Discovering My Artistic Statement | Lauren Alleyne Jewelry
It was 2012, I submitted my resume for a lead role. 2 weeks later I was on set as a re-cast for the part. It was my first lead role in a feature film. The cast and crew had developed a good rapport with each other at this stage. The overall vibe was good. By the 4th day on set, I realized that there was a common ground of humor, and I, being a person who loves to laugh enjoyed it. But this film wasn't a comedy at all. It was dramatic and a thriller. And it was expressed so skillfully by my co-star Lauren Alleyne. I was captivated by her performance. All I could think is that....I hope she sticks with this. I was inspired to bring even more to my character and performance. I wanted to... if only... match her level of embodiment. Her performance was so raw. We talked... let's go for it. Don't hold back. Leave it all out there. Well, that's after we gathered ourselves together from the giggles Lauren and I often shared on set.
One day on set, I came adorned with a hand-made bracelet my mother and I collaborated on. Our custom handmade jewelry is called "J.Mspire". Lauren expressed interest and then I learned that she too was recently introduced into making jewelry as well. Another thing this talented lady and I had in common. I was 2 years into doing the custom jewelry thing. I told her to stay with it. And now here we are almost 6 years later. Lauren Alleyne Jewelry has truly flourished since then. Her designs are sold in a few boutiques throughout Atlanta such as: Dakota J's in Virginia Highlands, and Pilates with Ashlee in Los Angeles. Lauren has shipped to clients international as well.
Lauren Alleyne Jewelry was founded in 2012 by Atlanta, GA native Lauren Alleyne. Her jewelry is handmade to create vibrant, chic, and eclectic pieces for the bold, sophisticated, fashion-forward woman. It is infused with an artistic essence combined with streamlined design elements that can add that special touch to casual wear, or effortlessly complement an upscale ensemble.
I was so interested to see what her thoughts and feelings were at this stage of "Lauren Alleyne Jewelry". So, I reached out for an official interview.
1. Were you named after someone? No, I wasn't
2. How did you get involved with designing jewelry? An old friend suggested I start making jewelry just for fun. I went with her to buy some materials, and I was up all night creating pieces. I instantly fell in love with the whole process. It almost became an obsession! All I could think of was buying more materials and making more pieces.
3. What or Who inspired you? I've always been inspired by 'creating'; the ability to fully create something from start to finish that is derived from my own heart and soul. I'm inspired by seeing how far I can go with an idea to bring it into full fruition.
4. What did you want to be when you were a child? I've always known I wanted to be a business woman/entrepreneur. I always had a vision of myself sitting at a big desk in a corner office with a beautiful view. I had no idea what I'd be doing though! I just wanted to be a boss! I made a ''magazine'' when I was nine or ten that I was so proud of, so I've always had a creative knack. It was on construction paper and was written in colored pencils, but it had some good beauty tips in it!
5. What were you doing before you started officially making your jewelry? I was an actress doing various short films and commercials, but I didn't feel completely fulfilled. I wanted to do something that was 100% me. When you're playing a role, you're obviously not yourself lol
6. What has been the hardest part in developing and maintaining your jewelry line/brand so far? The hardest part has been staying true to myself and my style. Just because I like a certain design doesn't mean others will, but I'm not going to change to please the masses. I have a very niche market of women who love bold statement pieces, and they appreciate unique, artistic design. Another challenge is in running the business all by myself. I handle all of the marketing, photography, jewelry shows, and accounting, as well as making the actual jewelry. It is definitely a lot to juggle, but its fulfilling.
7. What would you tell your younger self when it comes to where you are now in life? I would tell my younger self, "you create your life". If you want something you have to go after it, and you have to be persistent and willing to learn new things. If there's something you'd like to see that doesn't exist, make it yourself! No one owes you anything, so its up to you to determine what value you can bring to others. Don't share every idea you have with others until you have some traction. Not everyone will get your vision, and can squash your seed if you're not careful. Let the success speak for itself.
8. What do you want to be known for? I want to be known for being a positive influence in people's lives. If you come to me for advice I will tell you all the reasons you CAN do something, and I won't tolerate excuses! I can be tough, but its only because I can see the potential in others and I don't want them to waste it. I've been told I live in an unrealistic dream world, and I actually prefer it that way.
9. How would you describe your style as a designer? Bold, chic, and eclectic with an artistic element. I love making eye-catching pieces that still have that air of sophistication.
10. What have been 3 key points in branding yourself? Three key points I've used are consistency, essence, and style. Sometimes I will be so tempted to create a piece that's so out of character for my line, but I must remember I can't be all over the place. It's important to remain consistent if you want to have a recognizable brand. For that reason, I will often make pieces just for myself that I don't sell to others. I also want the essence of my brand to embody effortless sophistication. I always use the best quality materials and packaging to let customers know they are receiving something of value. My style is bold, chic, and eclectic, with a streamlined design. I love using unique pendants and interesting color patterns.
11. What advice would you give aspiring handmade jewelry designers? Use the best quality materials you can find! It will drastically change the way your jewelry is perceived, as well as increase the lifespan of your jewelry. Also, everything you do is a reflection of you and your brand. The way you dress, carry yourself...you are the brand! People are buying your creative essence, so you must reflect that at all times. I don't even go to the grocery store without looking well put together, wearing my jewelry. I've had so many people come up to me inquiring about the jewelry I was wearing, and I've even had people buy pieces right off of me! You just never know who's watching. Another piece of advice would be to just start! You will learn new things along the way, and over time your style may even change. I'm so embarrassed when I look at the jewelry I made in the beginning! Also, find inspiration wherever you can, but stay true to yourself. If you try to copy another person's style your heart won't be in it.
Now for some fun questions.
12. What are some of your favorite jewelry brands? Rachel Mulherin and Sydney Evan
13. What is your must have accessory for an outfit? Now this is a tough one! I must say, I never leave the house without wearing earrings. I'll feel off the whole day if I don't at least have earrings on!
14. What would be your ideal place to sell your designs? I love selling online from the comfort of my own home! My end goal has always been Bloomingdales, but once I reach that point I will no longer be making the pieces myself, and that kind of saddens me.
15. What was it like for you, seeing your jewelry displayed in a shop for the first time? I was so giddy! I felt like the sky was the limit! I was also very proud of myself for accomplishing something that I once thought was so intimidating. Going back to the store and hearing 90% of my pieces sold out was a feeling I can't even describe!
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