Maker Profile: Lana Betty
Meet the Maker is a series focusing on showcasing and supporting up-and-coming designers, artists and creatives. Introducing Lana Lepper of LanaBetty who designs bold geometric wearables that are strong enough to make a statement and subtle enough for everyday wear.
Who are you and what do you design?
My name is Lana and I design and make 3d printed sterling silver, brass, and steel contemporary jewelry. My business is called LanaBetty and my jewelry line is called “Geometric Desires”.
Tell us a bit about how you got you to where you are today.
I started LanaBetty in 2010, a few years after I had graduated university. I snagged a pretty stellar job at a local winery, working in their lab. The pace was fast and I was really excited to learn about winemaking, but after a while, I needed more. Maybe I am a workaholic, but I wasn’t satisfied working a full day, I wanted to continue to learn, to grow, and expand my horizons. Running the same lab tests over and over and over was fun and challenging, but wasn’t really pushing me to be more. So I stopped at the local craft store on my way home from work one day, with the intention to make jewelry. Of course I wasn’t interested in making a single piece for myself, I worked in production. I wanted to make a business for myself!
At first, I made pretty terrible jewelry. Earrings mostly. I went to a few craft shows and started building a following, while at the same time, learning about branding, social media, and how to make nicer and nicer pieces.
In 2013 I put all of my childish whims away and decided to take LanaBetty in an entirely new direction: 3d printing. It was new, uncharted territory and I wanted in at the ground floor. I haven’t looked back since!!
If you could choose one word to describe your collection what would it be.
I start with an Instagram post. If I don’t do it in the morning, I won’t do it all day! I follow up with the news (BBC) and a morning walk with my best friend – my 7lb yorkshire terrier, Bolt (he’s got an instagram account, @boltasaurus). After breakfast, I answer emails and make a to-do list for the day. Usually I read the list I made the previous day and transfer any outstanding items to the new list. I love lists
Where do you find your inspiration?
This amazing city! Vancouver is so beautiful and the clean lines of the skyscrapers, mountains, and views of the ocean really inspire me to push my designs to be bigger and stronger than ever before. I came from a small town, spending many summer soaking up the sunshine at the beach, so to come to such a big, bustling city, I can’t help but be inspired by the architecture and beautiful art in our city.
Tell us about maintaining a balance. Do you?
Every Friday my husband and I finish our week (and start our weekend) with hot yoga. It’s this fun and healthy thing we can do together before embarking on late night adventures around town, searching for the best sushi, freshest beer, or biking around to meet up with friends. I use the time in class to focus on feeling good about the things I have accomplished and not beating myself up about the things I didn’t. Without my weekly reflection, I don’t know what I would do!
Is there a designer or brand with whom you’d love to collaborate?
Selfishly, I’d choose Kate Spade. I love their beautiful branding and the luxury surrounding their brand. Practically, I would choose Poketo. I think they have a strong brand and do great things to encourage emerging designers. Locally, I would choose Era Designs. They too, employ 3d printing to make some of their amazing designs and I would love to see my designs set with diamonds or engraved as beautifully as their pieces are.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to launch their own business?
I have three pieces of advice:
1. Work as hard as you can and always be kind to the people you meet. The toes you step on today may be connected to the asses you kiss tomorrow.
2. While nobody knows your brand better than you, but always listen to the advice friends and family give (even if they make ridiculous suggestions), they are going to be your biggest supporters and the least you can do is hear their ideas out.
3. If you don’t like a specific task or are absolutely dreadful at it, hire an expert. Focus on what you are best at and love the most and the rest of it will fall into place.
What’s next for you?
I am feeling really comfortable with the line the way it has evolved and I want to grow exposure! We are working with local stylists and getting published in fashion magazines, while approaching local, national, and international shops for wholesale. We just signed on with a shop in Toronto and are in talks with some shops in Whistler. I am also hoping to continue custom orders for clients, outside of the normal requests, maybe some promise rings or engagement jewelry in the future?
Onward and Upward!