These hands belong to Natalie, owner and founder of Natalie Marie Jewellery. Natalie, along with her husband, Daniel, have built this business out of a passion for beautiful objects, a natural appreciation for handcrafted pieces, and a desire to create. Find out more about what inspires Natalie, where home is and the art of slowing down.
Who do these hands belong to?
Natalie, owner and founder of Natalie Marie Jewellery.
How did the brand start & how did it evolve into what it is today?
I started NMJ after finishing my university studies in Jewellery and object. Initially, solely creating individual pieces for friends and family and creating one off designs. I spent this time experimenting with my style while developing on my skills. At first, I had an very basic home studio set up, it took me several years to build up my tools and equipment. With each incremental step forward and each individual project I was able to both expand on my studio set up and further my skills and knowledge.
After about three years of working in this way (alongside full time employment), I started to gain support from a handful of boutique stores and individual customers. I then started working on small run collections which I singlehandedly produced from my only slightly less basic home studio. I launched the online store in 2013, and started to create bespoke bridal pieces in 2014. I was lucky enough during this period to forge relationships with a couple of amazing mentors in the industry who offered guidance and an opportunity to learn.
I continued full time employment alongside the business until late 2016, when I eventually took the plunge to work on the business full time. I finally set up an official external studio in 2016, sharing with a local artist, and hired my first employee. Once I could finally dedicate my entire self to my passion, the business grew and evolved rapidly. The last three years have seen NMJ grow from a two person operation, to a fifteen strong team. While our scale may have rapidly changed, I am proud that our ethos and character still stands strong, and that we are still creating work with the same care, attention to detail and personal investment as I poured into each of those first pieces I made.
Describe a typical day for you?
On an ideal day, I rise early before my almost two year old and squeeze in a quick morning meditation and shower before she wakes. We eat breakfast as a family and get out the door to work nice and early. Now that I am a mum, I work 3-4 days a week in the studio. Where I used to make every single piece myself, I now spend very little time actually on the bench. As the business has grown, so has the work associated with running it!
A significant portion of my time is taken up working on bespoke projects with our clients. This involves consultations, quoting, sourcing, designing and lots of emails. I also design our three seasonal collections each year with Em, and plan, cost and creatively manage the execution of these. Other tasks include managing our fifteen strong team, accounts management, marketing and media planning etc. This year we have had a massive focus on improving our internal and external systems so there are lots of internal meetings regarding focused initiatives both big and small to work towards these goals.
The days usually fly by and before I know it its time to finish up and collect my girl. We try to go for an afternoon swim or a play in the park before heading home for dinner and usually a little bit more work before an early night.
What is your most treasured piece of jewellery?
My engagement ring. Dan designed my engagement ring completely on his own and had it made without my knowledge. People always wonder if I designed my own ring but I was truly so grateful that he was bold enough to surprise me, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The ring features his grandmothers Old European Cut diamond which is around 2 carat in size. Its such a unique stone with a beautiful cut and is obviously so deeply precious to me and the whole family for the history it holds. The stone is set in a simple four claw platinum setting, on a knife edge yellow gold band. Simple and perfect.
What is your favourite Natalie Marie piece?
Where would we find you on the weekend? How would you unwind?
On sunny days you’ll always find us at the beach. We are lucky enough to live close by and always dedicate a decent chunk of our weekend to being outside in the sunshine. I am a massive homebody and my favourite weekends are those with no plans where we can potter at home and rest and recharge. Weeks are busy, in fact life is busy in general, so weekends are really about stopping and spending time as a family.
Coffee or tea? How do you take it?
Earl Grey tea, black, with a hint of honey, just like my mum. I used to be a big coffee drinker but gave it up when I was pregnant and haven’t looked back.
Beach, City or Mountains?
The beach, always. I do enjoy an injection of city time too - as long as I can come home to a quiet, breezy seaside home.
Favourite holiday destination?
Home to Europe to see my family. It’s not always necessarily a relaxing holiday but one which fills my heart more than anything else.
What advice would you give to anyone considering to be a jeweller?
Work steadily, develop your skills diligently and with patience, and practise practise practise.
What inspires you?
Materials and processes. I have always preferred designing from a practise based methodology, with an organic, explorative approach.
What were you doing before Natalie Marie Jewellery was born?
I was working full time alongside NMJ for the first four years. I spent my days working firstly as a studio manager at an architecture and design studio, and then later in fashion retail and buying. My nights and weekends were spent tapping away in my home studio with every spare minute I had. This is where the brand was born, and those years were invaluable in terms of gaining experience and knowledge about business, the fashion industry and the nature of hard work. They also shaped me and my work ethic, repeatedly tested and pushed me to exceed my own expectations and showed me what a bit of blood sweat and tears can do.
What are you currently reading?
Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe.
Where do you consider home to be?
I am in a unique position where I have a home in two places. I grew up in Bournemouth, England, where most of my family still live; moving to Sydney when I was 21. Having now spent a third of my life here in Sydney, created a home and a family and built this business, my everyday home is undoubtedly here in Sydney. Having said that, my heart will always feel a strong pull back to my original home back in England with my family.
What is your favourite daily ritual?
Breakfast at home with my little family. A little window of time before the chaos of the day starts.
What are you most grateful for?
My family (both near and far), my home, and this life we have built together. The life I live now is so far outside what I could have imagined for myself as a little girl living in the rainy South of England. I never take a second of it for granted.
I have immense gratitude for the team we have built at Natalie Marie. Most of our team have been with us long term, and are really considered family. We are passionate about investing in team members who can grow with us, and ride this journey together. Our investment has truly paid off in that we have created a team of dedicated, passionate and talented people, who choose to spend their days pouring love and energy into our pieces and our customers.
What is the best piece of advice you've been given?
There is no such thing as luck, you create your own luck through your actions, thoughts and attitudes. A precious gem from my school headmistress when I was about 13.
Describe your life until now in 5 words?
Up, down, everything in between.
If you could share a pot of tea with anyone, who would it be?
My mum. We live worlds apart, her in rural France and me here in Sydney. She is my best friend and though we are always in touch and are as close as ever, I miss her physical presence every single day. I would choose tea with her any day.