Celeste Tesoriero, founder of Sonzai Studios, smiling into the camera

For Celeste Tesoriero, success lies in those sacred moments when you feel bold and unafraid, looking to her engraved Natalie Marie Jewellery signet ring for strength and confidence. 

The founder of Sonzai Studios, a sustainable fashion consulting agency, Celeste has built her ecological expertise via her own eponymous label and working alongside some of the world's most sustainably-minded designers.

We spoke with Celeste about the ever-changing perspective of success and the instilling of hope and inspiration through mindful sustainability discussion.


Your fashion consultancy exists to help brands do better, communicate their progress, and plan for the future whilst tackling each of the sustainability pillars (environmental, economic, and societal). How did you come to launch your consultancy?

The consultancy work was simmering in my subconscious for a few years before coming into existence. My 12 year career as a designer, and directly experiencing the effect the industry has on people and the planet instigated the journey.

In London, I took on a role as the Sustainability Manager for luxury brand, Roland Mouret. I was invited to be a member of the British Fashion Council's Positive Fashion Committee, which held round-table discussions with the Sustainability Managers of brands like Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Kering, and Net-a-porter.

I realised every business, regardless of size, was trying to tackle the same sustainability issues. Sustainability was a place of common ground. It was that experience that gave me the confidence to know I could work with any brand on any scale and help them make a difference.

Celeste Tesoriero, founder of Sonzai Studios in front of a dark background smiling into the camera

What impact do you hope to have on those who come across your work?

Through my work, I hope to instil hope, inspiration and create tangible tools for brands to use to get them to their goals. Sustainability issues can be heavy, complicated, and scary - so I aim for my work to be like a support system for my clients, making it easy and enjoyable to do good.

From having my own label, I can also appreciate and understand the bottom line. I help brands see that sustainability saves them money, increases their customers, makes them more attractive to investors, and will increase their brand worth.


What are some of the biggest challenges you are working on to address and overcome in your line of work?

One of the biggest challenges the industry is facing is greenwashing. Our best hope to overcome this is through policy and education. In my workshops for staff, my ‘Sustainability 101’ for example, I help educate teams to not only understand what greenwashing is, but introduce some really simple rules to avoid doing it in their strategy, communication, and language.

The new trend (and therefore problem) in the space is offsetting. The UN’s recent IPCC report is clear that the industry needs to halve their emissions before 2030 - planting trees isn’t going to do that. Unfortunately, brands have been focusing on the wrong methods to reduce their environmental footprint and mitigate climate change - offsetting being one of them. I help brands with what to do instead.


The newest designs to arrive at Natalie Marie Jewellery were inspired by both the challenges and achievements of days gone by. Influenced by those who dared to do things differently, we reimagined a world where we could be bold and unafraid - our latest styles invite you to celebrate your success, no matter how big or small. Generally speaking, how do you consider 'success'?

I love that. Being bold and unafraid are those moments in life I truly relish. Those moments, those feelings, would be what I consider moments of success. Because when I feel like that, I am invincible, in the present, and loving life. Success is when I feel the most like me, when I am doing work that is meaningful and fulfilling, and when I feel proud of where I am.

I will say though, that I learnt a few years ago my perspective of success is always changing. I previously set goals and believed once I reached them I would have ‘made it’, but by the time I got there, ‘making it’ meant something completely different. Measuring success to me would be that intimate process of setting and achieving personal goals.


And more specifically, when have you felt most successful?

Although the meaning of award nominations has changed for me now, I felt my most successful when I was nominated for a few different international design awards at once. To have that industry recognition, and knowing designers I had looked up to my whole life knew my work felt really special.

Celeste Tesoriero, founder of Sonzai Studios, wearing a Yellow Gold signet ring by Natalie Marie Jewellery


What are some ways in which you celebrate success, whether big or small?

I’m all about celebrating! Not just my own, but the success of everyone around me. My partner landed his dream job lately, and to me, that was the perfect excuse to pop the champagne, buy a delicious dinner, give gifts and make it an occasion. I also really enjoy self-love practices as a way to celebrate success like taking a luxurious bath with rose petals, getting a massage, or buying some expensive (and sustainable) beauty products.


At Natalie Marie Jewellery, we believe that every piece of our jewellery holds a story. A motive. A memory. A milestone moment. What story does this new piece hold for you?

The personalised engraving on my Fei Signet gives it a feeling of strength. The classic, masculine (yet feminine) design of the ring, and seeing my initials on it when I wear it gives me a confidence boost. It will be with me on those days when I want to feel in charge.

PC: Si Kirk