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

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

Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // Shop 

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