In Conversation with Natalie Marie
We want to know more about you! What does a typical day look like?
Life is quite busy during this season, I have two young daughters aged 3 1/2 and 7 months, and obviously my first baby - NMJ! My husband, Daniel, and I run NMJ together, so our day-to-day life is quite varied in response to the needs of our girls and our work. A typical day starts early, with my youngest waking around six. After I feed and change her we often sneak out for a walk, and sometimes a swim, before the rest of the house wakes up. Once we are home and everyone is up I will make everyone breakfast, Dan a coffee and myself a cup of tea, and we all get ready to start the day.
At the moment I am still largely working from home, and only have one full day away from my littlest to be in the office. It’s a challenge to fit everything in, but I make it work by cramming a lot into her nap times, holding a lot of meetings at home, and sometimes bringing her into the office with me. When I am in the office, I make it a priority to try and chat to everyone in the team as much as I can, it’s really important to me to feel connected to everything that’s going on both for each of our team members but also with our customers and of course our making. Outside of connecting with our team and the day-to-day runnings, I prioritise time for creative and design, as well as allocating time to take part in our weekly marketing and planning meetings. I feel very grateful to have such an incredible team who work to bring our vision to life every day, making my dual role of mother and business owner feel a little more manageable. It’s a privilege to run the business alongside Dan, who commits all of his energy to managing every aspect of the day-to-day runnings of the business, as well as somehow finding time to be a creative visionary, always resolving unique problems and pioneering our progression.
Natalie Marie Jewellery is truly special! Tell us, how did you start on your journey to creating such a beautiful brand?
I started building the foundations of the brand straight out of university. I had a clear vision around what I wanted to create, but started really small making bespoke pieces for family and friends. As time went on and my skills and facilities grew, I gradually built out my first collection and eventually offered this online and via a select few retailers. Shortly after establishing my first collection, I started to expand into creating bespoke work, predominantly engagement rings. This brought a whole new phase of evolution and learning, opening up an exciting new world of creativity. Our growth has always been very organic in nature, taking small steps and learning and evolving with each one. I founded NMJ eight years ago, and worked solo for the first few years, only gradually building out a small team and slowly expanding on that as we grew. It’s been a unique journey so far, and one which is ever evolving.
As a conscious creator, what has been the most challenging & fulfilling parts of your journey?
Some of the biggest challenges have been in facilitating our growth and scaling our production ability to meet growing demand, while not compromising on our ethos of intentional and mindful creation. While this has been one of our challenges, it's also one of the most fulfilling aspects; nurturing a passionate and skilled team of jewellers through their professional growth and collaborating with a dedicated and like-minded team to develop the appropriate systems and processes to facilitate the evolution of our brand.
And your gorgeous Sydney studio, what was your design process with fitting out the space?
We had such a clear design vision with the space that we really just jumped right in. We wanted to create a space which didn’t feel anything like your typical jewellery store, but which embodied our brand ethos and created a laid back, quietly luxurious environment. When we moved into our current studio, we were leaving behind a 30sqm (tiny!) space which began as a shared workshop, and evolved to be a (very cramped) combined full working studio, head office and showroom space. While we had desperately outgrown it, it was really where the brand first flourished and the feel of it really summed up so much of what we are about. It was an immersive, experiential space which felt kind of like a busy family kitchen - full of chat, collaboration and the noise of creation. We wanted to continue to embody this experience with our first real retail space, which is why we chose to set the studio up right behind our showroom and consultation spaces, so our clients could still feel a part of the creation process and enjoy witnessing our jewellers at work. In a lot of ways, our studio now reflects a lot of our tiny first studio, but with a little more polish and a lot more space!
Tell us about your Neighbourhood, and your morning coffee order?
We are lucky enough to live and work on the tip of Sydney's northern beaches, in Avalon. We are part of a thriving creative community, and our studio is just a few footsteps from the beach. I don’t drink coffee, but always pick up a long black for Dan while getting my own sticky chai brewed on nut milk.
What are 3 must-knows/local secrets for anyone visiting or considering making it their home?
Being on a peninsula, you can always find the perfect spot for a swim on a sunny day, as long as you know where the wind is coming from and where you can find a sheltered spot. Kiddies corner at Palm beach or Clareville beach are our go-to's.
South Avalon headland is home to Classic Coffee, Avalon’s very own coffee and food truck with the best coffee and burritos in town.
We may not have as many options for dining out as bigger towns, but the options we do have are really, really good. Our favourites are Bistro Boulevard for classic French, Alma for Mexican or newbie Bar Elvina for cocktails.
And your home, what makes it a special space to you?
We bought our little beach cottage three years ago, and we have slowly worked to make it truly our own. It’s an incredibly special home to us, being our first family home, and a space we have invested so much love, time and energy in transforming into our own little haven.
How do you use your Marloe Marloe pieces? Where in your home will we find them?
Our Stevie vase moves around the house, always filled with fresh blooms wherever they are needed most. Our candle is always burning in our open living area, filling the house with its earthy scent. My ring dishes certainly get the most use, housing my precious pieces in between wears. I have a pretty special collection of precious pieces which I always rotate, so having somewhere beautiful to keep them on display is a treat.
Lastly, how's the year been & what's next for you and NMJ?
The last year has been an interesting one with lots of new challenges and lots of change. Navigating business ownership through the year that was 2020 with a new baby in the mix has been quite the journey for us, but one I am grateful for, for the perspective and opportunities for growth it has provided. So far, this new year has presented much of the same by way of lots of change, but we are excited for what’s to come and more committed than ever to creating consciously, caring for our people and crafting pieces of intrinsic value for our clients. We have some really exciting plans for this year, which we can’t wait to bring to life, including a potential secondary site to facilitate our growing production demand and to accommodate clients further afield. Stay tuned!
Nat styles our STEVIE, VANITY SET of 2 & MINI BOBBY CANDLE.
Shop our CORE Collection on Sydney's Northern Beaches at the Natalie Marie Jewellery Studio.
Images captured by @tealily