Austin Woman Magazine
What an honor to be featured in ATX Woman Magazine's "See Her Work"
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See Her Work: Laura Elizabeth — Reconnecting with Nature
By Monica Godinez, Photos by Susan Potter and Robyn Shinn
Laura Elizabeth Stuart embarked on her jewelry-making career during her time at graduate school. “I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. “I always had the girlboss attitude. From a young age, I found myself wearing many hats.”
In her neighborhood she was known as “a jack of all trades.” From reselling Reese’s and Fireball snacks to locals in her North Austin neighborhood to being a gymnastics instructor for young girls in her community.
It all began with the 5-year-old Stuart was nannying at the time. “The young girl was interested in creating jewelry,” she reveals. “One day I accompanied her to a wire-wrapping class in Santa Monica, and the rest was history. I fell in love.” This seemingly casual night sparked Stuart’s lifelong interest.
“Soon after my craft flourished,” she continues. “Within a year, I met Nicole, who works in the sustainability world. She asked if I had ever thought of making my jewelry sustainably. I was immediately convinced. So I asked her how I could do that.”
Laura Elizabeth & Nature
This set the tone in influencing the work she sought to create. Pieces that are created ethically and as environmentally conscientious as possible.
Laura Elizabeth prides herself on the environmental significance her company has. Since the start of her business venture, she has made it a priority to focus on creating products that are ethically made, naturally sourced and durable. This stance became increasingly significant to her once her niece Lucy was born. “Holding my niece for the first time, all I could think about was how I wanted to protect her in any way I possibly could,” Stuart says.
At the root of her deep connection with nature is her understanding of how the world around her functions and keeps her alive. “I am able to breathe the air around me and drink clean water here in the U.S., and I want that for myself, for my future niece, for all the children around the world,” Stuart continues. “This all begins with my part in maintaining and protecting the [earth]we live on.” Her niece reminded her that even as one person Stuart could play a role in the maintenance of the world around us. This is apparent in the varying natural resources she uses as molds for her products. “I use nature as inspiration for my pieces,” she discloses. Her designs are inspired by tree bark and leaves she has found while out in nature.
Beauty, Strength, Perseverance & Knowledge
Alongside the environmental influences there is an abundant number of women in Stuart’s life who inspire her work. “My mother, Claire, constantly inspires me,” she reveals. “One of my first pieces was named after her. She raised me to stand up for myself, to care for and love each other and to always lean into my creativity. Each piece is named after someone who inspires me,” she continues. “I do [this]because I see these women doing amazing things and I want them to know that I [recognize]it and acknowledge their work.” The dedications are a way of remaining connected to her sustainable practice and each of her products. Her jewelry serves as a daily visual of “the beauty, strength, perseverance and knowledge that is in all of you.”
As many have said before, success doesn’t come overnight. It stems from dedication, failures and persistence. “There is a lot I wish people [had]told me,” Stuart admits. “I wish someone had told me it would take this long. I have put in all of myself. This business is my baby. I have loved, cried and worked for this [business]. It has taken me this long to get to xyz; however, that is not what this journey is about,” she insists. “The journey is about growth and the lessons you learn along the way. Remember that while your eye is on the prize, the journey to that prize is most important.
“Not that I would have listened,” she jokes. Laura Stuart is proud of her company and all that it encompasses. “I want people to remember to always [cherish], value and acknowledge everything that got you to where you are,” she says. “Your business, creations and brand will always be a reflection of who you are and what you stand for.”