets that they were no longer using. Wanting to do more, she searched for more eco-friendly ways to run her business. She started flipping food boxes inside out and once her family and friends heard she was doing this, they started giving her their old boxes.

“I haven’t had to buy or pick up a box from the post office in over two years! I also found Eco Enclose, a company that makes biodegradable tape from renewable resources, Fabric Recycles, a fabric and crafting notion thrift store where I can buy thread spools second hand at a fraction of the cost (and pollution of production) of new thread, and Moo‘s amazing recycled, biodegradable business cards!”

Cody has witnessed her eco-efforts sparking a revolution among artisans within her community. Business owners are realizing that being eco-friendly in your supplies and packaging actually results in major savings for your business, and more and more people are coming to her for advice on how to make their businesses more sustainable.

Cody's car after a thrifting haul

Cody’s car after a thrifting haul. Photo from Lu & Ed

“Several people I know have stopped purchasing boxes and bubble mailers and started recycling packaging or making their own mailers from reclaimed materials to reduce landfill waste and environmental pollution. I think that it is creating a bit of a ripple effect – as more people close to me make small changes, people close to them will as well, and so on. ♥ If we all make small changes they will have a huge impact on the Earth!”

She says that her eco-conscious efforts are also creating a ripple effect with her son. They pick up litter together all the time, often talk about sustainability and she takes him on all of her thrift store adventures. “My son is a total green-freak,” she says.

“He will grab a robe and say “Wow, this would be a great monster!” We buy all of our clothing, dishes, and home goods like lamps and decor from thrift stores, and my son is aware of the ecological impact factory produced goods creates on the world. My son has a hawk eye for organic products at the grocery store, too. Haha! I hope he will maintain his love for nature and making good choices through adulthood.”

Cody started Team Lu & Ed at the beginning of this year to collaborate with other artists and fulfill customer demands for products she doesn’t offer. It slowly grew into a charitable endeavor, with up to 50% from the sale of each product going to charity. Recently, she partnered with The Mollie Shop to sell super cute bows, and half of the profit will be donated to Drumm Farm Center for Children.

Cody's collaboration with The Mollie Shop. Her first donation was $148. Photo from Lu & Ed

Cody’s collaboration with The Mollie Shop. Her first donation was $148. Photo from Lu & Ed

“It has been a huge success and I have loved helping emerging artists become discovered through our collaborations, and I love bring art & toys together to create change in my local community!”

She says that her favorite thing about what she does is “how happy my products make children. It just makes my heart so happy to see photos of children lovingly playing with their monsters.” She is adding a few new lines to her shop and is working on a few new collaborations. Cody hopes that her green business will continue to inspire her community.

“I am hoping that my eco-mission will inspire other handmade business owners make more conscious decisions about where they source their supplies, and inspire consumers to make slower purchases, really thinking about the product, how it makes them feel and the impact it has on the Earth before buying. ♥”

You can find out more about Cody, Lu & Ed and her mission by visiting her website and connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. If you would like to participate in Yo Momma Monday, please post in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #yomommamonday. You can find more awesome mama inspiration on my Pinterest!

Yo Momma Monday: Bethany Remsberg

yo momma monday

One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was look at cute onesies to buy. I mean that’s the first thing on everyone’s mind when they find out they are responsible for another human being, right? So, while I was on the hunt for cute and unique clothes for my little one, I landed on this “No Hablo” shirt by TrulySanctuary on Etsy. Turns out, they also make clothing for big kids, like me!

Image belongs to Truly Sanctuary

Image belongs to TrulySanctuary

After I did some light, innocent internet stalking, I found out that they were Beth and Ron Remsberg, a husband and wife team who were raising their two children in Nashville, TN. Literally, they are a mom and pop shop. Instantly, I felt a connection with their style and their story and I wanted to learn more. I stalked them on every social media site I could, just to gain a little insight into their world. I was in awe of the fact that they could work together in such a small space and I loved that they included their children with everything they did.

Image belongs to Truly Sanctuary

Image belongs to TrulySanctuary

Beth, 34, was born and raised in Sacramento and left in 2005, when she was 25 years old. From there, she lived in Idaho, Germany, Florida and Costa Rica before she settled in Nashville last July, where she plans to stay and raise her kids. She was working at the Bavarian Alps when she found out she was pregnant with her first baby, Truly.

I was working at a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps having the absolute time of my life…I broke up with my fun YOUNGER boyfriend whom I was seeing over there and 3 days later I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Truly…EVERYTHING CHANGED!!! Up until that point I was perfectly content with little responsibility, no money and a carefree life in the alps…I was scared and felt so alone. I moved back to the States and actually met Ron (32) my current husband and Truly’s Adoptive father while I was pregnant. When Truly was tiny I became pregnant again (we jokingly blame our strict Christian upbringings for not understanding where babies come from)…Normandy was born just 13 months after Truly. Peter, Truly’s biological dad actually joined in on the fun and moved in with us when Truly was 2 and Normandy was 1…we have all been sharing parenting responsibilities since…the girls don’t remember a time before Peter was around…We strongly believe in the power of love and forgiveness and wish more kids were as lucky as ours!

Image belongs to Truly Sanctuary

Image belongs to TrulySanctuary

When Ron and Beth’s car broke down and they couldn’t afford to get it repaired, they decided to go a different route, and live without the car. Beth says that the kids aren’t bothered by the lack of a vehicle, but do request a taxi if they get tired. They are hoping to get a Nissan Leaf down the road so their kids can participate in more stuff and they can attend festivals and events in Nashville.

Beth and Ron don’t have any employees so they do all the work on their own – with the occasional help from Ron’s mom and their friends during the holiday season – and they are hoping to grab an intern from one of the local colleges. But for now, they are digging the flexibility.

I love making my own schedule, in ugly sweatpants I might add. I love that we don’t have to cram everything into the same crazy weekend as everyone else. We can make appointments whenever, go grocery shopping on Wednesday morning. I don’t have to feel guilty for calling in sick. We also lived in Costa Rica for 6 Months and were able to do everything remotely. Our daughter Normandy was born with kidney issues and there have been times we have had to basically live in the hospital…I love that she was never alone…I can always be with her.

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Image belongs to TrulySanctuary

While working from home can be flexible and super relaxing, it can be tricky to separate “mom time” from “business time” (trust me, I can attest to this). Beth agreed that this is the most challenging part of working from home. Doing both can teach you to accept that not everything will go they way you expected, and it can teach you how little sleep one can survive on.

It can be confusing to go from play to work…and there is a big reason most people are prohibited from bringing their 4 year olds to work. I am a perfectionist and stink at multitasking, so it is in my nature to put my full attention toward something until I get it just right…simultaneously running a business and raising children has stretched me as far as this goes. I have learned to accept less than perfect, accept mistakes, ask for help and ask for forgiveness from my family and customers when there just isn’t enough time in the day. There have been several occasions where we pull all nighters to meet a deadline because our kids needed us full-time.

Now if your reaction was the same as mine when you saw that they work together, you would understand what a crazy concept it would be to work with your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/whathaveyou. Anyone who has spent five minutes with me knows that I am beyond crazy for my boyfriend, but we both know that we could never work together. So, how do they do it?

We value our business because it has afforded us so much flexibility and family time and we know it requires both of us remaining on the same team, working toward a common goal to keep it going. Egos take a back seat. We aren’t stubborn just for the sake of being right when it comes to the business. Our working place is a safe place where we can bounce creative ideas off one another without feeling the least bit of shame or embarrassment. In marriage people tend to play devil’s advocate and are quick to criticize and immediately trouble shoot their spouses “great” idea. Within our business we listen to one another. We let wacky ideas flow. We allow time to tell if something is too big to come to fruition instead of immediately listing all the reasons a new idea will surely fail. Now when it comes to our relationship we tend to be a lot more selfish, we have big pointless fights just like the next couple…its a work in progress and ultimately love keeps us going!

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Image belongs to TrulySanctuary

And what about those adorable little girls?

Seriously they are the most amazing people I could possibly spend my time with. I won’t lie though, it is fun getting attention wherever we go…they are outgoing, vibrant and beautiful…If I indulge too much in this though, I start to feel a little like a pageant mom. I am just really really really really proud of my daughters.

Image belongs to TrulySanctuary

Image belongs to Truly Sanctuary

Besides getting a website (their only shop is on Etsy right now. Crazy, I know), Beth is hoping to start blogging and ultimately, she wants to open up a storefront in Nashville. In the immediate future, she is preparing for her kids to start school and as for their business, they are trying to keep up with all the busy work and all the orders coming in, while still keeping themselves open for new opportunities.

In our personal life we are working on laying down roots in Nashville and staying put. This has been very challenging as I tend to daydream most about not just traveling, but really living and experiencing other places. We also just moved to the best school district in our area as Truly prepares to start kindergarten, basically making us the poorest family in the richest part of town. I’m learning to feel ok with being me as I build relationships with neighbors who aren’t like me. In business a lot of days it feels like we can’t keep up and spend all of our time doing busy work while longing to do creative design work. We’re just inching in on the next level, but can’t quite afford help yet, so sometimes it feels like we never get a break. Still we try to not let opportunities pass us by even if it means pulling an all-nighter here and there…we were recently asked to design a tee exclusive to crew of Bill Murray’s new movie. We will also be donating our signature Rainbow Colored “Don’t Hate” tee to the HERE Arts Center In NYC to promote a Musical entitled “God Hates This Show” satirizing the Westboro Baptist Church. The projects aside from our Etsy shop seem endless and we intend to continue to ride this wave!

Image belongs to TrulySanctuary

Image belongs to TrulySanctuary

Through all the changes, there is one thing that remains important to the Remsberg family, it’s embracing the community.

Placing value on the people around you that you interact with face to face…meeting needs without strings attached. Basically LOVE.

You can find TrulySanctuary on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course, Etsy.

If you know of any cool moms (yourself included) who would be awesome for this, please feel free to leave a brief description and contact info in the comments. You can also email me at mamabecrafty@gmail.com. It has been so amazing getting to know all of these inspirational and rad mommas!