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Meet Team LAD – Introducing Helen

Hello loves!

This week, we’re carrying on our introductions of all of Team LAD, and this week, it’s me! 🙈

It feels a little odd writing this as myself, but let’s just go with it and see where we end up, shall we?! Needless to say – it’ll be an interesting trip down memory lane for me as I reminisce on the last few years working with Lauren! We’ve certainly been on various journeys together… 😍

Meet Helen

I’ve been working with Lauren for around 5 years, but I met her right at the beginning of her business. I was just starting a new phase of my own business – providing support and community for indie creative businesses, and Lauren actually came to my very first networking meeting when she’d just moved to Devon and had literally just applied to sell on Not on the High Street.

I remember that first meeting in 2015 – we were both very excitable and buzzing with potential. Lauren joined my membership community and came to every single one of my events. I remember both of us were learning as we went along and we were able to support each other through our respective businesses. 

How did you start working for LAD?

We’d known each other for around a year, with Lauren being a regular at my meetings and events, and things were really starting to pick up for her. I joked that I was going to pimp myself out to all my creative ladies over the Christmas period as that was their busiest time, and Lauren snapped me up before I could offer my services to anyone else, and asked if I could help her out.

For me, it was a pleasure – I literally sat with her in her spare room sewing up Santa Hats and chatting all day. All my clients were busy with their Christmas orders so I didn’t have a lot of consultancy on. She gave me ideas for my business, and I gave her support with hers. It worked really well, so I basically hung around and helped her develop the business. It was growing fast and she was struggling to keep up with the development by herself so it made sense for me to help her out. 

From that point on I worked with her – from house 1, to house 2 and then to the studio. I focused on the development of the business, as well as marketing and communication with customers and suppliers.

What do you remember from that time?

One of my main memories is sat in Lauren’s office room, writing hundreds of cease and desist emails to everyone who stole her Santa Hat design 🙈

It was after her first year of launching the hat, and it was so popular it literally appeared EVERYWHERE – on Amazon, Ebay, so many different random websites – they were all using her photos and product description. It was a huge learning curve and I can’t remember how many I sent out but it was relentless! 

Copying has always been a huge thing for Lauren and we’ve spent so much time trying to overcome how that affects her and the business. It’s been hard. Now, there are so many people using giant wool but back then it wasn’t as popular and so many of Lauren’s images were used to promote someone else’s product, sold at a fraction of the price. 

What do you love the most about LAD?

Well, not wanting to sound like Sally and what she wrote, but I think it really is the team that I work with. There is a mutual trust and respect between us all, and we all ‘fit’ together well. 

I also love the product development, deciding what kits and yarn we should stock next, and the meetings that Lauren and I have about the subscription boxes – what colours to choose, for the following year. We take an age to decide 🙈 but I love it.

What’s been your biggest challenge?

Every year we face a challenge of some sort – we always joke that the following year will be easier than the one before, but for one reason or another, it brings even more challenges! I guess that’s the thing with a growing business – there are always hurdles that we have to overcome. It means it’s never boring…

The last eighteen months have been probably the most challenging. Covid hit all of us very hard, and working on our own, communicating remotely, running out of yarn, irate customers, trying to keep on top of everything – it was really tough! As we were all struggling with life changes (my own personal situation was extremely challenging), it meant that work was harder than normal.

I’ve been holding the LAD reins since January, as many of you know, since Lauren went on maternity and said hello to the beautiful Livi. It’s been a huge responsibility, one that I’ve enjoyed but has definitely been challenging! Being in charge of someone else’s business does tend to make you a little nervous… 😬😅

Obviously I’ve missed having my mate working alongside me every day, being each others biggest cheerleaders and calling each other out when we need to. We’re lucky to have grown together and been able to support each other through personal and business shit too.

Favourite LAD knit?

SUCH a hard one – I fall in love with every new design we release. I have recently started doing a bit of designing for LAD (my first full design is The Loop Bag), which in itself is very humbling and scary – but exciting too. I’d say the Button Knit Up cardigan or the Boatneck Jumper as both are regular wardrobe staples for me…

Favourite LAD Yarn?

I think I’m still in love with the merino Super Chunky although I adore the new cotton – we’ve also got a new yarn launching in a couple of weeks which I’m particularly fond of too…!

Favourite IG Account?

So many to mention – depending on what content I want to see that day. I love @alokvmenon, @chrxstopher.hall and @mattxiv. @Livethreesixty,  @brigitannamcneill and @yung_pueblo. Also so many craft accounts to mention!!

What podcast or book are you reading/listening to right now?

I’m rubbish when it comes to books – I’ve always got half a dozen on the go at any one time, and therefore take ages to finish them but on the list at the moment are: Braiding Sweetgrass, Untamed, The Overstory, If Women Rose Rooted, and Wilding

What would you like LAD to design next?

Well whatever it is, I’ll have to test knit it so maybe something small?! haha!! There’s a moss stitch cardigan in production at the moment which I’ve refused to test knit as it’s my worst stitch to do 🤣🤣

What are you looking forward to the most about the future of LAD?

Lauren coming back to work…. hahahahaha!!

No, seriously, I’m happy being here for the ride. More yarn, a bigger studio, maybe a shop front, more designers – there’s a lot to look forward to!

I hope you’ve found that vaguely interesting…?! It’s lovely to look back and hopefully give more of an insight into the business. I know LAD (the business) gets perceived in different ways, but hopefully we’re showing you that we’re a busy, growing, creative company run by passionate, driven women who are pretty damn happy doing what they do.

We so appreciate your support and loyalty – this business would be nothing without the customers. 

Have a great week LAD’s – watch out for a gorgeous new launch this weekend that we’re all really excited about!

Hugs,

Helen xx

What a LAD

Chunky knitter, tea drinker, word writer. I'm Lauren Aston: bringing you 90% waffle and 10% useful information.

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