LanaBetty: Leaving the Corporate Life

Photos of Lana Lepper by Jeanie Ow of  Stu-di-o by Jeanie . "I didn't know a photograph could make me feel so happy or beautiful until I saw her work," says Lana.

Photos of Lana Lepper by Jeanie Ow of Stu-di-o by Jeanie.
"I didn't know a photograph could make me feel so happy or beautiful until I saw her work," says Lana.

Lana Lepper designs and makes contemporary geometry-inspired jewellery. “I love my craft fiercely and passionately,” she says. “It’s unparalleled to any other task or job I've ever performed.” She lives in Vancouver with her husband and dog. “We live in a small (but not too small) apartment overlooking the city of Vancouver.” She has a bachelor of science in biology and enjoys snowboarding. (“And I'm cocky about how good I am,” she admits.)


Nearly two years ago, Lana was laid off from a corporate job. “I was devastated. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, worrying about how I would pay my mortgage or how I would share my perceived failure with my husband and friends.” She felt like she had failed, that she wasn’t good enough. For the job, for anything. “What if I never worked again? Would my husband still love me? Think of all the nasty terrible fears you have deep down inside you about your performance or job expectations—those fears hit me like a wall and nearly drowned me in their miasma.”


Fortunately, Lana’s husband showed his support. “He told me that we would adjust. Find our centre and continue to achieve our goals. He said he trusted me. He believes in me.” Her friends rallied around her as well as she tried to find new footing.


For years she had been living a double life, one in the corporate world, the other as a jewellery designer LanaBetty in the off hours. With a holiday season fast approaching, Lana and her husband decided she should give the holiday markets her absolute best effort. “I decided that I would attack the markets with ferocity and passion. I would get angry about my job loss and funnel that energy into design, production and sales. I would fix up my website. I would set targets and hit them.” The backup plan? “If it all tanked, I would put LanaBetty on hold and look for another corporate job.”


Lana’s primary goal, though, was to be happy. “No more working with stress so high I couldn't sleep. No more working so hard I forgot to eat. No more pushing papers for a company that didn't care.”


“It's been almost two years now and I can honestly say I am happy. I have never worked so hard in my life. Every moment is spent on social media or in the studio. Everything I have done before this moment has prepared me for the next. I have had my jewelry featured in blogs, on models, in magazines, doubled my sales and have kicked up quite a niche market in custom jewellery.”


Lana has found that the most satisfying aspect of running her creative enterprise is that she is accountable to herself. “There has never been anything more empowering or satisfying.”

She is quick to share some hard-earned advice:

“Dive head first into your passion and let every single moment be the best moment. Be happy with who you are and content when you get into bed every night. Strive for greatness and (sometimes) be humble about it. Be proud of yourself and always, always, do what makes you happy.”


Visit LanaBetty's website and instagram

jeweller: Kari Woo


Kari Woo creates simply beautiful sterling silver jewellery such as the pendants shown here. Some whimsical, some graphical, her earrings and pendants are expertly crafted. For those of you in Calgary, you might remember Kari as one of the founders of Influx Jewellery Gallery, my neighbour in Art Central. Though Influx has a new owner (please visit Amanda at Influx for contemporary Canadian jewellery), Kari has moved to Canmore to raise her little boy and is still making work. Visit Kari's Etsy shop to peruse her wares.