Lauren Kelso

Crush Your Goals!


Tell us a little bit about the Goal that you’ve crushed: 

I’ve always been interested in starting my own business, but I had imagined this may be something I would do in years to come.  However, I started my business LJK Designs in December 2021 at age 22, whilst still at University.  I initially started selling art prints that I illustrated myself and now I have expanded my product range to also include framed illustration prints, designed earrings, creative notebooks, greeting cards and coasters using my own designs.  Alongside selling my products through my website, my pieces are also stocked in Makers’ House at The Designerie in Bushmills, Ebb & Flow in Carnlough and the Art Shop in Belfast School of Art.  I’m absolutely loving running my business! 


What steps did you take to crush this goal? 

In Spring 2021, I was searching for a Placement opportunity, and I was informed about Enterprise Placement Year.  This is a programme that Ulster University runs as a Placement Year option for students wanting to start up their own business.  I applied for this programme and was successful in making it onto the Enterprise Placement Year programme.  Throughout my Placement Year, I was given mentoring by the incredible mentors and I worked hard to develop my business, expanding my product range and making the most of the many opportunities.  Throughout this past year, I have participated in and spoken at various conferences and I have hosted many live video interviews with other creatives and small business owners, learning more about their practice and having interesting creative conversations.  I have also attended many different online workshops and sessions over this past year, learning more information on a variety of different relevant business topics.  Collaborating with other small businesses, including hosting a giveaway competition with another creative and commissioning an earring small business to make earrings using my own illustration designs for my business has been brilliant.  Enterprise Placement Year has really inspired me to seek out different opportunities and to think outside the box with my business.  I’ve also created commissions for customers and I designed visuals for two national conferences.  Recently, I was commissioned by a very well-established Northern Irish Hotel to create a bespoke illustration of the front of their hotel and I’m looking forward to sharing the finished illustration very soon once it has been released.  I was also asked to lead a creative illustration workshop, teaching a group how to illustrate and draw.  At the end of May, I finished Enterprise Placement Year and I’m heading into Final Year this September to finish my degree in Graphic Design and Illustration, alongside working on my business. 


How did it make you feel to Crush your Goal? 

I feel very excited to have my own business and to be able to work on developing it, creating new products using my owns designs.  I’m also very thankful for all the support I’ve been given in my business at the different retail shops that stock my products, online through social media and at different markets I have attended.  I’m so glad that I took this step to launch my business in December and I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead with LJK Designs! 


Have you identified the next goal you’d like to crush? Can you share any details with us? 

My next goal is to design and create t-shirts, tote bags and hair accessories using my illustration designs and to stock them online through my website and in retail shops.  At the minute I’m thinking of different design ideas for these individual products and I’m really looking forward to creating them! 



Instagram – @ljkdesigns_

YouTube – LJK Designs

Etsy Store – LJKDesignsStore

Or to get in touch, email Lauren at info@ljkdesigns.uk