Saturday, 1 April 2017

Small Business Interview: Lorelei Halls



Small business owner interviews are back! It has been a while, April 2016 in fact since our last one, but as part of BHC's New Year resolution project post I am bringing them back on the last Friday of every month. This months interviewee is Lorelei Hall who is one of my fave UK laser cut acrylic jewellery makers out there. I am constantly in awe of her work and I want to be her hype man basically, because her pieces are incredible and no one else is doing this and I want everyone to know about her she has also recently started taking up custom pieces which are looking great. 

Charlotte: I ~discovered~ you on instagram and we both got shown in Old Tat Magazine. I remember being quite excited because you were another up and coming person and the crowd on instagram felt quite tight and you were really lovely and friendly. I love your work too, it has this almost 60's feel to it without it being overtly ~~retro or quirky, it has a good unique feel which I love. Can you remember how you 'met' me? 

Lorelai: I am pretty sure I discovered you through a competition sponsored by Lucky Dip Club, the prizes were all French fries and I was gutted that I didn't win! I'm a major lover of the good old chip and all other types of potato-ey goodness!



Charlotte: How did you get into acrylic laser cut jewellery, I don't know if this is something you do full time or if you went to art school etc!

Lorelai: I have always been creative, from an early age; I did a fashion and textiles degree at university which I graduated from in 2010 which I did enjoy but I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do as a career. I'm an introvert and prefer my own company, so when jobs listings talked about working in a team and it being a "fast paced" environment I kind of recoiled in horror. I had thought about becoming a fashion buyer but again, the job involved a lot of speaking to different people and doing presentations which is my worst nightmare. I took on a job in a shop for cash and sort of half heartedly designed bits and pieces which never went anywhere. I eventually decided to try out making cards, pocket mirrors and art prints with my designs which were a massive flop.

Then I transferred my designs on to shrink plastic and although I didn't like the medium, making up the jewellery pieces took me straight back to primary school when I used to make bits of jewellery out of old deconstructed necklaces and small toys and other bits and bobs, at one point I even made some earrings with fruit beads from a necklace and sold them to the other girls for a £1 a pop! So I guess it was only natural that I was drawn back to jewellery making! I initially moved from the shrink plastic to buying laser cut printed charms with my designs on, but that still didn't have the right effect. I fell in love with the vibrancy of coloured acrylics and went from there! I had absolutely no idea how to create the cut ready files so taught myself how to use the program through online tutorials and youtube videos!



Charlotte: Recently I have been discussing competitive behaviour within my small business communities, and read @theprivategirls blog post on 'helping others succeed will help you'. I know we have both shared laser cut knowledge and tips privately and publicly shared each others work and celebrated each others achievements, but this isn't always a done thing, especially in the direct field. Since I have become part of a wider community and involved in conversation and sharing each others work, my sales and reach has only increased. Have you had any positive or negative experiences regarding this?

Lorelai: I have only had positive experiences from other small businesses, especially through instagram. It is a really great community and people are always willing to share images of their purchases. I have actually had a couple of designers who's work I LOVE offer to do jewellery swaps, so i get a piece of their beautiful work and they get some of mine and we both get a bit of exposure too. I have also had an amazing illustrator offer to design an illustration for me as part of a swap rather than charge me, after I approached her asking how much it would cost me, fully willing to pay for her fabulous work: on my credit card if I had to! The online community has been a massive boost to my brand and my self esteem, as it can be quite isolating working on my own from home. 



Charlotte: What is your design/creative process like? How do you get inspired to create something new?

Lorelai: I am mostly inspired by vintage clothes and housewares, I have a large collection of bright, patterned dresses in my wardrobe and my room is filled with pretty things. Sometimes I get an idea for a jewellery piece fully formed in my head, other times I get an idea for a theme and collect inspiration from everywhere. I have a Pinterest account with several boards on the go at the moment, each with a different theme idea that I keep adding to and drawing from. I also visit charity shops, vintage shops and museums and follow several vintage collectors on Instagram who have extensive collections of amazing pieces! Once I have some ideas, I just sit and draw for hours/days, I like to draw on separate sheets and lay them all out so that I can develop my ideas further. I HAVE to work in colour to fully visualise my ideas, so I draw in pencil, black fineliner and then colour with Letraset Promarkers.

Charlotte: Whats the dream for you? I know you don't have your own laser, so I can imagine that is quite frustrating (although owning one can be incredibly frustrating let me assure you!) is that the next step?

Lorelai: I would absolutely love my own laser cutter as it would enable me to make up a single prototype for any spontaneous ideas I have, rather than have to wait until I have a collection ready to send files off to be cut. I would also be able to take custom orders.

Charlotte: Any questions for me?

Lorelai: What kind of things did you make as a child?

Charlotte: A mess haha? I was really not good at making anything when I was younger, because I was left handed and apparently very clumsy so this really inhibited me a lot, and wasn't really encouraged to be very ~arty despite my parents both being incredibly good at art, and interested in art and art history and my sister was encouraged a lot. It was only as I got older and realised I was actually really good at it and then it developed from there? I did do a lot of sculpting when I was little though because my mum was a sculptor and we got to play with clay and fimo!
                                                                          _______________________


Thanks so much Lorelai for letting me interview you, I want to apologise because this interview is overdue by about a year! If you would like to be interviewed in our new weekly Small Business Interview blog email me at blackheartcreatives@gmail.com





You can follow Lorelai on the links below, and also visit her store



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