Student Spotlight: Moria Lawlor of Franky’s Jewelry

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Moria Lawlor, a junior at Wake Forest, has recently launched a jewelry company called “Franky’s.”  (Instagram, Facebook). The best part about it? Part of the profits are donated to a cause close to her heart. I recently stopped by Moria’s workshop to chat and photograph her creations, while endlessly raving about her pieces. Read on to learn more about Moria’s impeccable taste, eye for design, experience as a young entrepreneur, and most importantly, the story behind Franky’s. Find out why you should be ordering a necklace today! (See the bottom of this post for contact/order details.)

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I love that Franky’s is “jewelry for a cause.” Can you explain the the name of your company and the cause that motivated you to launch the brand?

“Franky” is a nickname that I called my Dad when I was little. Being the daughter of a Wake professor, I came to his office after school and would do my homework in the economic department in Carswell Hall. My Dad would come in sometimes pretending to be my student, “Franky,” and I would teach him what I was learning in school. It is just a fond memory of good times with my Dad.

When I was in high school, my Dad, “Franky,” was diagnosed with a rare degenerative brain disease, Atypical Cerebellar Ataxia. Due to unknown reasons, the cerebellar part of his brain was slowly starting to shrink. This disease has affected his motor skills and over the past five years, he has slowly lost control of his limbs and speech. The unknown aspect of the disease is most difficult because he could get worse at any point in time, or he could stay how he currently is for a couple of years.  He has slowly progressed from an avid long distance runner, to using a cane, and now a walker. Franky’s Jewelry is my way of helping my Dad by raising money to research the disease and spreading awareness of it around our community and the country.

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Who and what are your style inspirations for the jewelry designs?

All shades of blue appeal to me so you will notice lots of blue and turquoise in my designs. I’m obsessed with Pinterest, so I definitely get inspiration from perusing there. (Franky’s Pinterest page coming soon!) I am also interested in interior design, so I get ideas from looking at décor magazines. That is how I fell in love with tassels; I enjoy using big tassels (sometimes meant as curtain tiebacks!) as bold statements in my jewelry.  I find that drawing my ideas really helps me to get creative and come up with unique designs. Some of my favorite style icons, stores, and brands that I look to for inspiration are Tory Burch, Olivia Palermo, Calypso St. Barth, Sass and Bide, and Show Me Your Mu Mu.

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I know you recently received a grant from the WFU entrepreneurship department. Congrats! How has this helped, or changed, Franky’s?

The grant has greatly helped Franky’s take off!  I received $1,500 from the Russell D. and Elfriede Hobbs Fund for Entrepreneurship. It has enabled me to order materials, make Franky’s an official sole proprietorship, begin to start a website, and I now have funds for marketing purposes. Hopefully with the help from this grant, Franky’s will be a self-sustaining business within one year.

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What advice can you give to other young entrepreneurs like yourself?

If you have an idea that you are passionate about, go for it! I spent a long time dreaming about this business and I couldn’t be happier that I finally just did it! Launch your idea and tweak the little things along the way. I have also learned to use all the support I have been given; I would not be where I am today if it were not for the encouragement of my great family and friends and the wonderful resources that the Wake Forest entrepreneurship department has to offer.

Where do you see Franky’s in five years?

I hope that Franky’s will have a large base of followers and customers across the country.  Second of all, I hope that Franky’s will be well known among the Cerebellar Ataxia community as a way to raise money for research and awareness of the disease. In five years, I’d like for my designs to be sold in numerous boutiques across the country. I have a strong view for the Franky’s brand, from a logo down to the tags and packaging, so I plan for all of that to be solidified in a few years from now. Above all, I hope that each year I am able to increase my donation to the cause.

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Thanks to Moria for such a wonderful interview. Check out her designs in Winston Salem’s Gusto Clothing, or contact her for orders at lawlms11@wfu.edu or (336) 529-1688. (At affordable prices, these pieces are a must-have for fashionable college girls!) WFU Style also hopes to host a Franky’s trunk show in the future, so stay tuned.

Interview and images by Danielle Adler

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