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by Marie Wolf


   Most mornings, around 6 am when the only sounds you typically hear are the chirping of birds in treetops and the drive-by thump of the daily newspaper hitting your front door, Lainie Greenberg Mauer of Plainview rises and heads for her sewing room. There, surrounded by cones of embroidery thread in a rainbow of hues, Greenberg Mauer programs her Brother PR-620 Six-Needle Embroidery Machine—choosing color, stitch and font design—and begins her workday. For the next three hours, while baby Alexis sleeps, Greenberg Mauer embroiders baby bibs, burp cloths, blankets and dozens of other unique gift selections that are then sold online, and in boutiques across Long Island. In a typical week, (working early mornings and later into the evenings) she turns out approximately 200 pieces, personalized with baby’s name, initials, birth date and other memorable bits of information customers may request. Through her home-based business, Personalized With Luv, (www.personalizedwithluv.com) Greenberg Mauer says she has captured the best of both worlds—entrepreneurship and motherhood.

Planning Stages

   While pregnant and working as an event manager for a non-profit organization, Greenberg Mauer says, “I was going through the motions of what I would do after the baby was born. I wanted to find a balance between career, family and home life.” Having a child, she says, forced her to make a change in her lifestyle. “Working twelve hour days [outside of the home] wasn’t feasible anymore.” The solution? Combining her business background (she has a degree in market research), with her work experience. Much of the money raised for fundraising events, she explains, comes from journal ads placed to congratulate honorees and colleagues. Noting the popularity and market for these heartfelt wishes extended to others helped Greenberg Mauer form her own business concept. People love the personal touch, she observed, and “personalized gifts are the in thing.”

   Short on sewing skills, (except for the standard lesson offered in her Home Economics class), Greenberg Mauer forged ahead, confident that her trade publication experience, computer savvy and knowledge of layout would suffice in getting her custom embroidery business off the ground.  “Monogramming and sewing are very different. I know how to typeset … I know how to design. I am not really a home-sewer, but I have a strong technology background.” Ideal traits, considering that many of today’s sewing machines are designed with computerized options.

Giving Birth to Baby and Business

   Greenberg Mauer gave birth to her daughter in May 2007 and three months later officially started her business. The first orders came from a single store in New Jersey. But by March 2008, Greenberg Mauer’s client list had soared. “I was offered an opportunity to share a booth at the ENK Children’s Club Trade Show at the Javits Center,” she explains. “I brought about 120 bibs and burp cloths and I got orders from 20 stores that day!”

   Today, Personalized With Luv layette selections can be found in such stores as Lester’s in Greenvale, Puddleduck’s in East Norwich and Spoiled Rotten in Woodbury. “It’s really evolved. I started with bibs and baby burp cloths and have expanded to include blankets, towels, tote bags, back packs and purses.”

Sewing, Selling and Parenting

“I am always juggling to make it all happen, given that I have a child. I want to entertain her, meet her needs and find time for family and a social life,” says Greenberg Mauer. But because 2-year-old Alexis does not nap, Greenberg Mauer, oftentimes has a sitter help out so she can keep up with her sewing. As for her husband, he travels often for his job, but “he’s supportive in whatever way he can be. We balance it all between his working and my working, and together we work it out.”

Biz Tips

   • Before starting her business Greenberg Mauer says, “I spent an inordinate amount of time researching on the Web—what was selling, what wasn’t, how to make myself different, how to design my web site.”

   • “It’s fun to have a business, but you’re married to your business. It is not to be taken lightly. You need to work hard to keep your customers happy.”

   • Prioritize your time.

   • Why she stands out: “I offer high quality products that are reasonably priced and I offer people the ability to have something personal.”

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