In conversation with

Lauren Scott-Harris

Founder at EARNT and Re: Agency



Lauren Scott-Harris is the founder of brand-building agency RE: Agency, formally known as Scott Ideas, who helped shape category-defining startups like Headspace and onefinestay.

She’s also the founder of EARNT, an ecosystem which uses people’s love for brands to power causes in need.

We caught up with her to find out more about EARNT, the difference it makes and Lauren’s ambitions for the future. 

Question and Answer

Could you explain what EARNT is and the problem it’s solving for the world?

Imagine you could get reservations at hard-to-book restaurants by supporting a local charity with your time. Imagine you could earn a fifth night free on a hotel booking by planting trees. EARNT connects brands, causes and consumers in ‘golden triangles’, inviting consumers to access experiences, tickets, and discounts by giving their time to a cause that needs it.

Working across fashion and hospitality, with sport and music on the horizon, we’re based in the UK but have started to work in north America with some huge brands over the next six months. We just completed our first US activation with Ulla Johnson in LA – it was awesome.

When did you know that you were really onto something with EARNT?

I think it was with the River Cafe. We invited people to spend three hours litter picking on the river to earn the right to VIP reservations and a special EARNT menu. Over 1500 people tried to sign up. That’s when we knew our assumptions were right – people want to do good things for the world, especially if they get something special back for their time.

You also started a PR and communications agency before EARNT – what did you apply from that experience to starting this venture?

I think the main learning was sitting beside brands for 20 years and understanding how and why they behave as they do. It helped us crack that EARNT had to be a commercial venture not a charity, so brands would engage with us multiple times and make us a part of their marketing.

Also making sure that our ETYs (earned thank yous) were original and creative – storytelling is key and giving people a reason to talk about you to their friends is essential.

When does an EARNT collaboration work best?

It works best when a brand creates something you feel proud to earn. You won’t give up two hours of your time for a free coffee – but for a reusable EARNT x Hagen coffee cup and a month of coffee on the house – that’s another story.

We have a collaboration coming up which I’m really excited about. Scott Campbell is a famous tattoo artist with a waiting list so long it’s basically pointless to join. He also has a seven-year-old son who was unwell recently and needed a lot of blood from the Children’s Hospital in LA. Scott and his son designed symbols to represent every blood type for an EARNT activation. If you donate blood in LA this August you’ll then be invited to get one of these tattoos free of charge.

When you think about hypey brands, you think about queues for Peachyden or Supreme. How do you convince brands that putting those people to good use – planting trees, painting a school, cooking for the elderly – won’t lose them their hype status?

I actually think it would increase it in a different way. Imagine there’s a pair of sneakers you can unlock only once you do the beach clean. Imagine the system to get them is strict (and it is – there’s no gifting to influencers or celebrities). Now those shoes aren’t just exclusive, but really mean something. It’s PR with purpose.

When Desmond and Dempsey moved to Brixton, they used EARNT to build community with fans and support Age UK with cooking meals for the elderly. Tell us about your latest collaboration with them.

Desmond and Dempsey are amazing partners. They had wanted to work with Pia (the photographer) for years so we are so thrilled they chose us for this collaboration.

They created a beautiful limited-edition robe which you can unlock by doing ‘one act of kindness’ via our platform – such as helping a food bank, painting a mural at a school or working in a charity shop.

A few people commented that while they wanted the robe for how it looks, they really wanted it because of what it represents.

We’re social beings and being with each other, doing things together, building community is paramount to our mental health. It’s so important to feel like we are helping the people and planet around us.

It feels like a win-win for brands and people. What’s your elevator pitch to brands as to why they should do this?

Brands still get to sell their products but literally get to help change the world with small acts of kindness when they take part. When you see how much everyone is mucking in and enjoying themselves you can’t help but be touched. And from a marketing point of view – it brings associated sales, content and feel-goods.

Do the brands ever have concerns? What are they and how do you respond?

Yes, of course. We help steer them to make sure it works for them, their community and cause. They worry people can game the system (they can’t but will try as we get bigger), whether the impact is measurable (it is) and sometimes worry about the perceptions of asking their consumers to think about negative things. But as we saw with River Cafe, luxury brands can and do engage with us, and people love and respect them for it.

Imagine what you could have achieved with that queue to see the Queen! What would you have suggested to the Royal Family? 

I LOVE this. It would be really hard to pick one thing! I think we’d want to pick things the Queen really loved and cared about so working in a food bank / tree planting, or of course something for Corgi’s.

The Storylist


  1. The Do Lectures
  2. Air Mail
  3. The Re: View by Re: Agency


  1. Unlocking Us by Brené Brown
  2. Better Heroes by EY Ripples
  3. Stupid Things for Love by Scott Campbell


  1. A Lion in the Bedroom by Pat Cavendish O’Neil
  2. Get the Picture by Bianca Bosker
  3. Let Me Off At The Top by Kahill Gibran

Social Accounts

  1. Influencers in the Wild
  2. Tanks Good News
  3. Simply Slow Traveller


  1. Monocle / Konfekt
  2. Sunday Times Magazine
  3. France Today

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