Gallery Girl meets SPILT MILK

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In the first of a monthly series of interviews with my art girl crushes, I have the pleasure of presenting you to Lauren and Nadia, the duo behind Spilt Milk. The art and coffee loving pair are raising funds to open a pop-up Art Cafe that will provide London-based artists with a social space in which they are able to exhibit their work for free. Spilt Milk will be a coffee shop where customers can drink their cup of Joe in a venue covered in art. I wrote to the girls to find out a little more about their exciting new project:


How did you meet?

Lauren: Hi Lizzy! Pleasure to speak to you and be able to tell you about the project. We met through another entrepreneur at our university, who introduced us after discovering Nadia was really passionate about opening a coffee shop! She thought we’d be the perfect pair.

Nadia: I remember our mutual friend telling me about Lauren in the library. I told her to share my number and waited patiently for a message over the Xmas holiday. That message arrived and I’m glad we met, Lauren is amazing!


What gave you the idea to start Spilt Milk?

Lauren: I’ve grown up around creatives and always been close to young artists, as well as getting to know the fashion industry myself. Despite the immense amount of talent – there’s little support for artists and creatives and few places to gain the skills to launch themselves into the art world. As an entrepreneur, I know that learning through “jumping in at the deep end” is vital, and this platform can help artists expose themselves to exhibiting and selling – hopefully with a boost of exposure from us.

Nadia: My family owned a bar in Italy when I was young, I would wake up to the smell of coffee beans in the morning. So, I always dreamt of being able to create the art of coffee here in London. Here we are, doing exactly that and combining it with supporting young individuals like ourselves through Spilt Milk.


Why Spilt Milk? 

Lauren: “Don’t cry over spilt milk!!!” Despite there being a lot of stress and tears, the saying has become a calming mantra reminder to myself – especially in times of stress!


You are funding the pop-up yourselves and through crowdfunder, you have published a well-researched finance plan on how the cafe will be run. Do either of you have a business background?  

Lauren: Yes! We are both studying Business Management, and I specialize in Entrepreneurship. This project has been born from my final year module, although it has always been my ambition to start a business.

Nadia: I specialize in Marketing, luckily we have had a few modules to give us some ideas on how to go about all the numbers. We’d be clueless without it!

How have you found the first artists (Junior Adesanya, Balbina Bochuzynska, Lily Kemp and Georgie Whitney) who are exhibiting at Spilt Milk? 

Lauren: Junior is a talented friend, who I worked with previously. I visited his first solo exhibition in 2016 which was inspired by Japanese culture and I knew I had to have him for the pop-up! Georgie and I actually attended the same college, although didn’t meet until the filming of the crowdfunding video. We actually ended up at the same university too!! We have a few mutual friends and connected on social media, so when I put out an artist calling, she responded straight away!

Lily had also connected with me on Instagram, so I knew her work. I love how colourful it is! Balbina also responded to the artist call, and I’m so glad she did!


What do you see in the future for Spilt Milk, will you do more pop-ups? 

Lauren: After the pop-up, we’ll be looking to secure funding for a permanent location – that’s the dream. If we’re not investment ready then we’ll be exploring other avenues that would allow us to continue, which could be a run of pop-ups. We’re taking things challenge-by-challenge!

Nadia: I would love it to be permanent, I hope we can achieve that!


You are both students, what are your plans post-graduation? 

Lauren: After graduating, I’d love to be able to start exploring this and other business ideas, although I’d be very lucky to have the freedom to do so. This could mean gaining experience at other start-ups to build skills before having being able to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams.

Nadia: I’ll sleep for a while to recover from all the deadlines and then pester Lauren daily to go through all the stress again with Spilt milk.


Finally, what is your coffee-based beverage of choice?

Lauren: Caramel Cappuccino!! Used to be a latte girl, but needed bigger doses of caffeine 🙂

Nadia: Give me a café latte- all day every day!


You can donate to Spilt Milk at

Spilt Milk is on instagram at @spiltmilkcoffee

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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