She’s launched her own fashion and jewellery business and caught the eye of Dragons’ Den panellist Theo Paphitis. Therefore we sent Ashleigh Morgan to find out more about the wonderful designs of the artist known as Lynsey Luu
Breaking into the world of fashion is notoriously difficult. Entrepreneurial flair and a unique selling point are just not enough; determination and perseverance are required to carve out a niche in the saturated market. In order to succeed, you not only have to be the best, but you have to prove it – continuously. Lynsey Harris has done just that. The 23-year-old launched her jewellery business Lynsey Luu last year and has even received praise from Dragons’ Den favourite, Theo Paphitis.
From a young age, Lynsey was interested in quirky and kitsch jewellery, viewing it as a form of art. Themes such as zombies, insects and contortionists all featured in her work for her textiles degree at Wolverhampton University, along with ideas gathered from Terry Pratchett novels, videogames such as Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil and the Monty Python series. Her first project, Resurrection, was a range of zombie themed table wear which received mixed opinions from her lecturers – something Lynsey loved. She says: “My designs have an unusual twist to them and I realised that to get full recognition of my own designs, I would have to start my own brand or label. Working in a company where they own your designs wasn’t for me. I’m proud of my work and want people to know I’ve designed it.” A fan of brands Tatty Devine and Lazy Oaf, she decided to have a go at designing and creating her own jewellery range. After producing a sample of her first necklace, the Lulu Peek a Boo which received rave reviews from family, friends and even strangers, Lynsey applied for a business scheme called Speed WM. She secured a place, learnt the essentials of starting a business and Lynsey Luu was born. She even won the ‘Star of the Future’ award during her time on the course, which was voted for by the other participants. Lynsey confesses: “It was such a heart-warming feeling to be voted by my fellow associates as we’d all grown our businesses alongside each other on the programme.”
Unlike many entrepreneurs, Lynsey has found people have been supportive of her and have helped her to develop, and have taken her seriously as a young businesswoman. She says: “I have so much respect for people who help rather than kick you when you’ve down, there’s no need for that.” However, she does admit that it isn’t always easy running your own business; but once again, Lynsey’s ambition shines through. “I’m not going to lie, it’s hard but if you love what you do, it does make it that bit easier. There are tough days when you don’t want to get out of bed, but that ambition drags you out and gets you past the bad days and onto the truly amazing ones. If you can’t imagine anything else other than doing what you love, then you will always find that motivation to keep going. If you hit a dead end, learn from it and improve but never give up.”
IMPRESSING A DRAGON
Those who enjoy listening to the silver-edged tongue of Theo Paphitis on Dragons’ Den know that he’s a businessman that doesn’t take any nonsense. However, Lynsey managed to catch the Dragon’s eye when she took part in his Twitter competition, Small Business Sunday. “You just tweet your business to him between 5pm – 7.30pm on a Sunday and he’ll pick his favourite six for that day and retweet them,” she says. “I won last November and got the chance to meet him in Birmingham at an event he held at Edgbaston Cricket Stadium for all the winners. It was a great chance to network with all the other businesses that he’d also been interested in and I gained some new and interesting contacts.”
Alongside her jewellery line, Lynsey has decided to expand into clothing to bring her textiles background more firmly into her business. Her second T-shirt designs have been launched and a range of hats are also set for release. As if that wasn’t enough, Lynsey has her eye on expanding the business even further. “I am researching into stationery at the moment so there may well be some Lynsey Luu notebooks and wrapping paper in the pipeline.”