We had the good fortune of connecting with Theresa Exum-Lucas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Theresa, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
I define success in terms of stability, comfort, joy, and protection. I am successful when I and my family have a stable, comfortable life that brings us joy and offers protection from the “bad days.” I don’t think success is one thing, or one achievement, and I don’t think you can put a number on it. I’m not successful because I have a Master’s degree, I’m not successful because I’m married, I’m not successful because I’m a parent, I’m not successful because I have my own business. I’m successful because my family and I have each other, because my Husband and I bring in enough money to buy ourselves and our kids the things we need and the things we want, because we’ve been diligent and patient to have an emergency fund for financial protection, because my family and I laugh with each other every day. I felt just as successful when my Husband and I, our 2 daughters, and our 2 pups lived in a 1-bedroom apartment as I did when we lived in a 2700 sqft house. I felt just as successful on unemployment as I did when I was bringing in 6-figures annually. I felt just as successful trading in our new SUV for a 13-year-old minivan as I did buying the new SUV. I think it’s important that we all learn to measure success by what is important to us, and to tune out what others may expect. It’s okay if you’re 35 and not married, or 40 with no kids. It’s okay if you never went to college. It’s okay if you had a baby at 16. It’s okay if you don’t own any property. To me, success is a feeling and my success is a blessing.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Happy Go Lucas is still a new company – we just celebrated one-year in business this past January – so I am still learning the ins and outs of being a business owner. I am so proud of myself for being able to run the business, and still be active in the other important areas of my life. It’s been really exciting getting it off the ground and connecting with new clients. I am super excited to continue working on my tangible items, like a planner and some sticker sets that I love, and to have released a couple of free resources in early 2021. I am looking forward to continuing to expand my client network in 2021 and speaking with more college students about my book, With These Words. Getting to the point where Happy Go Lucas was making a profit was extremely difficult. It took a lot of tweaking of methods and asking for help. In the beginning, I did most of my marketing through Instagram. It was costly in time and in money, and I learned the majority of my clients don’t come from that platform. When I dug more into the research and learned where my clients were coming from, it was easy for me to focus my attention elsewhere. It was important to learn that what works for one business won’t work for everyone, and sometimes being an influencer doesn’t equate to having a separate, profitable business. Whether people know Happy Go Lucas or just Theresa Exum-Lucas, I want my brand to bring people joy and make people feel safe, loved, and welcomed. I hope that as people learn my story and read my book, they are excited to work with me and begin learning how to tell their own story, even if it’s only to tell it to themselves.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The first place I’d take my BFF to in Long Beach is the beach, of course. Long Beach has one of the best activity beaches, in my mind. We would go for a walk or bike ride on the beach path and take the pups to Rosie’s Dog Beach for some fun in the sand. I’d have to take her to Long Beach Creamery for the best vegan ice cream in town, to Movita’s on Broadway for a good smoothie, to the Potholder Cafe Downtown for the best pup-friendly breakfast, Manaow Thai for some yummy Thai food, and to El Sauz for Taco Tuesday (or any day, really…). I’d take her to Belmont Shore so we could walk to all the shops and enjoy the people watching, and probably stop by Saint & Second for a bite to eat. After all that eating, we would need to go for a good walk! Cal State Long Beach’s campus is gorgeous and perfect for a quiet walk, or we could head to El Dorado Park or the Marine Reserve. At some point throughout the week, we’d leave Long Beach to make sure we hit the Santa Monica Pier for some walking and people watching, C & O Trattoria in Marina Del Ray, look at art in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, catch a game at the Staples Center, and definitely Pacific Waters Spa in Huntington Beach so we could truly relax.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the touch of tens of thousands of people on my life over the past nearly 30 years. Every place I’ve gone, I’ve been blessed to find people who lifted me up, encouraged me to tell my story, and reminded me of what’s important in life. My former students, especially Ja’Maun, DD, CamCam, Cai, Dior, Borislava, Ki, Atina, Krys, Tierney, Kris, and Jovana. . . My colleagues and mentors, especially Glennda Bivens, Mary Jo Gonzales, Thad Hathaway, Chioma Heim, Aja Holmes, and Kate Werner. . . My CSULB, WSU, Iowa State, and USC crews, especially HB, Bing-o, Kourt, Carole, Chanale, Mina, BriBri, Lena, and Jerhime. . . My sister-friends, Tracy and Jonita. . . My girl squad, Shae, Priscilla, and KP. . . My guardian angels, John Exum, John Henry Walters, Ernie Exum, David Lang, and THx2. My family is one of the most supportive I know, and my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents continually bless me with their love. I am forever grateful for my Husband (Corion), our parents (Ken & Cathy and Frances & Robert), our daughters (MeKenna & Milan), and our brothers (Noah & Joni) for giving me space to grow my business and then crowding me with love and support. Finally, my clients! Without them, Happy Go Lucas wouldn’t be successful.