Meet Laura Lay – interior designer, business owner and mama

by Verve

I come from a long line of enterprising immigrant folk who saw risk as a necessity of life. My parents were owner builders and business owners, so money was very fluid growing up. There were many means to many ends. Though it wasn’t until I met my husband that I began thinking of money beyond the immediate want or need. He taught me how to have a more well-rounded relationship with money, and to view money as a means to many beginnings, not ends. 

Now I am a qualified Interior Designer and have worked as a commercial and residential interior designer for some of Australia’s most well known and respected practices. At the beginning of 2020 I decided to resume freelance life after a year of parental leave. I had dabbled with freelance work previously, and felt that for me and my young family, working from home was where it was at. 

Tell us about your exciting new venture:

When the pandemic hit, I was approached by a few friends and colleagues in the industry looking for work. Many had been made redundant. Many had young families to support. And almost all of them were women. 

This led to the birth of She Drafts – an all female drafting agency, catering for architects and interior designers across Australia. We are women cultivating each other’s ability to achieve independence through our work, for a more equitable and prosperous world. We’re also really good at drafting.

She Drafts is the first agency of its kind, and we hope to provide a leading career alternative for women working in these fields. We are very new, and very fresh. But it is super thrilling and rewarding to be able to support women during this rather remarkable moment in time – giving them a sense of purpose and fulfilment, and ultimately improving their longevity within the industry. 

And why did you join Verve?

After the horror of the bushfire season earlier this year, I decided to withdraw my money from institutions that did not support green energy or prioritise ethical investments. I started to see investment as a political act, which could hopefully affect positive change. Enter Verve. 

The fact that Verve is woman centric is also a lovely added boon. I am always going to back companies that help women to feel purposeful and driven, while offering a more human experience compared to what is currently on offer. We share the same vision over at She Drafts, so it’s nice to know we’re not alone in trying to rework the proverbial wheel! 

Current money goals:

Embrace the rupture that COVID-19 has created and continue to ‘consciously uncouple’ from companies and institutions who do not align with my values. Money is a powerful tool that I intend to wield. There’s no going back. 

Fun fact: 

I ran a Tamagotchi babysitting service, aged eight. I even had business cards. Yep, my first biz. $2 an hour. Cash. Upfront. Ha! To say I was influenced by my hard-working, immigrant parents is an understatement.

How I define a wealthy life:

I feel like wealth has many dimensions to it – all equally important. And monetary wealth is important, but social wealth and a sense of connection are just as powerful. My mum would always tell me that money is just one thing. You can always make more, but you can’t take it with you after you die. Perhaps a little grim, but she has a point. 

Money can bring you a sense of financial stability. But to me, a ‘wealthy life’ means attaining what money can’t buy. It means cultivating virtues that help you live a more authentic life. 

Money beliefs I am trying to change:

That money is tricky and uncomfortable to master. Luckily we have some pretty amazing people and companies (like Verve) who are batting for us women, and who are wanting to help us achieve this. Anything is possible! 

My hope for women with Verve:

I feel that the more disempowered and disengaged we are when it comes to money, the more governable we become. That makes it easier to convince us that we don’t know what we’re doing or that we have to buy our way out of trouble. Together we can combat unchecked consumerism and what I can ‘head-in-sand-ism’ so we can wake up to our financial power as women.

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