Behind the Scenes: Lacuna Loft’s First Days

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Here at Lacuna Loft, we are all about the behind the scenes, nitty-gritty of running an organization. When I started Lacuna Loft, I relied on some very communicative and helpful small business owners to help guide me…along with a load of library books!  In the Behind the Scenes series we’ll talk about the various stages of the development of Lacuna Loft and some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way. You’ll hear often from me, the Founder and CEO of Lacuna Loft, as well as from our Design Guru, board members, contributors, and more!

Today we’ll discuss the very beginnings of Lacuna Loft and how we chose our business structure of a not for profit corporation.

If you’ve missed other posts in our Behind the Scenes series, check out a day in the life of Lacuna Loft’s founder!

Lacuna Loft grew directly from a lack of resources that I experienced during my time spent caregiving, during my own cancer treatments, and into my survivorship.  I was a super busy graduate student, marathon runner, and doggie mama.  I loved salsa dancing and found every excuse possible to stay up late having fun.  Then caregiving hit, followed closely by my cancer diagnosis.  When I took a summer off of school to finish treatments I had no idea how to take care of myself emotionally.  I didn’t know what exercise meant.  I didn’t know how to keep myself entertained if running 5 miles, working in the lab, or staying up late weren’t on the table of options.  What followed were a few very difficult months of self discovery.

Two summers later I left graduate school and needed to face a new reality.  I started dreaming and scheming about how to fill my time and slowly, Lacuna Loft was born.  I wanted Lacuna Loft to be a place where one could come, take a break, a hiatus, a pause, and hang out.  Where one could learn how to self care and how to advocate for health and well being.  Where I could help others face their new reality with cancer with guidance, creativity, and a shoulder to lean on.  I also wanted a working environment where I could treat myself with compassion and love everyday.

My husband helped me choose a name, get a website up and running, and draft a set of branding images and logos.  We spent hours tweaking colors and website layouts.  I spent even more time talking with everyone I could about my dream.  I talked with young adult cancer survivors and caregivers, people at an expo in Champaign, IL, people in hospitals and cancer resource centers.  If I could find someone to listen to my “pitch” and offer feedback of any sort, I took the opportunity.

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While building Lacuna Loft, I started with a drive and mission to build a blog and a community.  Money, though definitely necessary for living in today’s society, was not a top priority.  Lacuna Loft was thus started with the goal of being a self sustainable and free blog, selling care kits for patients, survivors, and caregivers.  Marketing, however, is not my area of expertise.  Over the course of several months, I discovered that the people who would be buying the care kits were often not the ones actually going through treatments and therefore didn’t recognize the importance of each item in the care kits.  While the kits received wonderful reviews from survivors with whom I spoke (and who purchased the kits), it became clear to me that the care kits required careful marketing, and that marketing care kits was not my life’s passion.  I wanted to write with Lacuna Loft while building a brand and advocating for young adult cancer survivors and caregivers.  The magazine needed to be my top focus.

While looking into other business structures (we had been set up as a sole proprietor thus far), I continued talking with hospital presidents, social workers, marketing departments, resource centers, nurses, and anyone else I could talk into taking a meeting with me.  Over and over again our collaborations were made more cumbersome because they were not for profits and we were set up as a for-profit.  I hit the same road block when approaching nursing organizations and other young adult cancer organizations to join their resources web pages.  If everyone we wanted to work with were nonprofit organizations, a not for profit we would become!

While having a meeting in Chicago with the founder of True North Treks, he suggested that I talk with the Bluhm Legal Clinic out of Northwestern University.  Their Entrepreneurship Law Center takes a handful of clients each semester and helps them with their legal needs for free if you’re seeking to become a nonprofit, and at a reduced rate for for-profit entities.  Lacuna Loft applied and was accepted!  We incorporated as a not for profit corporation in the State of California and applied for (and received) our tax exempt 501(c)3 status.  We formed a board, approved by-laws and everything else required by the State of California, and the rest is history!

It has never been important to me how Lacuna Loft is structured.  As long as Lacuna Loft is allowed to work with other key players in the healthcare and young adult cancer arena and as long as we are able to reach young adults facing cancer as survivors or caregivers, I’m a happy Founder and CEO.

Let us know if there is something in particular that you’d like shown as part of our Behind the Scenes series!