From Basement Workshop To $12M Sale: Interview with Julie Cole – LifeWork Episode 4.4

Could that great idea you have today turn into a multi-million dollar acquisition deal in just 13 years? Julie Cole, co-founder and VP of Mabel’s Labels – the company that makes cute, unique and durable labels for “stuff kids lose” – would never have guessed how quickly her company would grow when she and three family members started it in a basement in 2003, but she and her team made decisions along the way that helped set the company up for continued growth, now and into the future. In this episode of LifeWork, Julie shares the decisions, missteps, and happy accidents that led to the company’s acquisition by industry giant Avery, and the lessons she learned along the way.

Notes & Links:

  • The evolution of Mabel’s Labels, from “great idea” to acquisition
  • How Mabel’s Labels built a following using an authentic, grassroots approach to influencer marketing and social media
  • The personal mindset changes needed in making hires
  • A company is only as good as its people: the importance of building the right team
  • The evolution of decision-making from sitting around a sofa to a boardroom. How do you maintain the nimbleness of a small company as it grows?
  • How Mabel’s Labels learned to make smart hires: “horses for courses.”
  • The importance of building systems into a growing business
  • Why delegating and developing trust is a practice
  • How (and why) to start a business with scale (and/or sale) in mind
  • The importance of mentors – and how to find them
  • Why the key to being able to grow your business is to leave your ego at the door: the more honest you are, the more you learn
  • Why the Mabel’s Labels team invested energy and time in developing company values to make decision-making and hiring/firing easier
  • Julie’s advice to someone starting a business: Make sure your spouse or partner is 100% committed
  • Read Julie’s blog, The Mabelhood
  • Follow Julie on Twitter

1 Comment

  1. Barbara Middlebrook July 2, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    This article reminds me to never give up on your passion. Think big plan well and keep working at it. Barbara’s Graphic Arts & WPS. Thanks.

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