Lindsay Forbes

Only Human: Meet Lindsay Forbes

Like most people running their own business, Lindsay’s path to entrepreneurship has been full of twists and turns. But in finding her direction, she also found her purpose. She tells us more…

I studied 3D design at university in Aberdeen and that’s where I fell in love with metal work.

The first time I sat down at a massive anvil to forge something and was surrounded by the burning torches I knew I’d found what I wanted to do. I created a metal spoon that day and it wasn’t long before I began creating jewellery. After graduating, I moved to the North East with my partner and continued my job in jewellery retail to learn as much as I could about the industry.

But my heart wasn’t in commercial jewellery.

I just couldn’t tell people that what they were buying was a unique piece when I knew there were thousands of others out there in the world. I decided to leave the role because it wasn’t going anywhere. If I’d stayed, I would have ended up in a managerial position but what I really wanted to do was create.

I’d begun volunteering at weekends at a community space and that’s where I got my first taste of teaching.

I got the opportunity to run some workshops and I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it. I loved the sense of purpose that came from sharing my passion with others and seeing the benefits that came from that. I managed to get a job working freelance as an arts provider but that funding fell through and I found myself looking for work again, ending up in a different industry altogether for around two years.

I took a job in repairs and restoration work for a big jewellery chain and hoped I’d learn lots but that wasn’t the right fit for me either.

The opportunities I was promised were not delivered and it really started to affect my mood. It was very target orientated and I felt the values I held dearly weren’t matched by the values of the company. People were bringing in sentimental pieces for repair – items that were really special to them – but I wasn’t able to give the work the time such a precious piece deserved.

I started to wonder where my future was heading.

So, in 2018 I decided to leave my job and work set up my own business. I’d always wanted to do this but it’s not the sort of thing they teach you at university! I didn’t know where to start. I signed up to numerous courses but didn’t find anything that was really geared up for a sole trader and I became quite overwhelmed by it all.

Eventually I realised my perfectionist tendencies were holding me back. There would never be a perfect moment to do it and I should just go for it!

So, I did. In 2019 I launched, Laconic Jewellery, and hoped for the best! The brand is all about responsibly made jewellery with a story to tell. Alongside creating my own pieces, I offered workshops to share my skills with others. Then Covid hit! Thankfully, I’d joined a course for jewellers in Glasgow and this community kept me going through the early days.

I didn’t realise the social value I was creating with my workshops until someone at one of my venues pointed it out.

My fun and interactive sessions were enriching lives by improving mental health and well-being. Friendships were being created, communities strengthened and moods boosted by crafting. One group of women who I taught years ago still get together regularly to make jewellery. To know that they bonded and created friendships because of my work is truly wonderful. A number of students have also gone on to create their own side hustles and sell their work at markets.

It became clear that there was an opportunity to split my work into two parts so I could focus on each element separately.

I created a new brand, Bench Box, as a focus for my community workshops and I’m working with the BIC to explore setting up as a social enterprise to reflect what we do. And Laconic Jewellery has now moved more into the bridal market with special pieces that are part of life celebrations. If you’d told me a few years ago that I’d be running two successful businesses I would never have believed it!

The twists and turns of my career have taught me so much along the way. It’s been a huge learning curve, both professionally and personally.

By trying out things that didn’t fit, I’ve worked out my real direction in life and learned to understand myself. Jewellery is very much a luxury product so it’s important to me to be able to bring a sense of purpose and meaning to my work. That’s what really drives me.

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