Meet our next #FREDAGirl, wildly talented accessories designer, award winning creative director, recognized chef and new mom, Lauren Godfrey. With 15+ years of experience in both art and creative direction, Lauren has set out on a new venture designing a bohemian inspired accessories collection, Harwell Godfrey, fusing one-of-a-kind stones with leather. Both Lauren’s personal style and accessories collection strike the delicate balance of masculine meets feminine, that we feel truly embodies our FREDA Girl.
We caught up with Lauren at her Bay area home and design studio:
You’re a very accomplished Creative Director with 15+ years working with a diverse set of clients. Tell us a bit about your career path. Biggest moment? Any regrets?
My career path started in college when I majored in Advertising Design with an emphasis in Art Direction. After I graduated I went straight into the agency world and worked my way up from Intern, to Junior Art Director, to Art Director to Creative Director. I did that for 15+ years and worked on clients like Nike, Adidas, Absolut Vodka, Levis, etc. One of my biggest moments happened early on when I won a Gold Pencil in The One Show (a big advertising awards show) because suddenly I was visible to agencies everywhere. I ended up leaving San Francisco and taking a job in New York which was an amazing experience.
Several years later I hit a point in my advertising career where I was attending more high level meetings and doing less actual creative work and found myself very unfulfilled. At that point I decided to leave the agency world and explore my passion for food and cooking by attending culinary school at the San Francisco Cooking School. During the program I worked as an extern at SPQR and after graduating I immersed myself in the culinary world. I staged at Bar Tartine and Chez Panisse, did some food styling, worked on various cookbooks and tested and developed recipes for various publications.
After a few years of all food all the time, I hit another creative wall and decided to take a break from cooking and work on creating something just for myself. I was in need of a belt for an old Tom Ford for YSL belt buckle that I’d been holding on to, so I made one. That little taste of working with leather and creating something that I had absolute control over was very satisfying so I starting making more pieces for myself. That’s where Harwell Godfrey started. I realized that I was at a point in my life where I wanted to set the tone for what I was making and answer to myself. And it’s been really fun feeding the jewelry beast that lives inside of me! It’s pretty insatiable.
I don’t believe in regrets as I think there’s always something to be learned from every experience. Advertising taught me so much about how to approach production and meet deadlines and I definitely apply those skills to my current work. And years of working for some of the top creative directors in the industry and very successful and driven chefs has instilled in me a very high standard for my work. It’s been very exciting to push that and challenge myself in the world of jewelry.
We are obsessed with your new accessories collection, Harwell Godfrey. How did you develop your passion for jewelry design? What made you want to start your own collection? And what sets Harwell Godfrey apart from the rest?
I’ve always had a passion for jewelry. That probably comes from my grandmother, who I’m still very close to (she’s turning 90 this year)! She is a total lady and never leaves the house without fully accessorizing. My favorite piece of hers is a diamond cocktail ring that she bought for herself on a trip to Europe long ago. I love that she bought that ring for herself and has worn it every day since for the past 60+ years.
As far as designing goes, I have always loved the design process as was very excited to apply it towards something I am so personally passionate about. I started my own collection both to fill a hole in my accessories wardrobe and to satisfy my need to constantly be making something and creatively problem solving.
The thing that probably sets Harwell Godfrey apart most from “the rest” is that I personally create my collection from process that I developed on my own. The way I design the pieces, work with the leather and set the stones has come out of my own trial and error and experience. It’s very personal.
We love the detail in your Harwell Godfrey pieces. In what ways does the collection reflect your personal style?
I’m personally drawn to texture and scale which play a big role in most of my pieces. I really love objects that are organic in nature and think it’s special when you can feel that something is handmade or comes from the earth, not made by machines. I’m also a pretty casual girl and would almost describe my personal style as somewhat masculine, yet I love jewelry and accessories. My pieces come from all of this.
What advice can you offer to aspiring young designers?
Have fun and be yourself. You’re the only you and when you create something that truly comes from your unique point of view it shows. And be nice to people. That goes a long, long way. Oh yeah, learn how to edit yourself, which I clearly haven’t done a good job of here!
What is your life mantra or motto to live by?
Never stop learning.