Today, we chat with Lana Lepper, the founder and designer behind LanaBetty. Lana uses traditional jewelry making and the relatively new technique of 3d printing to create complex shapes and angular lines. We are delighted Lana will be making the journey to our Etsy Vancouver Market this month, so read on to discover more about her creative process!
When did the idea of launching LanaBetty take root?
When I graduated university, I started full-time work. It was really fun (making money for the first time ever) until one day it didn’t really feel challenging anymore. That was when I decided I needed more. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to do something with my hands that I had never done before. I went to a craft shop in town, bought up a bunch of supplies and went to town! Many, many, many terrible pieces of jewelry later, something coherent started to evolve. In the beginning, I knew that I wouldn’t have the start-up capital to dive into silversmithing and fine jewelry making, but I knew if I made 1000’s of really pretty pieces, I could level up my skills and the quality of the pieces I worked with. Looking back at where I began, it’s hard to believe I ever made such different (terrible) jewelry, but it keeps me grounded, knowing that hard work pays off.
Tell us about your favourite product from your collection.
The newest (and my favorite) pieces of my collection are the Facets. I spent months and months working on the details and designs for these five faceted gemstone line-shapes. Emerald, Raindrop (aka pear), Heart, Trillion, and Round. I would say the Emerald has been the most popular, I would love to see them made in sterling silver!
Another amazingly fun aspect of my business (and 3d design) is custom. This year has been explosive for my custom design. Predominantly, I have been making custom name necklaces. A family name necklace for a new bride (given to her on her wedding day by her new husband), a babies name given to a new mom, and even a father’s name (passed) given to a granddaughter. Working with a client to create a custom design is fulfilling and intimate and so much fun. Working to translate their wants and needs into a three-dimensional, tangible object is exactly what I want LanaBetty to be about.
What are some of the proudest achievements of your creative career so far?
This last year, has been big for LanaBetty. Exactly one year ago I was laid off from my full-time (corporate) job. I was devastated and didn’t know how I would pay my bills or tell my friends. What I had though, was an interview with the Globe and Mail that was published nationally (and online) the same day. I took that as a sign! Diving head first into my business has been incredibly challenging and equally rewarding. I am proud of the time my jewelry was featured on the cover of Kai’Outi Magazine, Erin Ireland wore my jewelry on CTV Breakfast Television, and I got the sweetest shoutout from the organizer of Vancouver Fashion Week this spring! The cherry on top of it all, happened very recently. One of my biggest goals in the last year, was to expand. Get into shops. I set my bar high, aiming for galleries and art-centric shops. I am so proud to share that you can now find my jewelry for sale at the Vancouver Art Gallery! Who knows, maybe next it will be the Smithsonian or the Tate Modern!
What is a tip you have for current Etsy shop owners or those who are thinking about opening a shop?
Do it. Don’t wait, don’t think, don’t question yourself. Do it. If you have a creative idea or a knack for making something beautiful, waiting isn’t going to help you grow and expand your skills or help you share it with the world. If you feel stuck in a job you hate and know you’re destined for something bigger – just do it. Take the leap and never look back. Dive head first into your passion and let every single moment be the best moment. Be happy with who you are and content when you get into bed every night. Strive for greatness and (sometimes) be humble about it. Be proud of yourself and always, always, do what makes you happy.
What are you most excited for about the upcoming Etsy Vancouver Market?
There are so many things! How can I choose!!? I think it’s a three-way tie. I am excited to meet hordes of new customers, to meet new and reconnect with old fellow vendors (some friends I only ever see at markets!) and I am excited to see my new market stall in action! I wanted to create a new display that didn’t rely on renting tables that was tall enough, cool enough, and hold all my stock, tools, and equipment so I designed something new! I trialled it over the summer, but the Etsy Vancouver Market will really put my hard work to the test. Fingers crossed you all love it!