High Tide Designs is a local Charleston company filled with joyful pieces to place around your home, as a gift or even wear!
Lauren Menk, the founder and owner of the company designs every piece by hand and also collects all the shells used.
There is a clear local connection to Lauren and her brand as she uses REAL locally sourced oyster shells.
She mixes her beads and shells to create this classic beachy twist of pieces that you can wear running from meeting to meeting then to happy hour on King St.
Her price points are perfect for young professionals or for those grandmothers buying their granddaughter a gift.
She also knows her target market: locals and tourists alike.
(Lauren can also create the oyster shell map displays in various maps from other cities. For a custom order, click here.)
I interviewed Lauren Menk to get inside her creative mind and to learn more about the driving force of the company. See below for the full interview.
1) Tell us about yourself.
Hey y’all! I’m Lauren – owner and designer of High Tide Designs. Originally from Augusta, GA, my husband and I moved to Charleston two years ago to get a taste of Lowcountry living.
I love any activity that involves water – kayaking, waterskiing and fishing being my favorites. I’m an avid traveler, dog mom, Vitamin D addict, and lover of all things sweet.
2) Tell us about High Tide Designs.
What started as a creative outlet for me to hand-make gifts for my bridesmaids, family and friends has turned into a budding small business.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would one day start my own design company, but with the encouragement and support from loved ones I took a leap of faith to start this new venture and I couldn’t be happier!
I officially began High Tide Designs in January of this year and have been overwhelmed with the positive response from friends and strangers alike.
A newcomer to Charleston, I find myself constantly inspired by the beauty of my Lowcountry surroundings and am eager to express that in a variety of mediums to share with y’all!
3) What made you decide to quit your job and start this company?
After three years in the corporate publishing world, I began to realize that the traditional 9 -5 lifestyle was not for me. Instead of conforming to “office standards,” I wanted to nurture my creativity & ability to think outside of the box.
After a particularly awful day at the office, I decided that I had had enough; it was time for me to put aside my doubts and pursue my dreams of designing and creating.
4) What ways do you market High Tide Designs? Do you use social media solely or do you have other venues you use?
Digital marketing through a variety of platforms has proven to be very effective for me, but I’ve also found that good old fashioned “word of mouth” advertising from customers, friends, and family has been an amazing resource for growth and new business.
5) Where can we find your jewelry at? What stores in Charleston, elsewhere?
So far, I have mostly sold my products through Etsy and Instagram, but I’ve recently started doing pop-ups around Charleston and have really enjoyed being out in the community meeting new people. I also have some shows and craft fairs lined up later in the year that I’m very excited about!
6) What inspires you to design and create?
I find the most inspiration from simply experiencing the beauty of Charleston and the Lowcountry. The history and architecture of this area, along with the friendly and intriguing folks here, have stirred a kind of creativity in me that I did not know I had.
I consider myself exceptionally lucky to call Charleston my new home.
7) I have a background in fashion and get the process of design. However, what is the process of jewelry making? What steps or no steps go into it?
For me, there is not really a strict process I follow when creating my jewelry or other home décor products – it’s more about utilizing what I have in front of me.
I spend a lot of time in nature, combing the surrounding beaches for shells to use and simply taking in the Charleston environment – this is a key part of the inspiration that influences my process in creating HTD’s products.
8) Where do you see your brand going in 3-5 years?
In 3 – 5 years, I hope to expand and grow HTD into different markets outside of Charleston, maybe even have a brick and mortar store one day!
9) How do you stay up to date with what is trending in fashion to keep your jewelry trendy?
I’m definitely aware of trends, but I’ve never been a “follower” – I like to stand out from the crowd and be unique, creating my own style from different aspects of trending fashion.
10) Do you follow trends or make your own?
Make my own!
11) What platform for social media do you think is the best one for creatives like yourself?
Without a doubt, I would have to say Instagram. It’s been such a great tool for me to express my creativity as well as for people to discover my brand.
12) What’s your favorite spot in Charleston to watch a sunset?
That’s a tough one – there are so many great spots to catch a sunset here! I’d have to say the Charleston City Marina/Lockwood or the beach at Ft. Moultrie.
13) What’s your favorite spot in Charleston to eat dinner at?
Another difficult one to answer with all the phenomenal restaurants in Charleston! My top three would be The Obstinate Daughter, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, and D’Allesandro’s Pizza.
14) What are your goals for the business going into 2018?
Continue to refine my personal design and style Collaborate with other local businesses/vendors Grow/Expand into other markets outside of Charleston!
15) Any pop ups or events coming up?
My next pop-up will be at Cannonborough Collective on August 5th from 11am – 2pm; I’ll also have a booth at the Southern Women’s Show Charleston, Sept 22nd – 24th.
As well as the Charleston Makers’ Fall Market on October 22nd from 10am – 3pm. I’d love for you to stop by, say hello and check out my designs in person!