Shoutout LA | Meet Lauren Cornell: Founder & Creative Director of Think Unique

Shoutout LA | Meet Lauren Cornell: Founder & Creative Director of Think Unique

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We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Cornell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lauren, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk has always been a companion of mine, I feel it’s vital to success and to the exploration of one’s own potential. Without risk, theres no reward!

Risk has manifested itself in many ways throughout my life. As a young child, I was always dancing to the beat of my own drum, avoiding the standard things that made people “popular” and finding my own way in the arts. By pursuing the arts so passionately, this eventually led me to take more creative classes throughout my education. Gradually, this led up to me taking the risk to be a Fine Arts Major in college.

I was pushed to pursue a standard Liberal arts education rather than follow my passion for solely art, but University found me in the Art School anyways. Without following my passion and taking a risk in my education, I would have been funneled into a business path. There is nothing wrong with the business path, but it would not have allowed me the opportunities, mentors, and education I received from my art instructors that later went on to shape my future business.

Post University- I found myself in a managerial position that afforded me an incredible training program and community of professionals but I was still missing my creative self, I was beginning to feel lost and absorbed into the status quo. I left this job for a position in a Sushi Kitchen which was a huge risk- going from a corporate position with a salary to an unknown source of benefits in a risky industry. A few career jumps later, my risk taking inclinations roared up again and I found myself starting my own business, Think Unique.

Without risk, I never would have taken a Metal-smithing Class. Without risk, I never would have left my stable job to start my own Jewelry business. Without risk, I wouldn’t have moved across the country to Los Angeles and pursued my dreams. Without risk, I would be in the same job I was in after college dreaming of what my life could have looked like.

I am a firm believer that risk is essential to humanity. Without the risk takers, we would not have new discoveries, new medicines, new art, and new outlooks on life, or anything. So, I encourage you, my fellow human, to take the risk you’ve been putting off. Take that class, eat that new food, start that adventure! Take risks and embrace all that life has to offer!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is a physical manifestation of my healing process, one that is perpetually in motion.

My main medium is Silver & gemstones, which I use to create an array of jewelry and other spiritual goods. Currently I’m pushing myself in my creative process to make Infinite Healing Companions, necklaces that have carefully selected stones, spiritual woods, and intricate, handcrafted Sterling Silver pieces highlighting a single stone I have intuitively chosen.

It’s certainly been a challenge getting here. I started learning metalsmithing when I was in college, and was lucky to have a few very talented instructors to guide me on this new journey. Initially, I went to school to study Photography, but I quickly found myself falling for the magic and bad-assery that is metalsmithing. Shoutout to Vincent Pontillo-Verrastro for really sparking my passion for this magical medium! Metal is not an easy material to work with, it’s not forgiving. You have to carefully measure, re-measure, saw, file, sand, solder, and use a variety of chemicals to bring a piece to life. If you melt something, you have to start over. If you break something, you have to start over. If you lose a stone- thats the only one of it’s kind. Plus, you’re always dealing with toxic fumes and chemical baths that require extra attention.

Working with such complex and unforgiving materials has taught me patience and perseverance. I used to just throw in my tools and give up, getting easily flustered. Now, I am able to take a step back, re-assess, and continue moving forward. This has also proven to be a valuable skill in my daily life. Becoming more patient with relationships and human error. Understanding that things may not be perfect the first time you try them, or ever.

Pushing myself in this way has also helped me learn how to better live with mental illness as well. Having PTSD and BPD is very challenging, frustrating, and can go wrong quickly. But by understanding there are other paths, other outcomes, and second chances, I have learned to become more patient with myself as well.

The one thing I want people to know about my story is the number one thing my brand has taught me- that it is possible to overcome. Even when the world seems its darkest, even when your mood is the lowest, even when everything seems like it’s crashing down, there will be another sunrise. There will be other chances, better days, brighter times, and as long as you have the patience to get there, you’ll be able to enjoy it, too.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As a recent transplant from Chicago, (helloooo mid-pandemic move!) I can honestly say I haven’t explored everything there is to see but I certainly already have my favorite spots already!

I’m very big into nature, whether it be hiking, exploring, dancing on the beach, boogie boarding, or even just enjoying a day out in the sunshine. Some of my favorite hiking trails are Sage Ranch for sunset or sunrise, the rock pools at Malibu Creek State Park for a unique swim, and Carbon Beach for a quiet day in the water.

As for food, my favorite favorite spot is Butcher’s Daughter. They have a huge variety of plant based meals, and have so many gluten free options which I (a gluten and dairy allergy person) greatly appreciate. My two favorite dishes from BD are the Surfers Breakfast, and the Curry, both filling, delicious, and better than any competition I’ve found. Another favorite spot of mine is Taco’s Hell Yeah, a place my boyfriend introduced me to through his love of motorcycles. They have incredible tacos, and their Hell Yeah fries are killer.

The other thing I love most about Los Angeles is its proximity to other places. I love taking little day trips to Santa Barbara- be sure to visit Jess Conti Leather Goods while you’re there- she’s an incredibly talented and kind woman with a little shop full of handmade leather goods. If you take a day trip to Ojai- definitely visit Bart’s Books- its an outdoor bookstore filled with trees and plants and used books, a readers dream!!

Other than that, I ensure every visitor that comes to see me here gets to enjoy a drive down Topanga Canyon. Its winding, tree filled roads are such a peaceful and reenergizing nature bath, and there are plenty of places to pull off and take in the views.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I certainly wouldn’t be where I am without the help of others, I truly believe it takes a village to raise up something, whether it be a child, a business, or even an idea.

There are so so many people I want to shoutout right now but my brain keeps taking me back to my Dad. So, Dad, this one’s for you!

My Dad has always been a huge supporter of my art. From displaying my early art projects in his office, to keeping every version of my business cards from every version of my business (the first business cards I made when I was about 8/9 years old, complete with sparkly stickers)- he always made me feel valid. He made me believe that my business ideas were just as valid as anyone else’s, and for a young girl this was a really big deal.

Later, when I was in college, he encouraged me to take classes I was truly interested in, like metalsmithing, welding, psychology, color theory. He also ensured me that the classes I wasn’t as successful in, like Math, weren’t a reason to stress and worry. This approach to my education really allowed me to blossom in my chosen field and later led me to the confidence in starting my own business.

He made some of the first purchases from my first show, and always made an effort to tell me about a cool art show I may be interested in, and helped me get back on track when my mental health would tell me I wasn’t worthy of my own vision of success. To this day, I know I wouldn’t be where I am without him, and I am so grateful to not only have a father, but to have one as supportive and encouraging as he is.

Thanks Dad, I love you!

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