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Behind Variorum

For many brands, the consumer never hears a name or sees a face behind the designs and artwork on the products. I wanted to make sure that my customers know exactly who I am, can see the real person behind the name and can also relate to myself and my experiences to create a much more inclusive and friendly space!

So, without further ado...

Helen Laurenson, designer at Variorum, Shetland

My name is Helen and I was born in 1995 in Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. I grew up with my two younger sisters, my mum and my dad. My sisters and I are extremely close despite now living in different parts of Scotland and going into completely different fields of work/study. We are like best friends and I am so grateful for that. I am also best friends with my mum. She regularly visits me now that I am in the Scottish Borders and I treasure the laughs and moments we have. I get my ambitious side from my dad, though. He owns/part owns three businesses in Lerwick as well as looking after our stud of Shetland ponies. He's always got stuff to do and he is forever taking on more which is extremely similar to my mentality. I am constantly thinking up new ideas, new projects, and I always aspired to have a business of my own one day.

Shetland pony Nike Brygarth Stud Variorum

Growing up, I didn't enjoy school. I didn't struggle with the work or anything, I was in the top classes, getting high grades, but I was bullied there on and off for over 10 years, so I'm glad that home was a safe spot for me. My family owns roughly 40 Shetland ponies which were definitely, and still are, a retreat for me. It's like having 40 pet dogs that you don't have to clean up after! It meant I was getting some fresh air, some exercise, and being amongst those lovable balls of fluff. It's extremely rewarding and definitely does good for the mental health.

Heriot Watt University Design for Textiles Work space

I took Shetland for granted a bit, but I knew I wanted to experience living off of the islands and I wanted to study at university. I started saving up before I was even able to get a job but, even with my good grades, I struggled to get into university. I was rejected 14 times in total and it took my college lecturer at the time to send a plea to a university to take me. I knew I was good enough, which is why I never gave up and pretty much demanded a place. So, after three years of college and four years of university I finally graduated with a first class honours degree and the award for the highest achieving graduate of the year. I definitely proved myself!

After graduating, I got engaged to my partner of six years. We've been living together for five of those years and we support each other through every moment, good or bad. We're extremely similar yet have different interests too which I think is the perfect combination.

He's definitely brought my nerdy side back out as we love playing video games. I'm also a fan of crocheting, puzzles and, of course, tv and films. I am definitely either a huge nerd or prepping for retirement already!

Also after graduating, we moved into a larger house with a room specifically for my design work. So that is where Variorum works out of! I'm just so glad to have a separate space to work from and have room to be as creative as I want to be. It is allowing me to push myself with new ideas and build this business.

Hopefully Variorum will grow out of that space too!

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