Name: Lauren Bedford Russell
What is your job? I am the Founder and Designer of Lyon Fine Jewelry.
I utilize a combination of precious metals and flawless gemstones to create distinctive black jewelry pieces for all genders. These signature bold designs are paired with gorgeous and conflict free black diamonds, black jade and black rhodium-plated silver and gold to achieve a unique, elegant and urban collection. I find inspiration for my avant-garde signature jewelry designs in a variety of familiar things, from a vintage leather jacket to memories of my travels around the world.
As a business owner, my responsibility is to ensure quality pieces that will last a lifetime and provide an outstanding customer experience. As a designer, my goals are to create edgy and expressive jewelry for all genders while at the same time designing pieces in my collection that help to give back and make the world a better place. My collections feature: rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, cufflinks and custom cocktail and engagement rings. I work closely with each client to create unique, one of kind pieces that reflect their individual style.
What social causes are most important to you?
I am involved with many charities, but as a lesbian, the closest cause to my heart is the fight for equal rights. Most people don’t realize that if you’re gay, you can be evicted from your rental apartment/home or fired from your job in 29 states in this country because of your sexual preference. The LGBT community also doesn’t have the right to marry and start a family in most states in the U.S. Throughout our nation’s history, major social change has come about by people taking a stand and fighting for what is right. I plan on being on the frontlines in the fight for LGBT equal rights.
I'm also a big animal lover and have rescued my dogs because so many animals are in need of a good home. I plan on creating a charity bracelet campaign to help a non-profit that protects animals.
What charity/ies do you support – and how?
I contribute 20% of profits from my "Equality Bracelets" to FriendFactor.
FriendFactor strives to accelerate change by making it easy to stand up for LGBT friends. LGBT friends matter more than LGBT issues for most people, but many friends don’t know what’s at stake or how to help, and most LGBT Americans don’t know how to ask. Friendfactor seeks to fill that gap and shift the LGBT rights dialogue away from ideology and toward a more personal and inclusive concept: friends helping friends. I’m so excited about our Equality Bracelet campaign, as in the last few weeks we have received an amazing response from actors and musicians, both straight and gay, who are going to start utilizing their star power to shine a spotlight on the very timely and important issue of equal rights.
I’m also going to be launching charity bracelet campaigns before the end of the year for two other great causes. Adaptive Action Sports, is an incredible non-profit started by gold medalist world cup athlete Amy Purdy who lost both of her legs to bacterial meningitis at the age of 19 and who has gone on to do amazing things with her life in the last decade. Amy’s organization’s motto is “Live Beyond Limits” and she is so inspirational. Adaptive Action Sports gives children and adults with permanent physical disabilities the opportunity to learn and participate in action sports.
Free The Slaves, is the world’s premier anti-slavery organization. Their mission is to end slavery worldwide, which most people don’t even realize still exists today. The work their organization does on the ground around the world is nothing short of amazing. Former slaves that are now free, stand united alongside Free The Slaves to pay it forward and help free others.
Do you have a passion for this one in particular, is there a personal tie?
My publicist, Amy Malin of Trueheart Events, introduced me to the great work that Friend Factor is doing, and I love their mission and what they have accomplished so far. Friendfactor was instrumental in helping the LGBT community win the right to marry in New York by harnessing the power of social media. Almost everyone uses Facebook and Twitter, and so to actually use the technology and socially networking tools to affect change is a really powerful opportunity we have to make the dream of equality for all a reality.
Is there a particular way you would want to encourage readers to be involved?
It makes you feel very good to give back and be involved with a cause close to your heart. You can join the fight for equal rights by purchasing an Equality Bracelet and by doing so, you’ll be making a fashionable statement that you care. When people ask you about the Equality Bracelet, you will have an open door to help educate them about the unfair inequalities that exist in our society and what you’re doing to help Friendfactor and the Equal Rights movement. I have found that when most people learn about how their gay family members and friends are being discriminated against, they will get involved and support the Equal Rights movement. Unfortunately, ignorance is a major contributing factor to how our society perpetuates the prejudice, but fortunately, we can combat ignorance with truth, love and understanding and open people’s eyes to what is going on around them.
We’re starting a virtual photo petition on our site where everyone can share a picture of themselves rocking the Equality Bracelet, so we can show government on the state and federal level, that people really do care and are willing to speak up for what is right. Please send us your picture in your Equality Bracelet and join the movement.
How would you define social responsibility?
I think we all have a duty on this earth to give our time and resources to help others and causes that we are passionate about. If you don't try to make a difference, it's really an empty life.
Do you have any tattoos that relate to your social beliefs?
I have a large solid Labrys (double-sided axe) on my side (ribs), which is a lesbian symbol and a sign of strength. I've had it filled in twice, and was by far my most painful tattoo.
Quick list of tattoos artists:
In NYC, Thomas Hooper did part of my forearm sleeve and Brad Stevens did the amazing bird in the center of it. Stephanie Tamez and her girlfriend Virginia Elwood are great too, Virginia did my latin quote that goes perfectly straight all the way down my arm.