Without small business, we’re nothing. TheLatch— and GoDaddy have teamed up to rally behind local businesses and entrepreneurs during this unprecedented time of change.
We’re speaking to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to better understand how they’re adapting to stay open, how they’re keeping their community safe, and how we can support them now during this time, and beyond. We’re focused on keeping Australia open for business, even if doors are closed. #OpenWeStand
Natalie Marie Jewellery is a family owned jewellery company based in Avalon on the northern beaches of Sydney. Jeweller Natalie Fitch launched the brand in 2012, with a desire to combine precious, fine jewellery, with fashion forward pieces.
My connection to Natalie Marie Jewellery goes back years. I’ve been a devoted fan of the sustainable jewellery brand pretty much since its inception, writing about the label from way back (case in point: when I was the fashion editor at Who What Wear Australia, I interviewed Natalie about the process of how her beautiful pieces are created).
But it’s not just a connection that’s forged through work. A few years ago when I was getting married, my mum and dad gifted me a bespoke ring, created by Natalie Marie Jewellery. It was a beautiful process, visiting the designer’s Avalon studio and creating and a piece I’ll cherish forever — an heirloom that I hope will stay in our family for generations to come.
Natalie’s work is timeless, sustainable and special. Aside from my family heirloom piece, I also wear an oval signet on my pinkie, engraved with my initial. Both pieces never leave my fingers. They’ve become a part of me. I’ve spoken to many friends who are lucky enough to own a piece of Natalie Marie Jewellery, and they all say the same thing.
It was an honor to catch up with Natalie to interview her for this story.
Here’s how the Avalon-based brand is finding new ways to operate.
Amanda Bardas: Tell me a bit about your business and why you love what you do. What gets you up in the morning?
Natalie Fitch: We have a small, talented and dedicated team passionate about traditionally handcrafted jewellery. All our pieces are hand crafted to order.
As a jeweller myself, I am passionate about creating high quality pieces which become significant parts of our clients stories, almost always in the name of love. It’s a great privilege to create wearable pieces which are consciously crafted, with a focus on sustainable materials and processes.
AB: How has your business been affected by coronavirus?
NF: Like many businesses, the majority of our team are now working from home — including most of our jewellers. We have pulled back to skeleton staff managing our studio, and have had to all adapt rapidly and implement new procedures to make this work. I am so proud of how the team have managed this transition and continued to push our processes through with minimal disruption to production times. We are still taking orders as normal, and production times are not delayed.
As a team, we are on Zoom or FaceTime meetings throughout the day to continue working ‘together’ as much as possible and we’re doing our best to continue working as swiftly as possible.
In line with government guidelines, our beautiful Avalon showroom is now open by appointment only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Our in-person appointment structure has changed and is now limited to one appointment running at any one time. Appointments are now held in our main showroom instead of our consultation rooms, to enable safe distancing precautions. Our bespoke team are also taking virtual consultations via Zoom and as usual are constantly working through email, ensuring we are able to facilitate all enquiries at this time.
Our online store remains open and our customer care team are here for our customers more than ever. We also offer virtual showroom appointments via phone, email or video calls, as we have always done, but it’s a service that is being taken up more often now.
AB: What does it mean for you now?
NF: Right now, it means taking each day as it comes. We’re lucky in that we have a loyal and devoted customer base and like us, they seem to believe that love must go on. We are committed to bringing joy to our customers and will continue to create our pieces via this new way of working for as long as we need to.
We have had to reduce our full time staff hours so we can maintain the business beyond this pandemic. We discussed it with our wider head office team and while it was a difficult decision, ultimately something we needed to do for the long-term success of our staff and the business.
Depending on how long this pandemic lasts, elements of our supply chain may be impacted which will obviously make sourcing a little more difficult — at this point, we’re not there yet so we’re just taking each day as it comes and putting our energy into what we can do to keep moving forward.
AB: Have you put any immediate plans in place to pivot your business?
NF: At NMJ, we have been working with customers all over the world for some time now. Technology is a beautiful thing and enables us to handcraft and sell pieces to customers no matter where in the world they are. However, with great challenges, there is always the opportunity for a new perspective and I think what we’ve learnt in the past couple of weeks is just how important community is. We will be focusing on building out this pillar of our business in the coming weeks and ensure we bring value to our customers at all times.
AB: How can the community support your business in the short term?
NF: We understand that grand gestures aren’t possible for everyone right now and investing in jewellery may not be a priority. As such, we have a couple of exciting new pieces that our team are working hard on bringing to life as we want to continue to bring joy and to share love with our customers and community in an affordable way.
So much of what we do at NMJ is centred around love and we truly believe that love must go on. So, if you can, share a token of love with your bestie, your partner, your parent or as a gift to yourself — it might not be essential, but it will last forever and your support means the world to us. If you’re not in a position to do so, we totally understand and we will be here when you’re ready to share a little love.
Keep connecting with us, talk to us and ask us questions on Instagram or send us an email — hearing from our customers truly does make our days.
AB: Do you think the current health pandemic will change the way you operate your business in the long term?
NF: It’s perhaps too early to tell what business might look like long term. For now, we’re remaining hopeful, positive and hoping for health and happiness for all.