Lauren Judith-Anne Designs
Hooray, it’s Friday, which means it is time to introduce you to another one of our amazing directory members,
Lauren from Lauren Judith-Anne Designs.
Lauren is based in KZN and loves nothing more than unwinding in her garden or with a good G&T – definitely my type of girl!
Lauren shares a bit more with us today, including some amazing tips for future brides!
Take it away, Lauren!
Hi There! My name is Lauren and I am the owner and designer at Lauren Judith-Anne. I specialise in custom made bridal wear.
Hooray: Tell us a bit more about yourself
Lauren: I am a family-orientated introvert, generally spending more time surrounded by my pooches than I do humans (and there absolutely are no regrets!). I LOVE my home and garden and I am a proud collector of 22 different species of protea in my own backyard. I am also a true-crime enthusiast and a sucker for a decent G+T.
Hooray: How did you get into the wedding industry?
Lauren: My sewing journey started at 15 years old. I spent MANY years making dance costumes for all of my shows and I totally fell in love with the art of spending time by myself creating something beautiful. After finishing my degree in fashion and textiles at the Durban University of Technology it was an easy decision as to whether I wanted to join the corporate industry or work for myself. My love for sewing and intricate detailing lead me directly towards bridal wear.
Hooray: What inspires you?
Lauren: I have to say when it comes to inspiration, for me, it almost always starts at the fabric store. I am totally obsessed with textures, colours and embellishments! When I browse the shelves imagining what design would best show off the beauty of each fabric, that’s when I feel truly inspired.
Hooray: Running your own business can be hard, do you have a daily routine?
Lauren: I was raised in a military household where routine and timing has been ingrained in me. I thrive on routine and that is something that has been the most difficult when running my own business. There is far more flexibility than I ever felt was possible and every day is filled with completely different tasks.
Hooray: Tell us about your ideal wedding client.
Lauren: My ideal client is someone that has placed a high emotional value on the garment that we are creating. I just LOVE a bride that is super enthusiastic about their wedding and is soaking in the whole experience. They value the work that is involved in the creation process and their fabulous frock is absolutely worth it!
Hooray: What do you love most about your job?
Lauren: What I love most about my job is the fact that I never create more than one of the same garment. Every single dress has its own personality and challenges, and I LOVE getting to know the bride that I am making it for.
Hooray: Can you describe your style?
Lauren: I would say that my style is very versatile. I love intricate lacework as well as a fabulous sleek number. My aim is never to push a specific style onto any bride and I thrive knowing that their gown radiates their own personality.
Hooray: If there was one thing you could change about the wedding industry, what would it be and why?
Lauren: I would change up the wedding culture itself rather than the industry. I love to see couples getting creative and tossing away traditions that aren’t their vibe. I would like everyone to do only what excites them when it comes to their big day instead of copying and pasting what you see at every wedding.
Hooray: The mistake you made that has taught you the most valuable lesson?
Lauren: The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt over the years was to stop undervaluing my work. I spent many years trying to book as many brides as possible no matter what their budgets were, just to be busy. Once I learnt how long I was working on each gown and how little I was actually earning, I was frightened. When you put the correct value on your time you actually enjoy the process even more because you feel worthy.
Hooray: If you had to get married (again) what would be the ONE non-negotiable?
Lauren: I have only just gotten married within the last few months so I will give you 3 of my own wedding non-negotiables (sorry in advance for the following podcast):
- Hire the damned WEDDING PLANNER! She is worth more than her weight in gold! Even more so in pandemic times. I loved my planner so much that had she been at the end of the aisle on the day, I may have considered marrying her myself!
- Book your favourite MEMORY MAKERS! Your day literally flies by and there is just so much to absorb. You will want to have everything captured in photos and on video to relive those moments. I think I have already watched our wedding trailer at least 400 times.
- Put your EXPERIENCE first. You only get married once. With our wedding, I really forced myself to live a little and enjoy the whole process. It may seem like a lot for a “single day” but the little splurges that I made along the way lengthened my whole wedding experience.
Hooray: Where do you see yourself and your company this time next year?
Lauren: My main goal every year is just to grow even more than the year before. Growth in brides and in mental health. After the last two years with the whole pandemic, I would really like to just feel back to normal with less emotional up and down moments. I really just want ALL of my brides to get down the aisle already <3
Hooray: If you could be anything else in the wedding industry, what would you be and why?
Lauren: Hmmmmm, I would say that if I had to try out another wedding avenue I would maybe say I’d look into the wedding stationery route. I could still use my crafting, creative side as well as getting my job done before the craziness begins on the day.
Hooray: Tell us about your most embarrassing moment on the job.
Lauren: I can’t recall my own personal embarrassing moments. I have had some fantastically dramatic and entertaining moments with some of my brides along the way. Over the years I have changed car tyres, jump-started car batteries, blow-dried a Toy Pom that slipped into the pool and even caught a bride mid feint (you ladies ALL know who you are!). When you work in solitude most days, these moments are your entertainment and giggles and I absolutely thrive off of them!
Hooray: Do you have any friends in the industry? Tell us who and how they impact you in this beautiful business.
Lauren: I have made some fabulous friends in various fields of the wedding industry over the last few years. From wedding planners to photographers to make up artists, it’s always great to be surrounded by people that can relate to the work that you do. I am forever inspired by the work that they produce and I get so super excited when I am able to be involved with any of their photoshoots or brides.
Hooray: 2020 was a hard year for all, what do you think the wedding industry can learn from this?
Lauren: 2020 was just the absolute pits for the entire industry. We all thrive during wedding season but when it all comes crashing down around you, it’s very hard to focus on the bright side. Looking back on the year I would say that a few lessons that I learnt from this unprecedented time were to really just roll with the punches more and be more flexible with constantly shifting deadlines and emotions at an all-time high (this is definitely not as easy though for most vendors that work on the actual wedding day as it very often conflicts with future bookings).
I LOVE the smaller more intimate wedding trend that came out of the pandemic- we ourselves cut our wedding from 120 people down to 50 and it was honestly the best thing we could have done, we were actually able to spend time with all of our favourite people and I could focus more on the experience of each guest!
Another interesting angle that I would point out (with actually being a bride during the pandemic) would be to make wedding decisions based on details that you actually LOVE and are not just on-trend for one certain season, some summer weddings became winter weddings vice versa but as long as you personally love your design choices, they will not go out of style in your eyes regardless of whether you tie the knot in 2020 or 2022.
Hooray: If you could go back in time to when you first started out in the wedding industry, and tell yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Lauren: Ahhhh this one is an easy piece of advice for myself and my journey in the industry. Steer away from comparison (as impossible as this can be). What started out as inspiration for me slowly spiralled over the years into the terrible habit of always judging my success based on where other people are in their journey. Unfollow the pages that cause anxiety or self-doubt, it doesn’t mean that you don’t like them or that you don’t care for their work, it just means that for that moment you need to just focus on your own path without creating your own negative thoughts.
Hooray: What is your favourite way to unwind after a wedding?
Lauren: For me, my work is generally done a few weeks before the big day but my favourite way to unwind after a big deadline like a dress collection is to spend some time in my garden (whether that is with a BIG gin in hand or a set of garden snippers). I also love to celebrate the end of every week by nestling into the couch with a bar of chocolate and a Friday night movie.
Hooray: Tell us about the last time you were really, really proud of yourself or the job you completed.
Lauren: After spending hundreds of hours working on each of my dresses, I definitely feel proud whenever I see my brides all kitted out on their wedding day (whether it is in person or in photos). My chest feathers puff with pride, even more, when I have created a gown for a close friend and I am at the wedding to watch them make their big appearance at the alter!
Hooray: Lastly, what is your favourite part of your work process?
Lauren: My favourite part of my own work process with the bride has to be the day that we select fabrics together. We go backwards and forwards about the design up until then but it is very often the moment that we have our fabrics in hand that they can start to visualise what their gown is actually going to look like.
If I had to choose a moment within the actual wedding day I would say it has to be the moment the bride arrives at the altar (even more so when I have made the dress). I love that momentary decision as to whether I should focus on the groom’s reaction, the crowd’s reaction or the beautiful bride.
Lauren, thank you so much for sharing more of a behind-the-scenes look into your life with us today!
If you would like to get in touch with Lauren,