Hi, I’m Sarah Lay

You’ve probably found your way here after reading a blog post or something I’ve posted on social media, so let me tell you a bit more about who I am and what I do.

First up – what I do. I’m a content and user experience designer, meaning I try and make digital things better for everyone. And I’m co-founder, owner and head of creative at Reckless Yes, an independent record label working ethically with artists to make good things for fans. I’m also (sometimes) a music journalist, and author. 

Sarah Lay by I C Things Photography

I’m currently Lead UX/Content Designer for Birmingham City Council. But I’ve worked:

  • across the public sector managing content and designing digital transformations
  • in eCommerce for a High Street brand specialising in user experience
  • agency-side using the GDS toolkit on a team successfully taking the Planning Inspectorate through their Beta assessment
  • for Alzheimer’s Society building their in-house user-centred design capability to make things better for people affected by dementia
  • in the music industry where I bring in my interest in digital and experience to support artists to keep creative control, build a sustainable career, and connect with audiences

Whatever I’ve been working on it’s always about finding that connection for me, and I do that through endless curiosity, lots of meaningful conversations and a deep love of exploring possibilities. I love that I have two sides to my career which complement each other, allow me to always be learning, and mean I get to meet interesting people doing creative things which are often full of social goodness. Working with people to help them understand their audience, how to connect and how to improve the detail to achieve the big objective while delivering exceptional customer experiences is right up my street.

I’m a passionate community builder too. At Reckless Yes we were one of a small number of independent labels pioneering membership, formed of music fans who want new ways to discover music, support independent artists and connect with each other, as well as a roster of artists which is more like a family in how we support each other.

I was also a co-founder of LocalGovDigital – a grassroots movement to make better public services. My love of conversations and connections means I’ve worked on world building in online games, introduced social media in local councils, and grown online spaces for music publications.

But I’m very much an introvert and love to re-energise and turn over ideas beyond these conversations.

I live in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside with my 2 teenage sons. I walk with my German Shepherd Freya as often as I can, often distracted on those jaunts by the bounty of the hedgerows. I grow our own fruit and veg at home and always have bottles and jars stuffed with the harvest from home and hedgerow in my cupboards (I highly recommend the wild damson gin). I am always up for a jam swap or a new recipe for whatever I’ve got a glut of.

I’m a curator of playlists, a lover of sequins (but won’t ever buy new due to the environmental impact), and I will always (ALWAYS) stop to watch crows and enter into a one-sided chat to them (as if aloof and fiercely clever crows are interested in anything we have to say). I love a quiet morning brew and living slow.

And I believe that when your fear kicks in about an opportunity that’s the moment you say yes – adventure is on the other side of that word.

Enough about me – what about you? Come and talk to me and tell me about yourself:

  • Twitter / X – I’ve pretty much left this platform now so am very unlikely to see messages there
  • Instagram
  • Bluesky
  • LinkedIn
  • Email.

Hope to speak soon,


12 thoughts on “About Sarah Lay

  1. Hi Sarah,

    I’m a journalism student from the University of Derby doing coursework on setting up a business.

    My idea is quite similar to what you do with your writing for your louder than war magazine with it looking at sharing and promoting lesser known bands and building my audience.

    Just wondered if you had any tips on how to build my audience and identifying who they might be? with the experience you have 🙂 I’ve had a chat with Keith perch and he said you would the best person to ask about it

    Aidan Woolhouse

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