There’s nothing like a statement piece of jewelry to put a little spring in your step. Enter Lauren Milmine Designs, a line of colorful, handcrafted jewelry made of a mix of vintage and organic materials. From her beaded twist on this season’s must-have tassel earring to her hand-painted feather earring to her gold-painted oyster shell necklaces, we can’t get enough of Lauren’s one-of-a-kind pieces. And for this week only, you can score a 20% discount on any piece from the LMD line with the code COASTAL20. Read on to get to know Lauren, the genius designer behind this unique line …
We're obsessed with your painted feather earrings. How did you come up with this design?
I began experimenting with painting beads and pendants after taking a painting class from Elaine Burge, a very talented artist who was visiting Savannah. Tassels have been so popular for the last several seasons and I wanted to create something that mimicked the look and made a statement, but was more natural, ethereal, and romantic.
I’ve collected angels since I was a child and last Christmas, while unwrapping an angel adorned with beautiful white feather wings, a light bulb went off. I ordered feathers in a variety of neutrals and rich colors, began hand-painting their tips and incorporating studs with druzy stones to create a romantic, statement earring.
Where else do you find inspiration for your pieces?
My work is rooted in a love for nature, interior design & architecture, and my travels. My designs are influenced by the beauty of the Georgia coastline where I am fortunate to live; the interior design environment in which I was raised (I love incorporating vintage chandelier chain and vibrant fabrics and trims), and the architecture and rich cultures I have been exposed to in my travels to Turkey, Greece, Italy, Croatia, France, Denmark and Mexico. For example, my spring line includes large, colorful “Aztec Tassels” (below) drawn from the Mayans. The Coastal Collection (top image) gives nod to my coastal home and incorporates hand-painted shells, sea glass, and recycled glass beads from Ghana.
Did you have a career before launching LM Designs?
My passion for jewelry design began when I was a young child. My mother and older sister are talented artists and interior designers and I believe I inherited a natural proclivity towards artistic expression. I always loved playing in my mom’s jewelry box, creating jewelry out of her sparkly baubles and discarded textiles from her office.
However, my career path was not quite direct! I have a JD and an MPA and spent my early professional life teaching Health Law to grad students at Georgia Southern and providing legal advice as a healthcare administrator. In 2009, my mom mailed me a lot of jewelry supplies she purchased at market in Atlanta. She challenged me to “learn how to make it” and included a request to send her and my sisters what I made. That was the moment I truly found my passion!
After welcoming triplets in 2012, I did not return to my legal career and instead immersed myself into my passion and continued to hone my craft. In 2015, I threw caution to the wind and launched Lauren Milmine Designs. I am so blessed today to do what I love.
What advice would you give to others starting a business:
Have a business plan, set concrete measurable goals, and then dive in 110%. You must give it every ounce of passion and energy you have. Surround yourself with good people, find a mentor, ask questions and remain open and flexible to opportunities while staying true to your brand.
Favorite travel destination:
I don’t think I can pick just one! Dubrovnik, Croatia, is the most stunning place I have ever been but my favorite trip, hands down, was one that took us through Italy and culminated in Monte Carlo, Monaco. In my dreams, I am always poolside at the stunning Villa d’Este on Lake Como.
When I was growing up in Atlanta, my family would spend most of the summer on Hilton Head Island, SC. It holds such a special place in my heart. Each summer since having the triplets, my family has spent a week or two on Hilton Head. I love recreating my childhood memories for my children.
Favorite room in a beach house:
It’s hard to beat an expansive porch overlooking the ocean. Our family doesn’t spend much time indoors at the beach. I love to sit and unwind with a cocktail while watching the sunset at the end of the day.
Best book you've read lately:
I love to read, but as a small business owner and mother of young triplets, I don’t have the opportunity to sit down and read very often. I love listening to books via Audible and The Nightingale is the best book I have “read” in years. I am also a fan of Emily Giffin’s books – they are great beach reads.
Go-to weekend drink:
I started an organic garden last year and, sadly, watermelons were the only thing I managed to keep alive! I found the best recipe for a low-calorie Watermelon Cooler on the Coastal Living website and they are now my go to drink when the weather gets warm.
Trend you're loving:
Statement earrings! Our Aztec Tassel Earrings are the perfect accessory to complement an off-the shoulder dress or top this summer.
Sunrise or Sunset?
Although I have witnessed a few spectacular sunrises, I would have to go with sunset simply because I have seen a lot more of them – I am not a morning person!
My husband’s family has this little house on its own island off a tiny coastal town in Downeast Maine that has been in their family for more than 100 years. The sunsets out there are the most magnificent I have ever seen. When the fog is clear and you have good cloud cover, the sunset lights up the entire landscape in fiery reds, oranges, pinks and flecks of gold. Sunsets like those do my soul good all year long!
Use the code COASTAL20 to get 20% off of any LMD purchase at laurenmilminedesigns.com.