Take ten with… Lauren Davies


This is a new one for us at Birch…

As we can’t gather for a drink and a dance just yet, every month we’ll be asking one of your fellow members (maybe you soon?) ten questions so we can all get familiar.

While we’re no Oprah, our conversation style is a bit different. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them, learn something new, and get a few new recommendations along the way. 

Want to be featured? Drop us a line at members@birchcommunity.com and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Lauren Davies

What’s your name and where do you come from?

Lauren Davies, Londoner – born and bred. I am founder of HEKA – a sensory design studio and consultancy with a focus on sustainable flavour, scent and colour / material / finish. 

My work spans studio projects, workshops and client branding projects – from research and insights, through to strategy, storytelling and product design and innovation.

Go-to joke:

Most of the jokes on my radar are currently those of my 4-year-old. This is the one that gets a lot of airtime and never ceases to amuse him and his little brother…

Q: Knock Knock

A: Who’s there?

Q: Europe

(l’ll leave you to go figure out the punchline…)

Currently working on:

I recently collaborated with Anna Jones on the sustainability section of her new book ‘One Pot, Pan, Planet’, which has just been released. I love Anna and her cooking style. She has carved a pioneering place for herself in the UK food scene, by celebrating vegetables and encouraging people to turn vegetarian or eat less meat. She is an amazingly innovative cook and flavour genius.

Useful tip about Sensory Design:

If you are embarking on a branding project, either as a designer or entrepreneur, employing a multi-sensory approach will have a much stronger impact. As our lives move increasingly online, we simultaneously crave more visceral real-life experiences. 

Thinking about how your branding can be explored through different sensory touchpoints will strengthen your branding and make you future-ready.

Would love some help with…

I don’t have something I specifically need help with at the moment but I am always looking to connect with people and collaborate on new projects / ventures. If anything I’ve said on here sparks an interest, please get in touch (assuming you can get past my earlier childish joke).

Birch’s best kept secret:

I’m a huge fan of Robin Gill, so it has to be the food. I haven’t had a bad meal yet, but the sourdough pizettes they were doing at Valeries in the summer were phenomenal. The courgette and ricotta one, particularly. 

I also love how Valeries and The Zebra Riding Club are named in homage to Lady Meux – the eccentric lady of the manor and Birch Estate in the Victorian era.

Now on repeat:

I have been listening to Arlo Parks, Adrianne Lenker, Aldous Harding and Cassandra Jenkins on repeat recently. I find their music so calming – perfect to wind down to in the evening. I can’t wait to exchange my sofa for a party / rave / festival come June though. 

My favourite podcast is Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith. She is an amazing host and interviews the best chefs and food writers.

Just watched:

After loving the BBC drama ‘I May Destroy You’, my sister Annie Ridout – who is also a Birch member and has the same sense of humour as me – recommended Michaela Coel’s earlier series, ‘Chewing Gum’. It is fall-off-your seat funny. Coel is a genius.

Reading right now: 

‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens, on recommendation from my good friend – and Birch member! – Lizzie King. The descriptions of the landscapes, materials, flavours and scents are so vibrant and textured. 

Another book I constantly refer to and have re-read at least 5 times is ‘Essence and Alchemy’ by Mandy Aftel – the celebrated American indie perfumer. She is one of my biggest inspirations. Her writing is transportive.

Can’t recommend enough:

I am fascinated by food systems and how we might solve some of the huge global problems we are currently facing – particularly the climate crisis – through food. 

As well as having a non-fiction book on the go, I usually have something factual too. I am currently reading ‘The Way We Eat Now’ by Bee Wilson and have ‘Sitopia: How Food Can Save the World’ by Carolyn Steel lined up to read next.