Lauren Mathieson is the 22-year-old creator of Oh My Gum Designs.
She runs her one-woman business at the same time as working full-time in digital marketing and studying a Masters degree.
Her love for quirky earrings and the native Australian flora and fauna inspired her to create her own jewellery label. She has quickly caught the eye of incredible women like Em Rusciano and Mia Freedman, who have fallen in love with her bold and quirky styles.
We wanted to know more about Oh My Gum, about Lauren, and how exactly she is managing it all. Because, we are still in awe of her.
Read her interview with Mamamia below.
What is Oh My Gum Designs?
Oh My Gum Designs is a one-woman jewellery label that was born from a love for earrings and the desperate longing for a creative outlet. I draw inspiration from native flora and fauna and translate natural forms into adorable, bold and wearable art.
My design aesthetic is in many ways reminiscent of the Australiana obsession in the late 20th century and I’m definitely inspired by Ken Done, Reg Mombassa and Linda Jackson.
Lauren Mathieson. Image: supplied.
My vision for the label is to help people fall in love with their own backyard and to celebrate Aussie pride in a wholesome, fun and inclusive way.
I am also very conscious of the threats that many of our native species face, which is why I donate $1 from every purchase to Bush Heritage Australia, an amazing conservation and wildlife protection group.
What were you doing before you went into business for yourself?
When I first started Oh My Gum Designs, I was studying a Masters degree full-time, working part-time in retail and interning for an agency here in Sydney. Fast forward six months and I'm still studying, but now part-time, and I work full-time for that same agency as a digital marketing coordinator.
What made you want to start your own business?
Being only 23, having the confidence to start my own small business was fuelled by seeing other hard-working entrepreneurial ladies killing it in creative industry.
How did you come up with the name?
I wanted a name that sounded playful, cheeky and fun. The first pair of earrings I ever designed were a pair of blue gums, so I thought it was fitting to have 'gum' in the title. It honestly just came to me in the shower one day.
Describe the staff/ownership structure of Oh My Gum Designs.
It's a one woman show! I create and manage everything from the branding to the website, product design and social media.
Did you require investment to start your business?
The benefit of having an online only business was that I was able to start relatively small and scale-up as demand and sales grew. So far, only my personal income has been invested into Oh My Gum Designs and a lot of what I make actually goes back into the business.
What's the one bit of advice you would give yourself if you were starting again?
Properly keep track of your finances. For a long time I didn't keep receipts or even know how business taxes worked. I would tell myself to get on top of it all from the start.
At Mamamia we have an expression "flearning" - failing and learning. What have been your biggest flearnings since you have started your business?
I think my biggest flearning I've had is figuring out what designs work and what don't. Jewellery is so personal and at times it's been hard to put my own personal taste aside when creating new products. For example, I personally LOVE huge, over-sized earrings, however, I quickly found that bigger wasn't always better when it came to my customers. I've since tried to have more of a balance between statement and smaller dangles and I've also got some new stud designs on their way for those who like a more subtle look.
Scroll through to see some of our favourite products that Lauren has created. Images via Instagram. (Post continues after gallery.)
What's the smartest thing you've done since starting your business?
The smartest thing I've done would be having a really clear vision for the brand from the beginning. I also have quite a unique product. I think it provided a really strong foundation for everything that has come since starting Oh My Gum Designs.
Are there any pieces of technology or software, apps or systems that have made it easier to do what you do?
UnUm: is an amazing and free visual planner for Instagram.
VSCO: for editing my photos.
Shopify: where I created my online store.
Mailchimp: great for sending emails and newsletters to your customers.
Podcasts: for when I'm getting ready, on the train, and even in the shower. I'm really into ABC's Ladies, We Need to Talk.
How many hours a day do you work on your business? Has this changed?
Aside from being connected to emails and social media 24/7, I work on the business for at least a few hours every night after coming home from my day job. I also spend time on the weekends making and packing orders, doing photo shoots and designing new products.
Listen: Margot Robbie is our favourite Lady StartUp right now. (Post continues after audio.)
What are your non-negotiables?
I'm not a big gym person, but my non-negotiables are definitely eating well, sleeping well and attempting to maintain some sort of work-life balance. For me, this involves home cooking and baking, turning my phone on silent and getting out into nature whenever I can.
Since I was a child, I've always used art as an emotional outlet, so actually making the jewellery is very soothing for me and a great way to wind down after a stressful day. I also love to travel. In fact, I recently just got back from a two-week solo trip around Japan! It was an incredible experience and I was definitely inspired by their crazy fashion scene and love for quirky accessories.
What's the biggest misconception you had about starting Oh My Gum Designs?
That it would just be a hobby!
Tell us about your proudest moment.
That's a tough one. When Em Rusciano and Mia Freedman both posted on Instagram wearing my earrings! That was incredible.There was such an incredible response from their followers and it was so surreal seeing something you made on two such incredible ladies.
However, the number one moment would have to be when the Fashion Journal published an article about Oh My Gum Designs and declared my earrings worthy of Kath Day-Knight.
Kath Day-Knight from Kath & Kim. Image via Instagram.
What can you recommend to women who might want to get their own hustle going?
Be confident in yourself and your dream!
Being so young, everyone has an opinion on what you should do and what your business should be. This can make it easy to lose focus.
For me, so many people were sceptical about limiting the range to only Australian designs. But I think that is what makes my brand so unique. You really need to offer something new and exciting in order to stand out.
Since we're in the #LadyStartUp spirit, which Lady Start Ups do you recommend?
I'm so passionate about supporting small business and buy local. It's really great how supportive everybody in this community of makers are of each other - it's an awesome example of women helping other women.