Laura Beck is an activist and the founder of LottoLove, the first ever scratch off card with a social mission. LottoLove brings charitable giving to everyday gifting. It's been featured on The Today Show and Ellen DeGeneres and included in national publications, such as Women's Day, Real Simple and Redbook. Through her work with LottoLove, Laura is making a positive impact on people's lives by providing a better way to gift that empowers people in need and inspires communities to do good in a fun and exciting way.

Learn more about LottoLove.

Learn more about The Passionistas Project.

Full Transcript:

Passionistas: Hi, and welcome to The Passionistas Project Podcast, where we tell the stories of empowered women who are following their passions to inspire you to do the same. We're Amy and Nancy Harrington and today we're talking with Laura Beck and activists and the founder of LottoLove, the first ever scratch off card with a social mission. LottoLove brings charitable giving to everyday gifting. It's been featured on The Today Show and Ellen DeGeneres and included in national publications, such as Women's Day, Real Simple and Redbook. Through her work with LottoLove, Laura is making a positive impact on people's lives by providing a better way to gift that empowers people in need and inspires communities to do good in a fun and exciting way. 

So please welcome to the show, Laura Beck.

Laura Beck: Hello, thank you for having me on here.

Passionistas: Thanks for joining us today. So what's the one thing you're most passionate about.

Laura Beck: I always get a little hung up on like picking the one thing, but I really, I mean, I'm passionate about the environment and cooking, but I think the most, the thing I'm most passionate about would be relationships and connecting with people. My dad always said something along the lines of, if you have relationships, you'll be rich in life. And that's something that really stuck with me. And so I've really spent a lot of time investing in friendships, which have had a lot of them for over 20 years, you know, with family, coworkers, mentors. And I think, you know, really having a variety of all these different relationships in your life allows you to connect with people on a lot of different levels, which I think is important. And with a lot of love, you know, I don't get to meet everyone that we're helping, but I do feel a connection to them with what I'm doing. And I value that relationship too, even though it's, you know, more distant,

Passionistas: You mentioned your father and your parents really showed you firsthand about giving back when you were a kid. So can you talk about that experience and how it's informed your life?

Laura: So my dad for, I want to say, like, I don't know, for 14 years he was going to Guatemala on mission trips. And then when I was in high school, he wanted to bring the whole family. And I think at that point it was like, my little brother's older, not old enough, I'm one of four. So we all went as a family to small town in Guatemala and he had been working on building an orphanage or every year that he would go to that orphanage was built. And there were like three families in there that had, you know, maybe five kids each. And we went down probably for like 10 days and did a lot of like mission work within the orphanage. But then we would venture out and go up into the, like the most remote villages in the mountains where we were giving, you know, some medical relief.

There was a CR you know, a little religious component to it and just Christianity, which, you know, is the main religion of Guatemala. And so there were, you know, a lot of different ways of helping and connecting with these people that, you know, most of the time never come down from their villages. They never get to see a doctor, you know, they're suffering from arthritis and to fakes and, you know, a lot of different ailments. So they were very grateful when we would come up there and help with, you know, help them just ease pain and play with the kids and, you know, just interact and kind of give them this, give them some hope. And so I did that trip a couple times. And then at right after I graduated from college, I raised money to go to Honduras with my sister and we did something similar there.

So those were, you know, were big experiences. And then just like on a daily basis, my dad had been on the board of directors at the homeless shelter in the home, in the town where I grew up. So, you know, I just grew up with him, always giving his time and not, you know, not just time and money and resources, but so that was always kind of ingrained in our upbringing was, you know, helping those less fortunate and really just taking the emphasis out of material things and putting it more on, you know, these relationships and connections with people. 

Passionistas: So you mentioned college, where did you go to college and what did you study? 

Laura: I went to University of Michigan. I'm originally from a small town in Northern Michigan, like four hours North of Detroit. And then I studied art history with a minor in Spanish. So I was using a lot of, well. I mean, when I went in high school, I took Spanish as well. So I was able to speak Spanish and these in Guatemala and Honduras when we were there. But then after I graduated, I moved to Chicago and I went back to school for art direction and design. And there's this type of, I guess, school, which is called a portfolio school. And that is where you go specifically to get a job in an advertising agency afterwards. So you can study copywriting design or art direction. And the whole it's a really intensive program. And some of them are two years, but the one I took was just one year. So it was pretty much for an entire year, no breaks taking the courses. So that's where I got my art direction background.

Passionistas: What were some of your early jobs after you got that degree?
Laura: I had set my sights on New York. I always wanted, when I was younger, I wanted to go to a big city. I think it was partially of like, I want to rebel against the small town and, you know, live somewhere where the closest mall is not an hour and a half away. So I always wanted to go to a big city and I liked Chicago, but I felt like I wanted something more. So I started applying to some jobs in New York and I got an internship at a small midsize agency. And so I moved to New York for that job. After the internship, I worked there as an art director, and then I started working for this woman who is a lifestyle brand and I was hired to basically kind of just overhaul her branding and, um, design and, you know, head there, like the lead of her website development. So I did that. And then at that point I was like, I think I want to do something on my own work for myself. And then that's when I started my own design shop on my own.

Passionistas: Tell us about that. That's Tiny Rebels. Right? Tell us about that. And some of the socially good companies you work for there.

Laura: I really enjoy working with brands that needed that I really liked working with them from the ground up, you know, being part of their initial, I guess, the initial phase. And so one of the companies I worked for was called OneGridCandle, and their mission was, you know, to help provide clean energy to people in Africa and sell their candles. And so that one was a company that I was able to, I got in touch with right away, you know, from helped them from logo design, to packaging design, to their website and know pretty much all marketing touch points as well. And that was like, okay, I see them able to, um, giving back in a way, you know, by helping this company get off the ground, I really enjoy doing this and that at that point I was like, I think I want to, you know, try doing this a little more direct and be the one that's, you know, has the company that's giving back. So I kind of, I slowly just start kind of as like not accepting new clients and was just letting the phase, not the phase out naturally happen. And then that's when I took a leap with LottoLove.

Passionistas: So what inspired you to create lot of love cards?

Laura: I wanted a career change and I had a desire to do something that did more good in the world. And I, you know, I felt I could do that, you know, helping client or, you know, the companies I was working with, get off the ground and do that. But I wanted to do that in a little more direct way. And, you know, if you ask yourself the question, why do I do what I do? It really forces you to reflect on what gets you out of bed in the morning? And I knew I had, you know, interesting background and experiences and, you know, different talents that I had, um, honed in on with my past jobs. And I wanted to figure out how I could put all that together and figure out a way to positively impact other people's lives. And if I thought back to a time where I felt like empowered, it was when I went on those mission trips with my family.
 
And then with my sister that I mentioned earlier, at that point, I saw extreme poverty and seeing it firsthand is very different than, you know, seeing it on the news or reading about it. So I knew that there was a lot of people out there that needed help, but if I can't be there physically, you know, helping them, what can I do based on everything I know, and I've done to create something. And so I, I was ready to make that career change. And I think having my branding company gave me the confidence to do that because could brand LottoLove all on my own, you know, I didn't need to outsource that. So I was able to really kind of take everything in my own hands. And I enjoyed the client aspect of, you know, or the service aspect of Tiny Rebels, but I wanted to try out something a little different by creating a product.
 
And so my inspiration for LottoLove actually was my grandma because she loved scratch off cards. And that was something that we would always gift her for holidays, you know, especially, you know, what do you give an 80 year old grandma, you know, and they love the scratchers, but that whole idea is about winning for yourself and, you know, winning money. And, you know, I think I saw a way to flip that concept on its head a little bit and add a twist to it. So instead of winning for yourself, you're able to win for other people. And it was actually during a road trip with my now husband, he would love to scratch off tickets too. So he would, every time we'd stop and get gas, he would, you know, buy a couple and he bought two, which actually happened to be winners. They were both like $5 winners, but that's kind of where the whole idea started coming about was on that road trip. So
 
Passionistas: Explain what the LottoLove card is, how it works and what happens when
 
Laura: Get one, like you mentioned, we're a social good scratch off cards. So instead of winning money, you want a charitable prize. That's donated to someone in need and we have four charitable partners and each one's tied to what I call the charitable prizes. So you can either win clean water, solar energy, literacy tools, or meals. And it will always be one of those four. And I like to say that we're the only lottery where everyone wins, because we really are. When people ask me that question a lot. So I like to say it right off the bat, every card is a winner. It's one of the four charitable prizes. So, you know, we sell most of on our website and the buyer would then buy a LottoLove card. They could mail it directly to the recipient and then the recipient would get to play the game, scratch off all the circles to figure out basically what was donated in their honor. So it's a gifting item and they come with a greeting card. So it can just be an easy, all-in-one like gifting experience and it's a matching game. So are you familiar with scratch off cards or have you done a lot in your days? 

Passionistas: It's been awhile, but yeah, we've definitely done them… for sure.

Laura: Yeah, so it's like a matching game. So we've designed icons that represent each charitable prize and then you have to match one of those icons. And then that tells you flip it over and explains a little bit more about the causes that we're supporting. And then we direct everyone to our website where they can learn more about our charities and the efforts that we're supporting.

Passionistas: So tell us about those charities who are they and why did you choose them?

Laura: We have four Austin charities. Solar aid is our solar non-profit and their mission is to eradicate the use of kerosene, which is harmful to health and to the environment. And why really like about their mission is they're working to employ people to sell the lights, which creates jobs and a sustainable markets. So, you know, they're creating sustainability in a lot of different ways, as opposed to just providing a clean energy source. And so they're able to combat poverty and climate change. And they work specifically within Africa, lit world is our literacy partner, lit worlds based in New York. And they work within the U S and also globally. They're putting emphasis on not just learning how to read and write, but to learn how to teach kids, how to tell their story and how to communicate, which helps them build a sustainable life because, you know, communications foundation of a lot of things.
 
So they put a lot of emphasis on, you know, talking about feelings and being able to communicate water is life is our word, water, charity. And they, we specifically are supporting their water filtration efforts. They've created this straw that kids can wear around their neck, and they can basically go to any water source and purify the water from that straw, which is pretty awesome. And it can filter two to three liters a day. I think it's really impressive. I mean, when you look at it, you're like, you know, you're like, how can this actually do what it does, but the insides of it, it's, it's an amazing invention. So yeah, that's really cool. And then our hunger non-profit is rise against hunger and they are working to end hunger by 2030. And they do a lot of natural, like natural disaster relief as well. But they've created the most nutritious packaged meals all in like one where it's basically like add water and you get all these vitamins and nutrients that you need in a day.
 
Passionistas: Tell us specifically what each card gives to these charities

Laura Are a limited amount of like gifting options, but you can either give one week of clean water or four weeks of clean water. So when you go onto our website, you're not going to be able to, as of right now, but we might change this. You can't choose. If you are getting a water winning card or a meal, it's a surprise, but you can either win one meal or three meals, one month of solar light, or four months of solar light, and then one set of literacy tools or three sets of literacy tools.

Passionistas: We're Amy and Nancy Harrington. And you're listening to The Passionistas Project Podcast and our interview with Laura Beck. To learn more about her scratch cards with a social mission visit, GiveLottoLove.com. 

Now here's more of our interview with Laura. 

Have you personally had any interactions with people that have benefited from the work you're doing and are there any that stand out?

Laura: Yes, actually I think it was two years ago now I was able to go to Kenya and I met with one of the partners of our literacy charity. They work in Kibera, which is like one of the chorus slums in the world. So we spend a day with the Red Rose School and it was all girls and, you know, got to see everything firsthand. They call them lit clubs. So how they run their lit club. So it started with a story and then that story had an underlying message about feelings and like bravery. And so then, you know, we all sat in a circle when it was great, because I got to like sit in a circle with them and I was participating, you know, just like a student with them. And everyone went around the room, talking about the story, you know, talking about moments in their life, where they had to be brave and courageous.
 
And then there was activity, which they call a heart map and it's basically drawing a heart on a piece of paper and then filling that heart with everything that represents you or that you love in your life. And then we all went around the room and explained our heart maps to everyone. And I was just, you know, I was really blown away by them and their ability to, you know, talk about their lives. And, you know, their upbringing was a lot more difficult than mine. And they were just, you know, full of life and love and, you know, just proud to be a sister and a daughter and a friend. And it was really amazing to actually see how our who we're supporting and the benefits of it. 

Passionistas: We were reading about that story. And one of the things that struck us was you told, said you played a game with them and did an exercise with them called a rose, a bud or a thorn, which we loved the concept of that. Tell us about that.

Laura: That it wasn't the first time I heard it when I went to Kibera. That was something that actually my parents did with us growing up too. Like, especially around like Thanksgiving, it was like, you know, we'd all be home from college or something and they'd be like, tell us, you know, something good that happened. And you know, and so the rows, the button, the thorn really kind of puts a metaphor to that. I think, you know, arose is something that you're really happy and excited about. The bud is something, you know, you're anticipating, you know, that's going to happen and you're excited. And then a thorn is, you know, something was difficult. Something was a little prickly, a challenge that you faced. And yeah, we went all went around the room and did the Rose about a thorn. It's actually something really fun to do with, you know, friends and family too. And it's just another way to connect with people. And if, you know, for lack of a better word forces, but allows people to open up, you know, cause everyone's doing it. You know, we all have hardships, but you know, we all have something that we can find that we're excited for or something good that happened in our lives. 

Passionistas: You've also added wedding favors to your store. So talk about those.

Laura: I would say it's a little bit of a work in progress, but something that excites me about a lot, all of is all the different ways that you can gift it. You know, we really want people to rethink what they gift and how they, and there's so many occasions why when we need to buy people, things. And so weddings, and I think it kinda came about like when I was planning mine, now people buy wedding favors and they're cute and they're fun. And I it's a fun thing to do, but I really had a hard time wrapping my head around that because one, it feels a little wasteful to me and it's just not where I really wanted to spend the money. And I, you know, I felt like I could gift something to someone outside of a trinket, you know, the header initials on it or something or something that might get thrown away.
 
So I use my wedding as like a test case for that. And, you know, it's a slightly different design. Our typical cards are like really bright and punchy, but our wedding line called Lucky in Love. It's, you know, we're stripping it of all the color and, you know, keeping it white and clean, you know, everyone has different themes for their wedding. And white just felt like it would fit. Um, a lot of people's decor. So the game is the same, but we allow this like top portion to be customized. So if people have, you know, like a logo they created for their wedding or a monogram, or they want to have write a little message to all their guests, they can do that. And the way we kind of tell people to gift it is to put it at their placement settings at dinner, but it's also good dependent, like gift bags.
 
If you're doing that, or people can grab them as they're leaving the wedding, but really easy way. It's just, everyone's sitting down. It's a great way to like get people, talking, bring awareness to the causes. And we included a little penny on each place setting. Um, so people can scratch off and play and you know, their response from people that have included it as part of their wedding has been great. And I love seeing all the photos and, you know, even seen like the little, the little kids participating and playing the game. So it's another way to spread love and your wedding day,

Passionistas: What would you like to see as the future for a LottoLove?

Laura: Sometimes I feel like it changes a little bit, but you know, near term, I want to expand our product line, you know, which means adding new charities and increasing the causes that we can support. You know, right now we have four and it's what we call our basic needs line. And I'm really happy with the four that we chose, but I know there are so many more causes out there that mean a lot to people. You know, I want to expand and do like a health card, you know, support breast cancer and Alzheimer's, and I mean, there's so many, you know, maybe an animal card. I know a lot of, you know, people want to support animals and help them. So expanding our product line is something I want to do near term. I want to get into more into corporate gifting because I think that is a way to really reach a lot of people and obviously increase our impact.
 
Like I mentioned before, a lot of creative ways to gift a LottoLove. And I think, you know, just what we have now is kind of the tip. And I think we can really expand a little bit and, you know, bigger picture. I want to continue to figure out how I can help people to rethink about traditional gifting. And I think LottoLove does that for a lot of people, but I think we can do that a little bit more because we are solving a few problems. You know, simply gifting is stressful. A lot of people get stressed out around the holidays because it's expensive and they don't know what to get people in. There's so many people that don't need anything and people that are hard to buy for. So LottoLove solves that problem. Obviously our social mission, you know, we're helping people just live and also thrive, but I think there's more than we can do and want to tap into, you know, traditional gifting and how we can uproot that a little bit.

Passionistas: So where can people go to get the cards and find out more about what you do

Laura: Our website, which is GiveLottoLove.com. So G I V E L O T T O L O V E dot com. That's where we do pretty much all of our sales through our website and we ship all over. I pretty much ship across the world. We just sent an order out today to Australia. So wherever you are listening, you're not too far. 

Passionistas: You do corporate gifts as well. Talk about that.

Laura: It's been a really fun aspect of the business, which it wasn't something I was thinking about when I first started, but usually mostly around the holidays. That's when everyone's, you know, figuring out how they can gift people, something, but we did something for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They had a yearly summit and they wanted to include LottoLove at this meeting. So anything from meetings like that to including them and gift baskets that get sent to clients or customers, we can do a lot of the fulfillment ourselves. So if you know, we're mailing these out to 500 people, we've done it. And, you know, we try to be as flexible as possible because everyone's gifting needs are different and unique. And you know, some people want a greeting card and some people just want the scratch off. And we create these little custom informational cards, which are a great, like co-branding option where we can put their logo on it and custom messaging. Or if these corporate companies are ordering a lot more, you know, we have like a 500 unit minimum order quantity, but we can customize the scratch off cards, which is a fun way to, to do a little like co-branding where we can add a logo and some messaging. There's not as much flexibility with that, but we try our best.

Passionistas: Is there a lesson that you've learned during your journey that sticks with you?

Laura: I would say one of the biggest lessons is to not give up because they're just in startup life. There are so many roadblocks and times where you feel like, okay, this is too hard. I can't do this, but to just not, not give up and to put yourself in uncomfortable situations, because I think those uncomfortable situations is where you really see growth and to not shy away from those because you're afraid. So, you know, there are a lot of twists and turns and disappointment comes with that. But the one thing we can control is to just keep going, regardless of people's response or lack of response and validation, and then saying yes, because I think fear can creep in and we can shy away from doing things, but I've gotten in this habit of just agreeing to things, knowing even if sometimes my guts like, Oh, I can't do this. I'm not good enough for this or something, but, you know, say yes and I'll figure it out and I'll figure out how to do it. But I think that's where I've seen a lot of like my personal and career growth by putting myself in these situations and just not giving up.

Passionistas: So as the mother of the new baby girl, what's your dream for women?

Laura: My dream is well for my daughter. I want to instill like instill in her the belief that she can do anything and that we're stronger than we know, especially, you know, just giving birth as a woman and being able to give birth, I think is a beautiful and wonderful thing, but it was also one of the scariest things that I've ever done. But after that, I was like, you know what? We can do anything. Like we're so much stronger than we know. And I want women to feel empowered in all aspects of their life because they should, because we're strong and you know, we need to, you know, rise above the fear or whatever's like keeping us down. What's your definition of success? You know, since I had violet, I think that changed a little bit, but you know, I think it's really enjoying what you do and, you know, success, I think looks different. Day-to-day especially now, you know, I think success is okay, my daughter's happy and she's alive. And that is success. Like every day right now is successful for me. If I do that. And if I get a little bit of work done, it's a bonus. But I think success is feeling nourished at the end of the day. You know, whether that's working, whether that's not working, but as you know, feeling that fulfillment and nourishment at the end of the day, I think is success.

Passionistas: What's your secret to a rewarding life?

Laura: Well, can I still be figuring it out a little bit, but I think one now being a new mom is having really good time management. I have learned I work better under pressure, but I don't have that luxury. Like if I get a minute, I need to use that minute wisely. But, and I think having good time management, it can really either make you feel fulfilled or it can deplete you if you're not doing it in the right way and being an entrepreneur, you know, weekends and weekdays blend together. And they can all the days all feel the same sometimes, but you have to really allow yourself to have the fun, the self-care and do the work. And I think that's keeps your mind and body in check. But then at the end of the day, I think it's, you know, doing something that one thing that brings you joy every day, if you can fit in one thing, you know, whether it's a workout or reading a book or meditating, you know, really, I think gives you that energizes you to keep going. Because there, I mean, a lot of things that we have to get done just to live and to not, you know, to pay our bills and do things, but finding ways to sneak enjoy is really important.
 
Passionistas: Thanks for listening to The Passionistas Project Podcast and our interview with Lara Beck. To learn more about her scratch cards with a social mission visit, GiveLottoLove.com. 

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