Lauren Russell is on a Mission
The Lyon Fine Jewelry Owner and out lesbian makes it her mission to help others.
Lauren Russell, the genius behind Lyon Fine Jewelry, where high fashion meets modern industrial designs, launched her collection and Equality Bracelets this past February. The four Equality Bracelets represent four cities that hold importance to the gay community: Stonewall, Castro, WeHo and Vere and a percentage of the profit is being donated to Friendfactor, an organization that rallies together straight allies to help fight for LGBT rights. Friendfactor isn't the only cause benefiting from Russell's compassion and advocacy; she also has bracelets supporting Rock the Vote, Adaptive Action Sports and Fight for Equality, organizations that help empower youth to vote, that enable people with permanent physical disabilities to participate in action sports and that promote marriage equality. You can find out what inspired Russell's collection and her involvement with Friendfactor in the April issue of Curve (on stands now).
What's the backstory behind the creation of Lyon Fine Jewelry?
It all started about a year ago. I started drawing my designs on the side. I was working for another jewelry company in New York. So I started drawing it and I had a production team here in LA that I was loosely communicating with, sending them my sketches. Then one thing lead to another and I started realizing that I actually do this pretty well. So I decided to really go forward and I started producing some pieces.
Is it crazy to think about how much you have accomplished in one year?
It is insane, yeah. It was literally a little over a year, last November, where I was sitting on the couch with my girlfriend and she was like, 'You should really do this.' I kind of needed her permission. I needed someone's permission to kind of jump and do it.
We can find your jewelry online and soon in Kiki de Montparnasse. Tell us more about Kiki de Montparnasse.
It's an amazing amazing Boutique. It's literally my favorite. They're on Melrose and they're also in New York City and they have one in Vegas I believe. If you haven't been, you've gotta go in there. It's a one of a kind store. They have lingerie, really high end and they have jewelry and they have amazing gold plated sex toys. It's just really fantastic. You just have to see it in person. They have art on the walls and books and stuff like that. I was excited to get in there. And actually there's a store opening in Beverly Hills called Mouche Gallery. They're taking my line as well. They have one boutique in Hawaii that does really well. They're going to bring me in and if it does well, I'm going to do a collaboration with them and put a little spin on my stuff for them. So I'll have my hands full [Laughs].
PHOTO CREDIT: AMY MALIN
You've been making a point to support a lot of organizations through your business. Have you thought of organizations you'll want to give to in the future?
I want to do one for bullying. I'm thinking about something with that. I'm really really obsessed with animals. It would have to be something that — there's so many different animal organizations and different species that I care about, honestly. So that's going to be a hard decision to make. It might have to be 10 different ones for me.
How did Adaptive Action Sports inspire the Limitless bracelet?
I don't know if you read up on that cause, but it's pretty cool. That lady that started that organization, she lost both of her legs … And she's an amazing girl, beautiful and tall. And she decided to start this organization and basically teach these disabled people, these amazing extreme sports. People that really never thought they'd do much of anything anymore and are now water skiing, skiing and doing all of this crazy stuff, skate boarding. The idea is life is limitless and you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
What motivates you to support organizations through your bracelets?
I really wanted to get involved in a charitable way, bringing an aspect to my company that I think most people should do. Giving back and having the charity aspect is probably the most rewarding thing for me. And I'm going to keep going. I'm going to keep doing more bracelets. I'll make 100 different bracelets if I have to for all these different causes. Because I do believe in – I don't know, there are so many different things that I would love to give to. That's what we're here for, to give back. Honestly, it completes my day. If I send that check to make that donation, it's really the most rewarding feeling. It comes from this place that's not just about me and the business and money or anything like that. It never has been. It's more about making my passion come true and trying to bring it out into the world and help others with it. (lyonfinejewelry.com)