Destiny Padgett here, self-taught entrepreneur, beauty school dropout and founder of Lit Handlers.
I began my journey as an entrepreneur during the hardest year of my life. At 10-weeks pregnant, I lost my daughter’s biological dad to suicide. That experience changed the course of my life as I learned the importance of mental health and turned to entrepreneurship with the drive to take care of my family.
I started my first baby boutique in 2010, learning the ropes of business bit by bit, selling at trade shows and flea markets, alongside doing lash extensions and permanent cosmetics.
In 2013, my parents gave me a Silhouette machine for Christmas which ultimately changed the course of my business. I no longer wanted to sell the things that anyone could get and everyone already had, so I started an Etsy store. I was creating designs that said "born & raised" in the shape of all of the US states. I was loving it! until, one day, I just wanted free shipping on my vinyl order(I was maybe $3.00 shy) and added a few blank can coolers to my cart to try.
After messing around with the can coolers and figuring out the right heat press settings, I got it down and began doing deals on Jane.com with monogrammed can coolers. At the same time, I realized that SOO many people wanted blank can coolers so I was created a website(wasn't allowed to do this on Etsy) and sold blank can coolers in 5 packs, 25 packs and 100 packs. The amount of orders from the website was keeping me so busy, I stopped messing with vinyl completely and changed my name from "Born & Raised" shirts to "Blank Can Coolers". This is when the "Lit Handlers" of today began to take place.
After 10 messages a day asking about pattern can coolers instead of just solid colors, I finally started listening and brought in my first pattern ones. I lalaloved these pattern ones. They were so fun and different. I thought "these aren't blank anymore, these are LIT." lol. So I once again changed my name from "Blank Can Coolers" to "Lit Can Coolers" thinking this would be the last time. NOPE. a year later I learned that I was denied the trademark for "Lit Can Coolers" because of another company and I had to change my name. I felt defeated for a minute but just kept thinking about this idea I had to put a handle on it and change the name.
So late 2017, Early 2018, I rebranded for the last time. I hand sewed my first few samples to give my attorney for the patents and to give my manufacturer so they can see how to do it. People were telling me that it was a silly idea and 100% aesthetic and have no real purpose but man am I glad that I didn't listen to them. I tear up a little every time I receive an email telling me how the handle has helped with their ability to actually hold their drink due to a neurodegenerative disorder.
At heart, we are about providing stand-out Handlers with cool designs that fit just about any type of beverage for just about any occasion but we are so incredibly grateful for the support that we receive. With yalls help, we have been able to give back to our communities through sponsorships such as fishing teams, kids basketball, softball and baseball teams, college cheer teams and children's cancer research.
As much as we love creating, we love supporting other artists too. If you are creative and could see your patterns on our Handlers, we would love to see your work! Email us your main website that will allow us to purchase patterns with licenses at email@example.com. If you are still new and aren't set up on any of the major sites, don't feel discouraged. We can still find ways to collaborate!
If you are interested in wholesale or custom handlers please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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