These hands belong to Co-owner & Director, Daniel. Husband to Natalie, Father to their little girl Willa and mentor to us all here at NMJ. Daniel keeps us moving forward with intention; a true creative with the biggest sweet tooth in the studio. Get to know Daniel below...
Who do these hands belong to?
Daniel Fitch, Husband to Natalie, Father to Wilhelmina and Co-owner of Natalie Marie Jewellery.
Describe what your role is at Natalie Marie Jewellery?
I wear many hats or (roles) at Natalie Marie. I am the Co/Owner, General Manager and Head of Branding at Natalie Marie Jewellery. Which basically means, I help lead, encourage and guide a group of extraordinary and like minded people through a passage in their careers. While navigating the ever changing landscape of building and growing a business with my exceptionally talented wife, Natalie. My most important role is to see all possible answers to any situation whether it's with a customer, supplier or business hurdle and encourage everyone in the our business that they have the ability to do the same and go on to create their own business one day.
Describe a typical day for you?
Most days start pretty early, the house gets up and we all have breakfast together. I’ll get into work early and start with a meditation in the car before entering the studio. After that, Buddy (our dog/ shop mascot) and I go and get a coffee, work through morning emails and then walk through the studio and check in with everyone. I try and have a quick ’touch base’ with all staff before sitting down to start my day. Most of the day is spent working and reworking the NMJ site, overseeing and managing the flow of wholesale, and on the phone and email to suppliers, building new relationships and negotiating costs and placement of the brand across every avenue. In a sense, I am the invisible Natalie. The majority of my time and energy is spent building and strengthening the foundations of the brand and its founder Natalie.
Everyday I am looking at our processes and procedures, our branding and all of its touch points, trying to better them and implement new ideas and refine the brands collateral to improve our customers experience. Alongside empowering each and everyone of our staff by listening to them, guiding and sometimes telling long winded stories that have anecdotal messages. I would spend all day with everyone of our staff if I could. The other chunk of the day is spent shooting new pieces that the team has made, retouching them and building product on line. In between that I’ll have a few too many coffees in back to back meetings with the team. Then in the afternoon get chocolates for the team, then get told off for buying junk food for everyone, so I eat it myself.
What is your most treasured piece of jewellery?
My wedding band that was a custom design and made by Natalie. It's a very deep version of the Classic Half Round Ring made in 18ct Yellow Gold. A very close second is my family signet. My dad has his family signet that never leaves his left hand pinky finger, that was given to him at an early age. I replicated it for myself with every tiny detail, even down to the underside of the signet face there was a small impression of another ring that my dad used to wear that rubbed and created an indent.
What is your favourite Natalie Marie piece?
Very tricky to pick a favourite as I love so many of the designs for different occasions… I do love the Rose Ring with Australian Blue Sapphire for the stunning design and the beautiful deep blue in the sapphire. There is something about an Australian deep blue Sapphire that’s somehow hypnotic.
Where would we find you on the weekend? How would you unwind?
Unwinding is something that I’m not very good at, despite how much Natalie wishes I could. If we are not working our weekends usually start at the beach, Willa, our daughter loves the beach. And so does Natalie. I think she was a mermaid in other life. We will move from the beach into Avalon for a juice and coffee then home for a run around the yard. Shoes are very rarely worn.
How do you find time to juggle being a business owner, a father, a husband and also finding time for yourself and your passions?
That's a really tricky question to answer because I never really feel like it's a juggle. I see it all as one beautiful thing and then only having to delineate the time difference between them to then be present. I’m extremely fortunate to find my passions are being a business owner, a husband, being a father and everything in-between. If I get to tinker on the house or my bike, that’s just icing on the top.
Coffee or tea? How do you take it?
Coffee! Tea is for when you are sick or 80 years old. I have it black or with just a drop of milk.
Beach, City or Mountains?
Beach, everyday of the week. I need to live close to the water, the salt air and the vastness of the ocean.
What inspires you?
I’m a creative enthusiast. I adore the small details and curated, well executed branding. And learning from people that have built brands and companies that others gravitate towards. I’m constantly inspired by dedicated people who see what they do to be their craft, that they want to constantly improve and it is not just a job that they get paid for.
If you could live anywhere else, apart from Sydney, where would you be living?
This is a funny one, but I do love the US. I’ve always felt connected to Newport, Orange County, LA. I’ve been there around 15-20 times in the last 10 years and always felt there was a sense of familiarity or a sense of home.
There is something special about American's and their view of dreams and success. When they see someone drive down the street in a Porsche, they don’t think or say, ‘oh look at that poser’ they congratulate them for achieving their dreams and becoming successful (please note that success isn’t based on the fact that person is driving a Porsche, it's an example). Unlike in the UK and here in Australia, when someone is driving a Porsche and we think 'look at that poser'… haha. I just like the positive embrace to chasing dreams and achieving them. There is also something about Singapore, I lived there for a few years in my early twenties and feel like I could move back in a second. It's an incredible life there.
What are you listening to right now?
Ry x, Unfurl. The Paper Kites, On the Corner Where You Live… pretty much both on repeat. With a curve ball of Bring Me the Horizon & TesseracT.
Describe yourself in 5 words...
Ultra-perfectionist, germaphobe, acquired-taste, loving, father.
What kind of challenges do you set yourself in life?
Absurdly over the top challenges. I have a rather basic belief, that if you want to do or achieve something, then do it. Simply do it. We are all too often controlled by the fear of failure and what others think.
Basic point explained; I am 99% self educated, I never went to fashion school or studied design, but it didn’t stop me from becoming the Head Designer and Head Creative for MJ Bale, Australia’s biggest menswear brand. I wanted to be a fashion designer so I did. I try to learn something new everyday. I sometimes over do it and stimulate my brain too much that I can’t sleep. While I’m editing the site and writing code, I’ll have a movie running in the corner of my screen and be writing notes with my left hand. This year I want to learn sign language and teach my daughter to sign too.
What are you most grateful for?
Life. My spectacular wife, my miracle baby girl and my strange and wonderful family.
The simple fact that I get to work along side a bunch of brilliant people who all share the same goal, ethos and basic belief in what we do each day and all take exceptional amounts of pride in what they do.
What is your least known talent?
When I was in a band (and a lot younger) we toured and played a lot of venues alongside a bunch of fantastic bands. And I unfortunately got stuck with the nickname ‘Liquid Legs’ which was because when we played I would dance around the stage playing the guitar and my legs were somewhat fluid. Natalie was swooned by my gracefulness and slick moves… haha
And finally, what is the best piece of advice that you have been given?
The two quotes that come to mind are;
"Your competition isn’t other people. Your competition is your procrastination. Your ego. The unhealthy food you’re consuming, the knowledge you neglect. The negative behaviour you’re nurturing and your lack of creativity. Compete against that."
What was the basic belief and how I was brought up at the Rudolph Steiner school I went to.
"You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.”
Two good pinches of advice for anyone who want to own and run a business and most importantly lead a team.