As for many, lockdown was a difficult time for Laura Jane Boast, designer and founder of Conscious Made – previously known as LJB Studio. After spending years developing her own business, and tweaking how she presented it to prospective clients, quarantine hit and Boast found herself with plenty of time to rethink things.
“When lockdown happened, I almost felt like I was left with a person and version of myself I didn’t really recognise,” she says. “It was really difficult to comprehend that. I felt like I’d almost failed. I’d been having this success, the work was working for me, yet I still didn’t feel that sense of connection with the brand.”
Boast had always had a focus on design’s relationship with sustainability, studying it for her masters, and taking a first job with a company in Wales that emphasised its ethical values. After five years there, she relocated to Manchester and set up LJB Studio. In the early days, says Boast, she worked with brands that “weren’t necessarily the perfect match” – which is probably familiar to anyone that’s just started a studio or gone freelance.