Through combining modern technology, fresh creativity and a sense of quirky boldness, Strange Stranger brings you well-designed, affordable unique jewellery. Today, we chat with designer and owner Laura Strange who shares a valuable insight into what it takes to run a successful jewellery business.
Tell us a bit about Strange Stranger and what we can expect to discover?
Strange Stranger is a fusion of line, space, colour and form. Strange Stranger pieces have a couture touch but are still wearable for the everyday. Styles vary from very simple, such as our Signature Stacking Rings, to more daring – like some of our statement necklaces.
Our creations are made from a variety of materials and methods including cast silver and resins, laser cut woods and acrylics and hand rolled beads.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
After being told I would never be a graphic designer due to my lack of fine art skills by my year 12 careers counsellor, I thought I’d still give it a shot – my understanding of what I hoped graphic design would be was obviously different to hers! I started my career with a Bachelor of Design at Queensland College of Art.
After graduating in 2010, I began working as a junior designer in a leading Australian branding agency. The work you do as a junior isn’t always the most creatively fulfilling, so a group of other graduates and myself formed an Artist Run Initiative, IncStamp, as a way to stay creative while learning the ins and outs of our new profession.
It was through exhibiting works with IncStamp that I started experimenting with lasercutting for artworks, which in turn led to creating smaller scale versions and ultimately – jewellery!
I now work part-time as a digital designer at Klyp and spend the rest of the week on Strange Stranger and projects with Gold Coast studio.
What inspires your work and what keeps you motivated creatively?
I’m still not 100% sure where my inspiration comes from – it usually strikes subconsciously at the most random times, when I’m doing something totally unrelated to the project.
I do love soaking up colours and patterns in fashion, architecture and landscapes, and find that the environment around me shapes my work. The previous collection I launched in early 2014, Float, followed my first trip to Thailand, so the feelings and emotions I experienced on that trip influenced the final touches of that collection.
And of course my design background means I’m a sucker for details and the more design focused elements of the brand.
As for staying motivated, my partner is a massive creative force and he definitely keeps me on my toes – we struggle to have a “proper” weekend off as we always have so many professional and personal projects on the go! He also has his own label Surf-Brand which he runs with his business partner Paul, so there’s no time to be lazy, that’s for sure (except for the odd Big Bang marathon…).
What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
We share a home studio where we do a lot of our client work and also our personal and passion projects. Our home isn’t big or flashy, but it’s filled with stuff that makes us smile. Our studio houses a bookcase stuffed with Anime and Bearbrick figures, along with our favourite books and creations from our talented friends. It could be mistaken for a teenagers room with all our vinyl toys!
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
Managing the “business” side of it and turning it into something that is viable has been a challenge – I want to make all the things all the time, but there has to be a cap on the experimentation or I would never produce anything finished! Also predicting how customers will receive products is hard, but I guess if we could all predict retail 100% we’d all be super rich, ha!
What new projects are you working on and where would you like to see Strange Stranger in the future?
For the recent Finders Keepers I undertook a colab with Surf-Brand and we produced some limited edition cushions which was super fun. I’d like to experiment with some more things for the home, see where that goes, and also continue to grow the range of Signature Stacking Rings, our best selling style.