Episode #194 – Lauren Delaney George On Tiny Steps To Online Business Success

by John McIntyre

Lauren went to school in NYC for costume design.

When she finished, she found no one was beating down her door job-wise.

She had many elaborate scenes found within her imagination…

…and decided to express them in a way that didn’t break the bank.

By making tiny worlds.

She threw up a few of her creations on Etsy and when people snapped them up it surprised her.

Pretty soon her hometown newspaper was clamoring to get a story.

Then she woke up to find out she was in the New York Times.

She hit the “circuit”, meeting other miniature conventioneers ad customers purchasing her creations.

Her love for research and reproducing authentic historical documents and other pieces…

…extended to helping with an Escape Room.

She has a keen designer’s eye and her work is nothing short of exquisite.

Listen for yourself as her and I delve into some of the products she offers.

Explore the ways she is selling to her awesome fans.

I’m sure your creativity will jump into high gear too!

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How one “mix-up” lead to even more intrigue and mystery amongst her customers.
  • Can you offer your products and services in similar creative ways? (The haunted dollhouse is GOLD.)
  • The clever way Lauren’s “persona” is facilitating all her products.
  • Story-telling ideas abound in this episode. Can you take one and put it in place right now in your business?
  • Listen to her discuss design and now take a look at your logo…your graphics…your products.

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 194


Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO

David Allan: Hey, everybody, we’re back for another edition of the podcast and today I have Lauren Delaney George on the show a longtime friend of mine I haven’t seen in like a couple years…

Lauren Delaney George: way too long

David Allan: I met you through another magician friend
of mine right and you actually took a picture of us that’s still floating around if ypou remember and you are… would you
call yourself a miniaturist? Is that

Lauren Delaney George: That’s pretty good

David Allan: I was thinking about that on the way over… she makes miniatures that are miniatures…

Lauren Delaney George: I guess so yeah it’s always hard to explain to people what it is that I do. I get some interesting looks…

David Allan: Yeah and I’ll put the Instagram in the links and stuff to people to check it out but you have some of the most
fascinating little scenarios and scenes set up in your Instagram and your Facebook posts and stuff which you know these tiny little well it’s dollhouse furniture yeah but you create these
magnificent worlds I would say that feel…because the quality of your work they feel real it’s you know I got grew up in
Canada and I don’t know if Americans can will relate to this but like Friendly Giant was a big show in in Canada I think it’s like a British show or something but he would come in the giant this one called regular-sized person who’s playing a giant would come in and then you saw this little dollhouse castle as they
panned in and it the drawbridge came down and you went in and then there was like a little these chair high back chairs next to a fireplace you know it was all that doll sized furniture yeah II would say a little chair curl up and then there was almost a little verbiage that used to introduce the channel
I’ll put a link in the show notes for the thing if I can find it on YouTube or something but that you know when I first saw your stuff you were making tiny little books not being a book lover
myself that sort of intrigued me because there were so photo-realisticso maybe get into something like whoa I mean when I first met you you’re already doing this stuff yeah but go back even further than that and talk about like how you got into making tiny world…

Lauren Delaney George: Yeah when I first met you I just moved to New Orleans with my little business I’ve been living in New York for six years had gone to school there for costume design and this had been kind of a side hustle making miniatures anyways I guess it was appealing to me in grad school I went for design it was apealing because I could create these worlds that were
existing in my mind and imagination – I could create them you know on my desktop with minimal material yeah just a small
budget it was more about you know finding garbage and finding a way to make it look matte you know magic or look like something it wasn’t so it’s really it was I think a lot of it was
about controlling the environment and you know kind of economy of scale being able to to realize some of these grander
scenes that I had in my mind because when you when you’re at that level in production design you don’t have people
coming to you and saying oh you know Lauren I have this million dollar …this is a way of getting at that because the reality you have you know other student directors coming to you and they’re like okay we’re doing a Civil War era battle all
correct uniforms here’s a budget of $50 you know by the way you have a cast you know they’re all gonna be the wildest
body types you ever see…

David Allan: I love like people who want to be doing copywriting

they’re like yeah we went to sales page

or the landing page with my bunch emails

let me have $50 yeah go make the magic

happen just kind of maybe read like a

channel for that remuneration mm-hmm

it’s like I’ll show you I’m gonna make

something am I done yeah yeah so I

started doing it when I was lefty was

right before I started graduate school

and it was just a couple of odds and

ends I put on Etsy money the first time

I ever had any sales I was really

surprised that there were people out

there is weird

right and be willing to pay money for

you have people are scouring in that for

majors like I was I was honestly really

surprised yeah and then I remember I

went off to school and I was still kind

of continuing it’s just a little a

little thing and I got a call from our

local the Kalamazoo Michigan Gazette

right that’s my home that’s where you’re


yeah and they were doing they were

running a series on Etsy artists and

they were like oh you know we’d like to

do an article about you as part of our

series and I was just like oh my gosh

you can when you make these things and

you photograph them you put them online

just kind of like you’re putting it out

into the void right and so again like

when when somebody interacts with yeah

they’re surprised yeah it’s always time

and it’s like oh that’s part of the


yeah so that was surprising and exciting

and it’s also kind of like why it’s like

who cares you know just with my heart

and my room yeah so let’s see and then

and then like once I was in New York and

I woke up and I had a couple messages

from couple Etsy customers and they’re

like hey congrats on the mentioned in

the New York Times and there was like

what mentioned in the New York Times and

after it this it happened a couple of

time they’ve got a couple messages like

this I was like okay it’s not just a

crazy person something to it and I was

able to search and I had just the

briefest mentioned was it a miniature

article oh it was I think what’s called

a hobby best kept small and it’s about I

think this woman I’ve seen that oh your

website yeah it’s on my website and this

woman she’s a New Yorker had a really

tiny apartment and was kind of like you

know but moaning the fact that she

couldn’t have her dream furniture net so

she got into she bought like being in a

fit of frustration frustration she

bought like a miniature

shez or something on eBay

you know a polar bear oh yeah so then no

you have like a miniature castle so she

was just kind of writing you know

laughingly about this hobby and how she

got sucked into it and she was listing

you know different vendors and how weird

it is that you could get miniature parts

of soap and a little Playboy magazine

like anything you can think of you know

in a larger town yeah so that was fun

and what else so yeah so those weren’t

be sort of big we started going to like

you started going to like conventions oh

yes yeah and I haven’t done that in a

while but I for a while I was really

active on this circuit there are these

miniature shows where it’s like a whole

like yeah this whole niche that people

are really into and it seems to cross

over generations you know like I mean

how big that yeah handed down that

grandparents will buy dog houses for

their kids or their grandkids and a lot

of times I think what happens with my

female customers is that maybe they’ll

be really into the dog house when

they’re a kid and then they’ll go

through a phase where they’re not into

it and then they’ll come back into it

you know make America charities they

reconnect or I have this woman who came

in today and she was saying that she

bought a dollhouse for her daughter and

she’s like I’m the curator basically

she’s stolen her daughter she’s taking

it over yeah yeah yeah so but the

conventions are really fun because

there’s this model meet the people yeah

and it’s like you know there aren’t too

many people it’s a small niche and

really no pun intended I was trying to

figure out a way to say that

um but you see see the same people at

the shows like there’s a really big one

in Chicago I get really big one in

Philadelphia and you just it’s like the

same people you see you don’t travel

they try people travel from all over the

world come to let go rabid people yeah

and my things are more modestly priced

you know I make the tiny dogs but my

first big show that I did we had our

table across from the table of his

artisan who makes miniature armoires

and furniture and the craftsmanship is

just unreal and they go for like twelve

hundred dollars add us I mean it’s more

money than I’ve ever spent on any piece

of real furniture like this is so cool

yeah and what you’re doing it with

minimal materials yeah it doesn’t it’s

just a really at the time yeah the time

and the attention to detail yeah yeah

it’s so cool when I watch your posts I

see your tiny little books and you

create these scenes or just whimsical

and and they started and you’ll know

more about this tonight because I have

so this one picture of how things went

baby and it’s probably not accurate but

you started doing these like these

mailing products where you are sending a

series of things I didn’t even realize

that was a thing until I saw you getting

into it now I sort of read a little bit

about it and found out that several

other companies yeah they’re doing this

yeah you know where you sign up I guess

it’s kind of a subscription or

leadership and then you get monthly or

every couple weeks boxes then it’s kind

of a I maybe talk about that because

that’s a fascinating aspect of this like

yeah it’s kind of fun

I mean escape rooms it’s sort of like an

escape from the grind to you – yeah

right where you have this mystery yeah I


Herman Orleans and I loved it so much

fun yeah and it was all about like

creating the puzzles and putting them on

old hotel stationery right you know and

I love that like yeah like authenticity

yeah you have a good eye for that yeah

and you can I mean usually I think

what’s what I was thinking about this

actually originally recently the thing

you know it’s probably true of

production design and miniatures is I

think the real talent is like you know

when you’re making a miniature version

of a you know historic like in our

abandoned built or whatever I mean it’s

almost like you’re distilling down to

the essence like what are the parts of

that that make it what it is like the

way the light falls just away the grime

has distributed throughout the

caricature of a person you’re sort of

enhancing maybe just don’t knows and

they’re cheering a few things yeah

let’s say it’s that I’m you can

instantly recognize yes exactly and

you’re like you’re trying to figure out

what those are because there is a

language right of that and I think you

know when you see it and it’s successful

and then I think you know when you see

and you’re like something was kind of

off and I and I really love to play this

game or and I’m trying to think of an

example of like what I do it with but

like looking at really anything like a

marketing yeah you know if it’s an

advertisement or if it’s what you know

just working wasn’t yeah and looking at

anything like okay what is oh yeah that

we see CDI in a movie and it’s like the

lights not hitting things clear right

yeah yeah and you it’s funny because I

couldn’t necessarily replicate it right

you know but you know just know it’s on

your eye

just like that’s not real right I like

that challenge of like you know figuring

out what like kind of trying to boil

down what is that what are those

elements right and like what when you

hold an old letter in your hand or an

old boom page like what is it that like

whatever its character what’s experience

yeah like how the texture may be or the

way the color so I think that’s really

fun yes so the my my most successful I

would say my most popular and honestly

the one I’m most excited about was the

haunted doll house movies so that is my

series of five packages okay and you

each week it’s it takes place over like

a month or two or you can buy it all at

once right on one package um but how it

works is that you receive these these

packages and they’re like chapters in

the story okay you open it and inside

there are you know old letters old diary

pages you know like historic documents

old newspapers but then they’re also the

pieces of this dollhouse that you’re

assembling and it’s a miniature crime

scene so all these miniatures

murder mystery combined with building a

doll yeah exactly and you’re

reconstructing and it took place in the

dollhouse were created by this inmate at

New Orleans it’s got a whole back story

– yes a whole back story they come from

the New Orleans it like insane asylum

they’re gonna criticize this inmate who

is put in there for it was a really

violent murder and she’s telling her

story through the miniatures and you’re

to piece it together and figure out like

what’s what so I’ve gotten great

feedback on like amazing like one of the

Testaments to its success is that I look

at where my traffic is coming from but

it’s like almost all word-of-mouth

referrals I’ve done Facebook advertising

I do weekly newsletters you know I do a

lot of Instagram posts and Facebook I’m

active on all social media right

platforms with the exception of Twitter

I’m not really good yeah I like the

visual and I just don’t just haven’t

really advertise there all of those

different things but the biggest like

when I’m asking people how did you find


most more often than not it’s from word

of mouth very simple yes that’s a great

compliment I feel like not you’re not

gonna recommend something that you don’t

think is worth the value of the product

one thing moving for it I would love to

learn how to better harness is the power

of that referral right you know like how

do you it maybe in some observer there’s

a talk about it or I haven’t cracked

that egg yet yeah that’s something to

think about

yeah there’s lots of good ways to get

people to look for definitely and that’s

that’s such a cool product

to be involved with I’m sure it’s really

fun not to you where do you start with

like a obviously you you know you’re

gonna make a doll house let’s say cuz

this is kind of what you do anyways but

then do you come up with the story

yourself do you research I love to read

and I’m gonna teak story right and I

find so much inspiration in those places

my house is filled with weird antique

yeah so all that stuff really speaks me

and I think one thing that’s really

interesting with history is how like

you’re never gonna know the full story

like they’re always gonna be holes you

know you’re never gonna know like a good

mood yes yeah right like it’s like you

could just keep researching you and it

just leads to more rabbit hole right

like it’s it’s so maddening

yeah you know and so with the Haunted

doll house part of what was fun about

exploring that was you know creating

that from the other end like you know

the allusions to maybe stories that

played out in a different write series

of mysterious Melrose which was kind of

fun and weaving and I have these

documents on my computer that are just

like timelines you know like I can’t get

that I can’t get the dates because I

have people

scouring them and I’ve got a couple of

funny stories about that but like people

will tell me when they play this game

that they will have notebooks fill the

hub you know pages for each character oh

wow so they can tell you when they were

born a bola and I’m like okay cuz I have

so one a funny example the very first

mailing of the Haunted doll house I

guess you could call my beta testing but

it wasn’t really um I don’t know this

yeah so each character has it has their

own handwriting got a very distinct

handwriting and there were two dots so

they’re in boos okay so before you

continue into the so yeah you hadn’t

writing all this stuff oh well I mean

the characteristic you know free website

right and and you can find their

websites that are like specifically you

know you can use them for commercial

some some are really expensive to do

this but you can find like free you

don’t use require so much okay yeah and

that’s really helpful but I one of the

documents I mixed up one of the

characters hands right hand dry day okay

and so I had all these people there’s

this gaming forum that was falling and

it like threw everybody fairly it was

like this is something else right this

is a forgery they were like oh but it is

it could it be visit this purpose

because you don’t wanna and your dislike

I knew no but you never say you never to

reveal no no you know and so you just

say like well that’s a really mysterious

I’m not really sure yeah what you know

I’m not really sure how that’s really

you know there might be saboteurs that

weren’t right it could be a mix-up in

the archives it could be some strange

forgery this is a very interesting

aspect of what you do because not only I

think you know obviously as you’re

talking are just very rich environments

that you build and you’ve scale out and

and get the backstory to and always

character but you yourself are a

character you know drawing this along

you know you’re like character you know

your own personality on steroids yeah

and so which again you’re playing a role

at the facilitate all these different


yeah it’s really fun and it’s like my

life does mirror I mean in some ways it

is really true do i life in other ways

though you know i’m i don’t know it’s

not right so it’s kind of funny even

myself kind of puzzling over yeah but i

don’t know it is a certain way like you

talk and certainly know yeah and you

want it to be true yeah because it is an

art as much yeah performance right it’s

a character would you say it that way

it’s a this right exactly like you have

very strong ideas about how these people

should speak or and sometimes I keep

hearing I went to see George Saunders

speak mmm is author oh my gosh

couple weeks ago alive did you see it I

was there in the body yeah yeah yeah I

didn’t I couldn’t find you I didn’t see

okay cuz I yeah that’s what I’m talking

about I walk about in a few days yeah

I mean I just in context for Lincoln at

the Bardo yeah oh my gosh that book yeah

it just was so good yeah he’s beautiful

and but he I think he was talking about

how God should not have completely lost

my train of thought something about

writing oh I know what it is okay so

I’ve heard this from George Saunders and

I’ve heard it from someone else then

when young writers are starting out

they’re like imitating the people that

they really like right maybe not even

consciously but maybe you’d be really

like em anyway so they feel like they

have to write they’re like trying to

emulate that style of writing yeah

there’s some very famous stories of

Hunter s Thompson copying out Hanway

books work for work interesting you get

that and copy writing actually what they

tell you to do is there’s some popular

advice that you hand copy out sales

letters and stuff I believe to get that

rhythm that’s a turbine Jesse yeah that

person’s thinking organized

it’s like sketching an object you’re up

stand it better cuz you might know like

you know what a tree looks like yeah but

it forces you to observe and notice like

you’re saying about the design aspect of

like what makes this thing represents

this to us where we know it’s that

because of these certain factors right

right that’s the same the same thing

applies across the board but yet

continues yeah like how much could you

strip away or and it’s still the same

you know like paragraphs like on

Facebook you’ll see us often the publish

whole paragraphs where there’s a bunch

of typos or the words around we just man

yet your brain can compute that yeah you

know and you can read it and so there’s

like something in there about what your

brain is doing and what your brain

assumes is there yeah like there’s a you

know there’s a very famous sort of I

don’t know scan I guess it is a scam but

it you know there’s a book you can make

a bike it’s a bicycle so that you have

to ride it in the opposite way that you

normally write it like so when you turn

left it goes right and stuff

that’s right these are famous like

carnival carnival games that people will

play it’ll say you know I bet you can’t

ride this bike down around this pile on

and you have to put 20 bucks up to win a

hundred or something

and then nobody can do it right unless

you’ve actually practiced it religiously

for many many weeks you can’t actually

ride a bike do that because it’s it your

brain just won’t function and it’s hard

to try people to watch people try yeah

but what’s interesting though is I think

there was a TED talk or something maybe

a TEDx event where some guy had done

this and then when he went back to rider

he learned how to ride know the weird

bike when he went back to write a

regular bike he couldn’t anymore

interesting this is brain and like shift

it was very hard he couldn’t come a

little while from to get back to you

yeah your brain just changed in the West

you know but yeah it’s the same thing I

think with people writing and stuff is

like yeah you’re imitating before you

find your own yeah right and I think

it’s really useful and a magic that’s

that’s the same way – people often take

the routine straight out of the media

that they learned it in and they do than

that person’s style and with the advent

of video and you can see it a lot more

because you can say oh I know exactly

what video that person was watching yeah

yeah that’s interesting so going forward

you got it you’ve got this subscription

things now that was just the haunted

doll house the Haunted doll house is the

one that is both artifact and document

made so it’s more expensive than my

monthly subscription but you get a lot

more you know at the end you have this

little doll house and with their

furniture and there’s furniture and

artifacts inside of it and then the

other monthly subscription that I do

along those same lines is called letters

from dead people where the first year

has been exploring it’s basically you’re

getting documents from this case file

okay on this woman who moves who appears

in New Orleans in the 1920s claiming to

be a spirit writer a spiritualist

um claims to communicate with the dead

and so so you’re sorting through all

these documents surrounding her

appearance and then her subsequent

disappearance and she’s challenged by

Houdini oh it’s big so uh he was a

famous debunker yes and I love that

story about Houdini how he and Houdini

like fervently wanted to believe there

is truth to those that friend here did

stuff anything like oil and somehow

interests the fairies and whatnot yeah

yeah and there’s a famous story about

she was I think she was like the blonde

which of Lime Street or something good

something Crandon anyway this kind of

it’s like famous hit antagonism between

Houdini and this spiritualist and she

had pulled the wool over like members of

the Scientific American panel of

scientists who had been sent to debunk

her yeah it was because purportedly she

would often perform in the nude like she

was this you know a mystery woman and

yeah the Scientific American magazine

and I think this still stands to this

day offers a reward a cash reward for

anyone who can prove under you know

scientific scrutiny beyond reasonable

devs yeah it you know the James Randi

prize the reference yeah right um

and nobody has claimed it there are a

number of prizes like that it’s like if

you get on Wikipedia list of prizes

you’re offered to people your purse

suppose it’s like in millions

unclaimed you’re all unclaimed yeah and

I think Houdini was really disgusted by

the exploited exploitative nature taking

advantage of people their weakest money

yeah ulnar above human moment you know

right maybe you’ve lost you’ve lost a

family member and you are looking for

some hope and so I know that Houdini

felt really passionate about this and

was so infuriated and he rated with his

you know colleagues on a scientific but

it’s this great story yes definitely

worth looking up and that was a big

inspiration for you know my own story

set in New Orleans yeah so that so the

first year is actually about to drop to

a close the entire case file will be

available on my website and on so you

can you know get all 12 guns and then

after that it’s gonna shift into a

slightly different format where I’m

going to be more featuring like actual

letters from dead famous Ebola okay

every month you’re gonna get a one-month

you’ll get a letter from me Abraham

Lincoln okay a real true variable

primary school days you know pretty fun

yeah you know some cool parchment paper

or whatever but it’s gonna shift to a

more historical less story right telling

more I need a different kind of story

yeah you know because that is still a

really can be a beautiful window into a

different time so that’s so that’s

that’s the other you know

the other subscription that I work on

and uh when I started that that was yeah

that was last year it would have been in

June and so now yeah we’re coming up on

a year and I I do that through great joy

I did have like the PayPal reoccurring

payment setup but it was a hot mess

today okay it was not useful I mean I

think for some things it would be but

not her physical fulfillment yeah it was

no and so I’m like I’m and now that it’s

gotten bigger and I have all these

subscribers I just need to streamline it

and create joy until I can get my own

website it’s really it’s yeah it’s been

useful and they’re all great at

responding and great joy has yeah

they’ve got good customer service and

it’s nice because it shows me exactly

what I need ship it it’s that’s good for

like a small mid-level subscription or

small subscription but it’s good it’s a

useful tool yeah and you have to pay you

know they obviously they got a good but

looks cool to get your toe in the game

it’s so what’s a typical day for your

life like when you got these things

rollin like a oh that’s a really good

question I would say there’s not really

a typical day oh yeah in my life is

influx kind of right now because I just

moved my studio I’m sitting in my home

and then out of the back of this

beautiful magical vintage clothing store

called century girl on Magazine Street

in New Orleans love it and love it it’s

a great place I just needed a little

more room and so I moved all of my

materials my making materials my

shipping materials everything is now in

this one room and I’m gonna give I’m

gonna give a try like it having a more

of a normal schedule a quote-unquote

normal like showing up having hours yeah

you know from Dada I’m gonna have a

retail store yeah I’m gonna have a

little retail section where people can

come and visit me and also I’ll do on my

online fulfillment here and then have

like you know a small little showroom

space but I’m kidding you see I’m gonna

be a fun experiment and it honestly it

just kind of I put out to the universe

that I was looking for a place like this

right and eventually the universe came

through as it does and it’s perfect it’s

within walking distance of my house

it’s like the lighting is really I mean

it’s really I’m really excited to be

here I mean I should say I’m in the back

of this candy shop matter of the air

candy shop all French candy amazing yeah

and they’re gonna be changing their name

to I think the petit Parisian market so

if you look a lot of year depending on

when you come to Nora it might might be

changed so you know in that case look

for lip petite Parisian market it’s a

beautiful space though I’m excited to be

here now people want to go learn more

about you and go to your social media

and stuff of course will include the

links but what are some of the websites

they should be checking out if they’re

interested in here this loads um my

website which sort of forms the umbrella

for everything like it’s the launch pad

you can go and find my Etsy and you can

find the subscription links and you know

the press whatever if you know whatever

you are interested in all right you can

give me your email address WWL ad

Delaney calm so that’s kind of the

umbrella just hugged silence – yeah yeah

that’s great well it’s been great

talking it’s so excited good to see you

again for such a couple years and I’ve

got an amazing place here if you people

listen to this eventually though they’ll

come back here know how’s your store

come visit me know get some good stuff

that’s awesome okay there’s no it’s


Leave a Comment