Lauren Winget Lal | Marketing Director
Lauren Winget Lal has spent her career storytelling for brands and restaurants, throughout San Diego. As our relationship to media, and how we consume it, has changed, Lauren has honed her craft — translating her clients’ visions into messaging and imagery viewers can connect with. Today, Lauren is the Director of Marketing at Puffer Malarkey Collective, a group of Southern California restaurants conceived by Chef Brian Malarkey. Their portfolio includes Herb & Wood, Herb & Sea, ANIMAE and Herb & Eatery… just to name a few. We are excited to share an interview with Lauren Winget, and highlight the creativity of the culinary industry she works in. Lauren wears our new Jensen frames, thoughtfully designed for petite men and women. You can learn more about the Jensen here.
What originally drew you to your craft? Was there a particular experience or personal calling?
I live in the intersection of storytelling and marketing, branding and editorial. There was a way we used to market things to people: a journalist would tell us it’s good, a commercial would try and convince us we should buy it, and that was about it. I came of age during a time when all those preconceived notions of how to grow your brand, how to get your message out there, were beginning to crumble. Social media and the internet suddenly allowed brands to connect directly with their audiences, for free, on their terms, no gatekeepers required. But that didn’t mean the brands knew how to adapt. So that’s where I’ve made my niche – I aim to tell a brand’s story with an editorial eye. To market to our target consumers by telling content-rich, real, relevant stories that resonate and build a real connection to the brand, to usher in the next generation of how we market our products, for the better.
To what do you most attribute the development of your craft? Did you have a mentor or formal education?
Can I say, trial by fire? After graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in a field I knew I didn’t want to work in, I gained experiences in different facets of marketing, and came away with a set of tools and a notion of how I wanted to change how we market, for the future. I started in public relations, went to branding, back to public relations, into content strategy and copywriting, then social. Now, I put all those experiences together to build a cohesive and effective marketing strategy in my role at Puffer Malarkey Collective.
What kind of risks of challenges have you encountered over the years? And did the challenges (or a particular challenge) change your path in any way?
I think this moment is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced. We’ve all faced, really. I work for a restaurant group. During a pandemic. Restaurants are gathering spaces, places that foster connection, togetherness. So learning how to adapt our values, our reason for being, how we can still be here for our community, for this moment, has been challenging to say the least. I don’t know what the future is, or where restaurants go, but I’m fighting everyday to make sure there’s still a place for us, and that we’ll still be here when we’re on the other side.
When thinking about the future of your work, what are you most excited about?
I think marketing will continue to evolve, and that brands will get even better at speaking directly to their target consumers. I love the rise of the authentic influencer, and how being more realistic and less stylized and perfect, is gaining more traction. Brands are continuing to think and act like storytellers of the modern era, and I’m really excited to push the limits.
What piece of advice would you have loved to receive when first starting a brand?
Just throw it against the wall and see what sticks. What you put out there is forever, but really, it’s all forgotten the next day.
Is there anyone whose eyewear style stands out to you?
Jenna Lyons. She’s bold. Her frames are bold. I love it.
When you’re not working, how do you recharge and stay inspired in San Diego?
Restaurants are inspirational spaces for me. In the before times, you could usually find me dining out, drinking wine, exploring different neighborhoods, trying a new restaurant, going back to our old favorite restaurants, supporting our budding culinary community and all the things that make our food scene great. Right now that’s on pause, but I can’t wait to get back out there and back at it. My boss keeps preaching patience, because, as he puts it, “the Roaring ‘20s are just around the corner and it’s going to be a party when we get there.” I for one, can’t wait.
Lauren wears the Jensen in Teak. Photos by Claire Reiner.
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