Meet a fellow Seattlite jewelry designer, Lauren from Balue / Co!
Balue/Co. is a handmade jewelry shop and blog, created by me, Lauren Wallace in beautiful Seattle, Washington. I'm a graphic designer by trade, but after a few years of working in a corporate design atmosphere, I found myself starting to dream more and more about moving back towards a more hands-on, handmade design aesthetic. That desire, combined with my love of well made and well designed jewelry, led to a natural progression to begin designing jewelry of my own, initially just for myself. I was having a lot of fun learning about the different techniques behind creating new designs, and I really enjoyed the immediate satisfaction of wearing one of my original creations. Amazingly, people soon started asking where I got some of my jewelry, and the thought arose that hey, maybe I should open a little online shop and see where this might take me. With that, Balue/Co. was born!
As a longtime Seattleite, this city and the Pacific Northwest is a big part of my design inspiration. I love elegant, subtle pieces that you can put on and complete any outfit, and that look just as good at a music event downtown as they do peeking out of a sweater after a day on the mountain. My goal is to walk that line with all of my designs: cool, versatile, well made jewelry that you'll love to live in.
1. When did you start your shop and how long have you been designing jewelry?
I opened Balue/Co. in September of 2011, after many months of brainstorming and working on the vision I had in my head for the brand of my shop. I began designing jewelry about a year before opening Balue/Co., and it really was just a natural progression of a new interest of mine (I had dabbled in just about every art form EXCEPT jewelry making before that!), and luckily I had great support from the start from family and friends, and new friends I've met through the amazing Etsy community and blogging!
2. What keeps you inspired and motivated to keep designing?
I am fully addicted to reading a handful of design blogs each and every day, which always helps keep my creative drive current and relevant. Seeing all of the amazing work others are doing charges me up to create my own best work, and I love the community of artists and bloggers that exists through design blogs, social media, sites such as Pinterest, and selling platforms like Etsy. It's all one big interconnected circle of inspiration!
3. Do you have any hobbies outside of designing jewelry?
As a graphic designer, I've always got to have some kind of creative outlet, which Balue/Co. really provides for me. My vision for my shop and brand is always evolving, and I'm currently working on expanding into new areas, such as card design and a collection of curated paper goods. I also blog daily on my Balue/Co. blog, which has been really rewarding creatively. When I need a break from my laptop, I love to get out and enjoy my beautiful hometown of Seattle. Catching a local music show at Columbia City Theater (my favorite venue in town) or visiting one of my favorite restaurants (Boat Street Cafe, Quinn's, The Tin Hat, etc. etc. etc.!), or buying fresh produce every Sunday at the Ballard outdoor market reminds me why I love to call this place home.
4. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I would love to be driving my own creative endeavor with Balue/Co. – be that through blogging, designing, my shop, or some combination of the three. I love that this project is never ending, the constant evolution is exhilarating and continuously inspiring. I love being in charge of my own success or failure, there is no better way to learn and grow!