Lore van Keer opened the door of her own flagship store in Meise, Belgium. Her smile matched the denim overall that fitted nicely around her pregnant belly. Yes, when I first met Lore, she would become ‘mom’ within a few months, but during our meeting she talked about herself and the label Lore van Keer. It was already clear during our talk that this lady says YES to new things in life! A throwback!
If you are a bit wayward, it must be that you recognize yourself somehow in Lore’s designs. Her jewels are often described as architectural masterpieces. Her unique and recognizable style is sturdy, playful and yet feminine (although she also made a men collection for the first time in collaboration with another designer, Mieke Dierckx). Her jewels are an extension of her training as an interior designer, with a predilection for product design. Her fascination for (little) objects amounted to a fondness of jewelry. Lore studied another 4 years for goldsmith, and in 2010 her independent label LORE VAN KEER was born. Looking at Lore van Keer’s work, you’ll notice that design and architecture are still her main source of inspiration. All jewels are created in 925 sterling silver or 18 carat white or yellow gold, handmade in her own atelier.
Nothing is for granted
Lore is only 30 years old and already has an impressive record. She graduated in 2010 and since then a lot of good things happened to her : she received a price for ‘promising talent’, her jewels were represented in the media by ambassadress Eva Daeleman (not coincidentally a lady with positive attitude and a strong identity), she had her first interview in Marie-‐Claire magazine, she started to work with a PR agency, there was the opening of her own flagship store (2014), she received the Handmade In Belgium (HIB) label (2014), she was asked to design a jewel for Belgian Queen Mathilde (2015), there was the collaboration with the clothing brand Xandres (2015) etc.
Throughout all this media attention, Lore remains very down to earth. Admittedly she is grateful for her good fortune, but she adds that a lot of this is the result of hard work and focus. “Nothing is for granted”, which was and still is also the message she received from her parents (also independent workers). Lore was ‘lucky’ that her environment stimulated her to take on challenges, but she did it all by herself. She saw opportunities and took chances / risks (it depends on how you see it). She started with the idea of being an independent and she wants to succeed in this story.
Forget the risks and take the fall!
“If you know you can and it feels right, just jump and go for it”. The quote ‘fear is no option’ became her life quote and it encourages her to achieve her goals at 300%. The idea of knowing and experiencing how far her label could go, is a great motivation to push herself to higher limits. It is Lore’s goal to make her label grow, without losing her identity and without having to follow the path of the mass. She could never create designs to please the mass or create jewels she wouldn’t wear herself. Therefore each design is personal and it has to stay that way. “I don’t mind the idea that not everyone likes my jewels. I don’t create to please everyone. I design for people who identify themselves with my style: strong identities, people looking for something different and/or searching for a jewel that reinforces their outfit.”
If you want to achieve something, you need to work for it. There is no shortcut.
One more in the family
During the past 5 years Lore multitasked: designing and creating, selling, holding the shop etc. Even though she loves being in contact with her clients, her passion still lies in the creative part of her work. If you ask Lore what she loves most, she’ll say: “Creating new jewels. I’m always very excited when I can focus on a new collection”. In order to make this happen and to spare some time for the baby, Lore decided to join forces with her brother. Since this year, he joined the label, and will be responsible for the commercial part. “Knowing my brother will take care of the sales part, I feel confident that my label will be (re)presented by someone who speaks the same language as I do and who knows me and my label at 100%. I know I won’t have to hold back in business discussions or decisions, which makes work more comfortable. We’ve always had a strong brother -‐ sister relation and it’s nice to know that we can work together now as a complementary team”.
Bounderies do exist
Lore doesn’t think in terms of a private and professional life. It all comes together. Her days aren’t defined by a clear structure . “The baby will surely have an impact on this part of my life I suppose”, she laughs. “Normally I just keep going. It’s a trap, I know, and I have to be careful. When there happens to be a ‘free’ moment, I start working again. During my pregnancy I was -‐ for the first time -‐ confronted with some physical boundaries I never experienced before. The baby forces me to step back and to listen to what my body is telling me”.
Knowing that Lore is always ‘on to the next thing’ doing nothing doesn’t lie in her personality, so it’s no surprise that ‘driving’ the car is her place and time where she can relax. The car is an inspirational spot to come up with new ideas. One of her collections (A12.4) was designed during one of these trips and was named after a highway in Belgium. “My car is one of the rare locations where I can free my mind, away from mails, social media, etc. The same for holidays : I really need to go abroad on holiday and literally take distance from all of my occupations. If not, I end up in front of my computer and start working again.”
3 extra hours a day
If a day would have 3 more hours, the job related answer would be ‘I’ll use it in order to create more’. But then she remembers the physical boundaries of her pregnancy and says that she would instead use this time as ‘me-‐time’, but Lore continues : “Or I would spare all hours per day to use them all at once to visit an exhibition, because it can be very inspirational too.”...
I give up. It’s clear, it never stops.
Lore van Keer, a lady with a mission. It was great meeting someone who is not afraid to have big dreams, and who also has the courage to pursue her dreams without losing grip on reality. So, a little note from myself to the baby: ‘Listen to your mom and never ever stop dreaming’.