Meet Lauren, she started Lauren Kate Design Co. back in July 2020 after graduating and specialises in handmade women’s clothing and accessories and takes pride in her fight against the fast fashion industry. All of her pieces are made to order and the attention to detail is next level so they are sure to fit like a glove and last a lifetime. Her major unique selling point is that she operates sustainably and is constantly reviewing all aspects of her business to ensure that she’s adapting the way she works as new sustainable solutions become available to her. For now all her packaging is recyclable and she is looking to change her fabric from poly cotton fabrics to 100% cotton in the future when she can afford the change.
It's no secret that being a sustainable business increases costs and this can be what dissuades a lot of people from adopting a more sustainable lifestyle but just knowing that there are people out there like Lauren who are doing their best to make those changes and be eco-conscious is a huge step in the right direction.
Lauren, no doubt has a very distinctive style. Her gingham pieces are the perfect combination of eye-catching yet minimal. The versatility of her garments mean they can be styled in just about anyway, they can be worn all year round for any occasion. Her best selling ABBY dress makes a beautiful summer dress, yet can be layered under a t-shirt on those chillier days, can be paired with a long sleeved top in the autumn/winter and can be dressed up with a pair of heels and a statement bag for a fancier occasion.
When starting her business Lauren focused mainly on black and white gingham but as she has become more confident with her designs and really honed in on her style she is becoming a lot more adventurous with colours. Her loyal customers and supporters have been asking her as of late to bring in some more summer colours and she is not disappointing. If you’ve been keeping up with her instagram stories you will have noticed that she’s been teasing us with a potential lilac collection, maybe a blue and a very much requested green. She’s also been working on some pink pieces lately and they are breathtakingly stunning. The perfect dress for a spring/summer BBQ or family event (or maybe just a trip to the supermarket as thats what ‘out, out’ means now thanks to lockdown).
When I asked her why she decided to start her own business she explained that after making garments for herself to transition out of buying fast fashion her instagram followers and friends started asking to buy them and so she knew that the demand was there. Her favourite thing about having a small business is that it allows her to connect with new people and other small businesses. Throughout lockdown, having her small business has allowed her to (virtually) meet lots of new people and she has surrounded herself with a caring, nurturing community in which we all share our tips and tricks and help to raise each other up.
The small business community is so refreshing and especially on social media it can be a great place to meet like minded people and people who motivate you to be the best version of yourself. It is so far removed from the toxicity that can come with overindulging and endlessly scrolling through filtered, edited images, giving us unrealistic beauty expectations and instead transports us to a place where our unique skills, creativity, drive, ambition and so much more are praised, channeled and supported. The community really has been a life line throughout quarantine and has helped so many people like Lauren to have a sense of belonging and feel like she can share her talents and skills with a supportive following.
I also asked Lauren what she found to be the hardest thing that she’s had to face when operating her business and her response was that she found it hard gaining followers. “My instagram followers are constantly rising and falling, it’s certainly a challenge to keep people engaged. It’s also where a lot of my sales come from so I have to keep content exciting”. I definitely agree with this one. As previously stated social media can be a great place to meet other like-minded people and connect with small businesses however, these accounts don’t tend to be who you’re selling to. They are there more so for support than income. Instagram, unfortunately over the last few years have been transitioning and changing their algorithm to make it almost impossible to grow an organic following and community of customers and this can make it really hard. There are some months where you can feel like giving up, you haven’t seemed to reach any new customers, you’re losing followers and no one is interacting with your content. This can be soul crushing to any small business owner and can in some instances mean the difference between paying your bills or not.
One of the most important things to Lauren is remaining open and transparent with her customers and making sure that she builds her brand around trust and understanding. It makes me so happy to see so many small businesses ‘keeping it real’ on their instagram stories, whether that be them sharing the bad days, the mistakes, a true ‘day in the life’ or a funny anecdote. It can be so refreshing for customers to have that open channel of communication as apposed to these bigger businesses who keep everything very conservative. When you run a small business people are buying into you just as much as they are the business and I think people really resonate with real life struggles. Social media can be very much a highlight reel of our lives and we rarely see the nitty, gritty, unfiltered (excuse the french) shit shows that go down. Small businesses like Laurens allow people to have a sneak peek behind the scenes and they can gain valuable insight into just how much work takes place.
To finish off I asked Lauren if she had any advice for someone looking to start a business and her one nugget of wisdom is ‘BE ORGANISED’. She went on to explain that “you may think that you’re starting a small business but before you know it you may need to hire an accountant and pay taxes”. Lauren is naturally an organised queen and likes to keep all her receipts, bills and book keeping documents in a folder so she knows exactly where everything is at all times. Her final note to you is “never be afraid to reach out for help from other small businesses; we all started somewhere and its always a good feeling to help others that are in a position you were once in”
I bought my mum one of Lauren's beautiful makeup bags for Christmas and it was so beautifully packaged and presented that I was tempted to keep it for myself. Nevertheless, I gifted it to my mum and she loved it just as much as I did!
It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know Lauren over the last few months she really is incredibly talented and is a great friend to have, always cheering others on. She’s a little ray of sunshine and definitely worth a follow.
You can check Laurens business out on instagram: @lauren.kate.design.co
Or shop her pieces on her Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/laurenkateldesignco