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Meet Lo Cornell
FEBRUARY 20, 2023
We were lucky to catch up with Lo Cornell recently and have shared our conversation below.
Lo, appreciate you joining us today. Are you happy as a creative professional? Do you sometimes wonder what it would be like to work for someone else?
Honestly, this is not only a question I mull over on a regular basis, but one I get asked most often by people I converse with. As many times as I’ve been asked this question, I’ve always come to the same conclusion- I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t give my creative dreams and passions as much time and respect to grow as I can possibly offer.
I’ve always dreamed of being an artist, and an entrepreneur (details on this in my blog- https://shopthinkunique.com/blogs/news/how-think-unique-saved-my-life ) and it’s something I will continue to pursue through every up and down I experience in my life. I am a firm believer that life is too short to waste on other people’s dreams, and part of the magic of life is that we are able to create any story for ourselves we wish. There is no limit or box to what we can do or who we can be, and for me, being an artist is an essential part of my life experience.
All of that to say- pursuing your creative or artistic passions as a full time career is not for everyone. Monetizing your creativity is a delicate and fragile commitment that challenges your self worth, confidence, creative flow, and stability. I’ve held numerous part time jobs through the years as a business owner, sometimes for financial stability and sometimes just to have an excuse to get out of my house and interact with my community. I’ve had months where I feel so burnt out that I stop my marketing efforts and go radio silent. I’ve had months where I participated in eight art shows and built out numerous marketing and wholesale campaigns. I personally believe this rollercoaster ride is what makes the creative life exciting.
I think the biggest takeaway from this is: despite every challenge, sleepless night, moment of financial uncertainty, or questioning of my path, I always find myself in awe of this life I’ve chosen to pursue, and get right back to creating for Think Unique. It’s this passion that drives me to continue my creative endeavors over and over again. If I just held a traditional office job (which I have done before), I think a part of my soul would be left unquenched.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Starting off with the basics, my name is Lauren Cornell, but I go by Lo. It feels more aligned with who I am today. I’ve been an artistic person since I was born (thank you to my mother and Bubbie for their creative passions and genetics), and an aspiring entrepreneur since I was about six or seven (thank you to my Dad and brother for surrounding me with their business knowledge and perspectives throughout my life).
I started Think Unique in 2015, with the hope of making a jewelry business and turning my art degree into a life for myself (something I was told wouldn’t be possible, so obviously I had to try). I created pieces that meant something to me personally, since I was in the midst of a traumatic period in my life and sought refuge in the natural and spiritual world.
I made jewelry with crystals, sacred woods, earthly metals, and found my soul coming alive with each piece. What I didn’t expect was the response I would receive from others. The stories that were shared with me in moments of vulnerability, the gratitude for allowing someone to feel seen & heard, and the joy of a stranger connecting with my creation and watching it become theirs. Each of these interactions with my clients and customers grew my passion, and also my business.
This response is what pushed me to expand my line to other healing creations and tools. I released the Signature Smudge bundles and sold over 800 in my first year to souls in need of an energetic cleanse. I was interviewed by six different magazines. I began sourcing ethically mined crystals for spiritual healing. I was featured on FOX Channel 5 news in three major cities. I partnered with other small business owners and creatives to create bags, clothes, stickers, fragrances, and a full collection of goods aimed to help you live your most healed and spiritually awakened life. Things just kept growing.
My collection changes with the seasons, but remains grounded in healing and beauty. From the spiritually healing crystals and jewelry, to the Signature Smudge bundles, there is something for everyone at any part of their healing or self-love journey. It is this connection with others that I am most proud of. Yes, the sales and recognition are wonderful, but seeing the look in someone’s eyes when they feel hopeful for the first time in a long while, that is something beyond measure.
What can society do to ensure an environment that’s helpful to artists and creatives?
So much! But before I tell you my “action items” if you will, haha, I think we, as a society, need to take a step back and reset our perspective.
We’ve become so accustomed to what is easy and fast in the United States- two day shipping, overnight delivery, on demand movies and TV, the instant gratification of social media, fast fashion, fast food- that I think sometimes we forget that we’re still all human. We have a desperate primal urge to connect with nature, with our fellow humans, and slowing down and truly experiencing every moment of your life is a piece of that.
This is one of the reasons why I find artists, small businesses, and creatives so valuable in society. We help people see that there are alternatives to the grind of life. It’s okay to slow down and admire a painting, it’s a beautiful experience to smile and converse with a stranger, it’s a blessing to hold something that another soul has spent hours laboring over and feel their spirit come to life in your hands.
In a perfect world, people would buy everything from the source. We would get our food from local farmers, our clothes from a nearby seamstress, our art from local jewelers, painters, or sculptors, and not big box stores. Each of these things not only connects us deeper with our community, but it also sustains a thriving economy and communal ecosystem.
That said, I acknowledge this is not the world we live in, and it’s not possible for everyone to change their life in this way.
What I think we can do is make one more conscious choice a day. Instead of shopping for a piece of art on Amazon, check out a local art show. I promise the conversation and joy you’ll experience from the artist is lightyears more satisfying that pressing “buy now with one click.” Instead of going to Starbucks, check out the local coffee shop that someone dreamed up and put their heart and soul into. Attend that farmers market, stop and chat with the artists on your local street. Take time to not just do what’s easy, but what is the most meaningful & impactful in the long term. If everyone made one small change, the world would swell with communal joy and collectively ground us- something I think we desperately need.
Is there something you think non-creatives will struggle to understand about your journey as a creative?
To echo some things we’ve discussed, I think sometimes people are just moving too fast to truly seek to understand. Everyone in the world lives in a reality of one, and has their own life experience that shapes their worldview.
If you do not have a creative or artist in your life, it may seem impossible to know what that path is like. It’s the same on the flip side- I couldn’t tell you what a financial advisor, electrician, or general contractor does on a day to day basis, but if I take the time to stop and ask someone about their day to day, I can begin to paint a picture of their life, and what it means for them, and for our society.
I personally feel that artists and creatives are put on this earth to connect with others. It may not be through sales pitches, business meetings, or email, but perhaps something as simple as walking past a piece of street art and seeing someone’s heart and soul on full display. Even a minute can open your eyes to our life & purpose. We shine light to the inner parts of our souls, we expose our imaginations for the world, and we create with an intention to express and connect.
On a day to day basis, being a creative professional is not much different from a traditional corporate or office job. We still respond to emails, call clients, schedule meetings, explore new partnerships, pay taxes, etc. Many of us also wear many hats- we are the artist, the marketer, the photographer, the secretary, the sales person, the web designer/developer, the accountant, and more.
In some cases, our workload may surpass that of a more traditional job, and that is something I think many people that aren’t in this industry don’t understand.
At the end of the day, I think we all have a lot to learn about each other. Taking the time to ask questions, be curious, and listen with an open & respectful mind is the key to our understanding- and that goes for artists and non-artists alike.