Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog!
Happy Friday, y’all! This Friday is extra special because not only am I on my way to the Magic City for the Birmingham Home & Garden Show, but I also have a super fabulous interview to share with y’all!
This Friday’s VIP special guest is Alison Aughtman of Luke & Lyla Designs. *applause* I have featured Alison’s magnificent jewelry pieces on both VIP and the sister blog outfit posts, and I am always impressed with how easily the handmade bracelets fit into my everyday wardrobe! Whether I am dressing up or dressing down, Luke & Lyla accessories always add a bit of pizazz to my ensembles effortlessly!
After getting more fabulous details about this special VIP interview guest, be sure to check out the bottom of this post for a special discount code on Luke & Lyla Designs just for reading and supporting VIP! Supporting a blogger, handmade, and a small business–how fantastic is that?! *wink*
Now, without further delay, I introduce y’all to the lady behind Luke & Lyla Designs, Alison Aughtman.
VIP: Tell us a little bit about Luke & Lyla Designs.
L&L: I started Luke and Lyla Designs about 18 months ago, after my husband and I made a cuff for me personally. My friends saw it and started asking for them, and the company really grew from there. It was apparent early on that women were looking for a new spin on the cuff trend, and I felt like there was a desire for color and variety that wasn’t being met. Many hours were spent researching and learning about the age old traditions of leather crafting by hand. People told me they were tired of only black and brown, so I began dying a number of our colors with low VOC dyes to add bright metallic and vivid solids to our line.
A lot of people think that Luke and Lyla are our names, but actually Luke and Lyla are our dogs. You can see their photo on our tags and a little paw print stamp next to the cuff snaps. I’ve always felt strongly about companion animals and pet adoption. The paw print is a way to identify our items and also connect with others who have a strong bond with their pets. We’re blessed to be able to help support some of our local pet organizations with their silent auctions and other fundraising.
It has been very important to us from the beginning to be authentic in what we do, say, and sell. For us, this means that we personally do all of our handwork on our items. The vast majority of our cuffs are cut from full hide, but occasionally we come across something unique that we can modify and use for added variety. Our handbags are also cut from full hide and a number of them are hand-dyed to show their natural character. Leather work is our main passion, but we also re-assemble vintage necklaces using vintage chain and repurposed items. Each cuff, handbag, and necklace is one-of-kind.
VIP: What inspired you to start designing jewelry?
L&L: Designing and creating came somewhat naturally to me because my mother has been a boutique jewelry designer and local artist for most of my life. My late grandmother was a brilliant business woman, and I learned a lot from her ambition. Luke and Lyla gives me a creative outlet for my energy and lets me combine both art and business. I really enjoy connecting with people and finding out what they are looking for and then designing what will fit.
VIP: What are some of your favorite pieces with which to work when designing?
L&L: My favorite pieces are definitely aged metal of all varieties. Metal has a great way of showing its age, and I love how perfectly imperfect it is. I really love to work with old French shoe clips and vintage brass.
VIP: For someone who does not know what “upcycling” or “remaking” vintage jewelry is, how would you briefly explain it?
L&L: Recycling and upcycling is using used and often unwanted items to create something that is of use. There’s just something inspiring about taking a piece of costume jewelry that is broken or forgotten and turning it into something that is loved and used. Sometimes people seem to want an exciting story about an item, but to me the best story is this: old jewelry is a lot like people in that it may be forgotten or covered up, but the beauty underneath can be re-discovered or re-invented. Your history is a part of you, but it isn’t your total identity; and you can become something or someone new. Maybe that’s too philosophical, but that’s the beauty of recycling to me.
SPECIAL DISCOUNT! THANK YOU FOR READING AND SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESS!
In celebration of Luke & Lyla being a VIP guest this Friday, Alison has a special 20% off discount for VIP readers! So, head on over to Luke & Lyla Designs NOW to shop AND don’t forget to apply the coupon code “VIP20” at checkout to receive 20% off!
SHOP HERE NOW!
P.S. The VIP’s mom is a huge fan girl of Luke & Lyla–not only because of the sparkly glam, but also because of the quality and creative design of each piece. My mom, being a maker of unique art pieces, really loves sporting the unique arm candy of Luke & Lyla. We both enjoy wearing our bracelets out and about because someone is always stopping us wanting to know where we got them. It is just something about the allure of the sparkle *wink*