One of my favourite entrepreneurs in Southsea is Lou Lea. The reason why I love her is because she is always looking at ways to improve her skills, and build on her independent empire. In lockdown, Lou took the opportunity to create 2 sideline businesses that helped her to get through such a difficult time where like the rest of us, she couldn’t go outside. Developing her brands over the last 3 years, it has been cool to see her journey and watch her confidence grow. The independent fireblazer has developed a new idea of running a new brand that focuses on sustainable and recycled materials.
The Offcut Project is a new product line from the owner who also owns The Mildred Trouble Shop (but you might also know her from Tabby Firefly and Southsea Wanderer). The brand will offer statement jewellery and accessories from waste plastic, industrial offcuts, pre-loved textiles and recycled precious metals.
Lou has been making jewellery for the last three years and sells her wares regularly at Love Southsea on Palmerston Road, at Dress Code, The Package Free Larder and Portsmouth Cathedral. You can also find some of her creations on Etsy, if the one-off pieces make it that far!
Collecting bags of material scraps, old jewellery and plastic offcuts, Lou loves that these things are just waiting to be transformed into something new. She’s taken courses in textile jewellery, plastic smithing and working with silver clay. Her goal is to use zero virgin materials in her products.
I caught up with Lou to find out why she is taking this journey.
Hi Lou thanks for the interview….
What are you fundraising for?
“I’m raising money for a workshop with two jeweller workbenches, storage space and new racking systems for market selling. I felt it important to welcome other budding makers to learn new skills and create sustainable crafts, as I know so many people start at their kitchen tables like me. I will also use some of the funds to launch my own website – which I’ll build myself.”
Why are you taking your business in this direction?
“I am passionate about protecting our planet and wanted to find a way of reusing waste that’s discarded by people every day. I see it on our beaches, on the Common and in the street and since upskilling I now look at waste in a totally different way. Like they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”
“I want to create some really special and unique pieces that people can cherish. I’m inspired by this amazing creative community in Southsea daily but really concerned about the amount of waste that we create as a society.”
Haven’t you got your fingers in enough pies?
“You’re right, I do! I work full time in marketing and I have 3 “side hustles” – blogging, making jewellery and also an online clothing business. I LOVE learning new things and am improving myself all the time. I’m just not very good at sitting still and I find a full life is actually really good for my mental health.”
If you would like to support Lou and her ideas which I think personally are just fab and very forward-thinking, then please support the project below. Just a very small amount from everyone can and will make this project happen.