Good Business: Laura of Design Giving (6 min Read)

Radical Giving - Uprising - Design Giving

What's your life motto?

Love learning, sharing knowledge and motivating others’ is a phrase I came up with a very long time ago, and despite not writing it down it has always stuck with me. I feel it sums up everything in my life that brings me joy and always striving to achieve.

I love learning, and always searching for new knowledge. Always asking questions, curiously wanting to get a better understanding of the world we live in.

Knowledge gives me motivation. Whenever I find something that fascinates me, I can’t wait to share it, whether to a close friend, through social media or when I’m giving a talk at a design event. But the best part is the feeling you get after someone says they’ve been inspired or motivated by what I’ve shared.

What have you learnt so far?

Stepping out of your comfort zone, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is where amazing things happen - and I’m still getting to grips to embrace that!

If you told me 10 years ago I’d be running my own design studio, selling magazines across the world, giving talks at design events, I wouldn’t have believed you. I think it’s only because I pushed myself out of my shy comfort zone that those things have happened. What life has taught me, is there is reward in risk taking. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.

It takes guts and courage to choose to make yourself vulnerable, but the more you do, the more confident you become, and in return comes rewards that you would never expect.

Where is your favourite place?

As I live and work in Manchester, one of my favourite places here has to be the Marina at New Islington. I love being by water - and even though it’s not a vast open span, it's a haven of beauty, wildlife and calmness. It’s where you’ll often find me, most weekends, enjoying a walk or a coffee at Pollen Bakery.

But when I’m not in Manchester, the coast of Cardigan Bay in Wales holds a special place in my heart.

Name your three favourite words?

I love words. My favourites tend to change, depending on what’s happening in my life at the time, or new words I’ve just discovered, but what they all have in common, is they all give you the feeling of positivity, either making you or others feel good.

Firstly ‘Thoughtful’ is a word I’ll always love. Purely for its meaning of showing careful consideration for the needs of other people, which sums up every part of what Design Giving is all about. Secondly, ever since I designed a charity print for the ‘Manchester in Mind’ Exhibition back in 2015 I discovered my love for the word ‘Curiosity’, which also defines my passion for learning. And lastly ‘Amazing’. I use this word a lot! Even my phone predicts this as an initial text reply. I think it’s such a positive, excitable word.

Not only do these three words make me feel good, I think the letters in each word also visually sit beautifully together.

What is your favourite food?

One of my favourite foods that I eat nearly every day are peas!

Probably not the most popular of choices however I absolutely love them, in every variety possible, and better still they are very nutritious.

I grew up eating freshly picked peas from the garden that my mum grew, along with hot Black Peas bought from Bury Market - If you’ve never heard of them before they are very much like mushy peas, only dark brown with a bit more bite and deeper flavour. It’s definitely one of my go-to comfort foods, especially in winter.

What can you not live without?

The one thing I can’t live without is my planner. I love to be organised. Planning for me is essential to be able to multitask, running both the design studio and magazine simultaneously.

I much prefer to keep physical notes of my to-do lists, and calendar dates. I use my planner for both personal and work, so everything is in one central place. It’s the first thing I look at it when I get into the studio in the morning, and the last thing I check before I leave.

Planners aren’t for everyone, and I know keeping it up-to-date in our forever changing work-life is time consuming, but the benefits outweigh the time it takes, enabling me to have a clear mind.

What is the last thing you bought?

I recently went to an evening event at Beaumont Organic, who are a contemporary sustainable women’s clothing brand based in Manchester. The director Hannah Beaumont-Laurencia hosted a Q&A about sustainable and ethical fashion with award-winning menswear designer, Patrick Grant, who founded Community Clothing.

It was such an inspiring event and came away feeling even more passionate about not only supporting sustainable clothing brands, but spreading the important message about ethical shopping.

The day after I bought a Community Clothing Chore Jacket, made of 100% traceable cotton washed denim and made in Blackburn.

When it comes to buying clothes I buy very little, and prefer to purchase investment pieces that will last me a lifetime, made from natural fabrics that don’t pollute our air. I absolutely love the jacket, and makes me smile every time I wear it knowing my money went towards supporting an ethical, independent local business, helping to sustain our natural resources.

What advice would you give to the younger generation?

Find out what you’re really passionate about, and learn how you can use that to make a positive impact on the world.

Climate change is transforming our planet as we know it and posing unprecedented threats to every species of life. It has become more urgent than ever before for environmental protection but sometimes knowing that can feel overwhelming. So I feel it’s less about changing the world, and more about changing part of it. So no matter what industry you want to work in, there’s always ways to improve it, in order to be more environmentally friendly and socially responsible.

Proudest moment?

My proudest moment has to be publishing my Design Giving magazine. It was an incredible six year journey, from the initial idea, to being able to hold the physical magazine in my hands. All of which wouldn’t have been possible without a successful Kickstarter campaign back in June 2018.

It makes me feel very honoured to not only have been able to accomplish my vision for creating environmentally conscious and socially responsible design, but also creating a platform that supports other independent designers and makers who create with a sustainable and thoughtful ethos - having a wider positive impact on the world.

I still can’t believe the whole experience happened. I feel incredibly lucky and definitely my proudest moment.

What’s next?

Good question! My ideas and ambitions for Design Giving are forever growing, and even I don’t know exactly what’s next, but what this past year has taught me, is that when you put an idea out into the world, the possibilities are endless.

But I guess it all comes back round to my life motto of continuing to learn, sharing my knowledge and motivating others to positively do good.

I’m excited at the prospect of discovering and showcasing more independent designers and makers through Design Giving, and hope to continue to educate more consumers how to buy better. But most of all, looking forward to building new friendships with people who share my passion and vision.

Check out Design Giving here -

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