We love to bring you the stories about the people behind our brands. This year we are so happy to kick of with Ella from the brilliant Monarc Jewellery. We spoke to Ella all about her brand and her life as a working Mum.
What inspired you to launch Monarc?
I was living in Italy in my early 20s and during that time, I studied in Florence at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). This equipped me with a foundation of jewellery knowledge, however, my real industry education began upon joining a global production company. The responsibility of co-designing and managing a number of European accounts for a jewellery manufacturing house taught me the art of making seasonal jewellery collections, and working with a global clientele schooled me on a range of cultures and aesthetics. Having seen some of my ideas utilised by other brands for several years, I began to question whether there was a better, gentler way to do things. In 2017, after gaining the confidence to try it out, I took a leap of faith and started Monarc Jewellery & Concierge. I haven’t looked back :)
Tell us a bit about your brand DNA.
My driving aim was to present intelligent design and premium materials, with a focus on bespoke service. Sustainability & ethical practice have been the guiding principles of Monarc’s operations and brand decisions since day one. I believe that every decision I make for Monarc should be rooted in good intention, from the design to choosing carefully procured and considered materials, right along the whole production process. I want those wearing Monarc to feel good about the jewellery that becomes a part of their lives.
I would describe Monarc’s aesthetic as modern classics and timeless jewellery that can be worn now and passed onto future generations. I consider the physical, styling and emotional longevity of each Monarc creation. If an idea hints at being trend-driven, or not durable, it’s not something that will become a Monarc Jewellery piece or collection.
Your roots are in New Zealand - what brought you to the UK and what do you miss most about home?
In 2013, I was working for an international jewellery production company (in their Sydney office) and the opportunity to manage their portfolio of European accounts came up, so I jumped at the chance. Having been based in Europe for a number of years in my recent past, I felt comfortable and excited to get back to London.
I miss my family first and foremost. I also miss camping and going on spontaneous summer road trips. I miss impromptu BBQ dinners/al fresco drinks with mates after a day at the beach. Despite living overseas for the best part of 14 years, I still call Mount Maunganui, New Zealand home and this is where my family lives. It’s an anchoring place and one to which I always return. My love for the beach lifestyle inspires me the most; a slower, more peaceful, coastal existence.
You have become a Mum in the past year - what effect has this had on running your business, if any?
It’s been a hugely humanising experience. I’ve become more collaborative and I have learned to rely on my team mates moreso. Monarc is a really tight-knit team of four women that work across three different time zones, so being a mum and awake across the night has its advantages. I have slowly come to terms with achieving less than I did pre-motherhood, but in many ways I think being a mum has made me more selective and efficient.
What is coming up for Monarc this year?
Monarc has two new collections that are ready for imminent launch. These collections span demi-fine, fine and hair accessories (hair is new for us). I have been working with the experts at Glasshouse Salon (owned by Kiwi, Olivia Crighton) to create functional hair pieces that can be worn as part of your everyday look (elevated ponytail or quick, no-fuss up do) or an elegant hair element that can be used for a special occasion.
Monarc’s new Plesur Collection is one that I feel super passionate about! I have held Monarc back from using coloured gemstones in collections to date because I haven’t been happy with current and commercial methods to obtain gemstones. Mining is really detrimental to the environment (no matter which way it’s spun), so I have worked for over two years to collect heirloom stones and alluvial gemstones, meaning that the Plesur Collection will fit with Monarc’s steadfast commitment to operating sustainably and ethically.
I have absolutely loved the experience of hunting down heirloom and estate jewellery, and meeting with the people who have held their jewellery for the years prior to Monarc purchasing it for upcycling. I feel the history held by each upcycled gemstone imbues the new Plesur Collection with so much more life. Due to the nature of using heirloom stones, many pieces will be limited runs and one-offs.
Lastly - what are your hopes and dreams for 2022?
I am incredibly excited to introduce my baby to my family and the New Zealand lifestyle, (hopefully someday really soon when the NZ borders open)!