If you frequent Avalon Village, you will most likely be familiar with Natalie Marie Jewellery. Their classy showroom sits across from our McGrath offices, two shops up from Alma. When you step inside you’ll find sophisticated and beautiful handmade pieces of jewellery – all designed and made here in Avalon Beach.
I caught up with Natalie to hear more about making jewellery locally, and what it’s like to live and run a growing business in Avalon.
How long have you been a Jewellery creator?
I started making jewellery straight out of university, 11 years ago, I started Natalie Marie Jewellery 8 years ago, we will be celebrating our 8th birthday this year! In the beginning, I worked solo, part-time from home, gradually building things up as we grew. About four years we moved into our first studio space and hired our first employees. Here we are, 4 years later, well, we’ve grown a lot, we’ve had a big few years and now we have our studio, head office, showroom and a much larger team. It’s been a gradual organic growth over the years which has enabled us to stay true to our brand ethos, production methods and values.
Are all your pieces designed and made here in Avalon?
Everything from start to finish is done in-house here in Avalon – the design, the production, it’s all done in our studio, showroom and office in Avalon.
What would a typical day look like in the Natalie Marie Studio?
There is so much going on, it’s pretty busy! The day starts with an unpacking process as all the jewellery is packed away securely overnight. The retail staff set up the showroom for client appointments before jewellers turn up and get stuck into their production work for the day. The online production management team work in the studio office processing, delegating and organising the information from orders to hand over to the jewellers so they can focus solely on the making of the jewellery. Our head office team work on bespoke orders, shipping and logistics, marketing and customer service. Everyone is focused on their individual roles and tasks but essentially our studio acts as the central hub and collaborative space, where the jewellers are on call to meet with customers who have questions or maybe want to see how things are made.
What do you love about living and working in Avalon?
We are very lucky, it’s so rare to be based entirely up in Avalon Beach and have no work commute whatsoever. To live and work in such a beautiful environment is such an amazing privilege for us and our team. It’s not typical for a jewellery business to be based in the Upper Northern Beaches as most are based in the CBD. It’s a unique experience for our staff and team but also our customers… Many come from outside regions to visit for appointments and fittings and then make the most of the trip by staying up this way for the weekend.
How would you describe the style of the jewellery you make?
We have a signature style that has been synonymous with our brand since the early days and we’ve stayed true to that over the years. Generally, the aesthetic is relatively fine and minimal but with an injection of traditional elements. Because we are crafting using traditional techniques, a lot of the classic embellishments are evident in our style. Even if our aesthetic is minimal, the finer details are very important, as is a superior level of craftsmanship. Until recently I had designed our collections independently, but the last four collections have been co-designed with one of my team who I have been working with for many years, and who I actually studied with at university. We are both jewellers at heart so our designs are inspired from a much more material and process based methodology.
Do you have a signature piece or a best seller?
We have a few signature pieces across different categories – our most popular bridal piece is our ‘Signature Solitaire’ which is a paired back classic single stone ring which can feature different shape stones like round, oval or pear. Of our ready to wear everyday range, the signature pieces tend to be of our fine stone collection. We work with some very unique semi precious stones that are cut specifically for us; they’ve become synonymous with our brand.
What brings you the most joy from the work you do?
Definitely seeing the end result and seeing the customer experience the fruition of the process. This is especially meaningful when we are working with bridal clients. I’ve been making jewellery for so long now that I have the privilege of seeing many clients that I made engagement rings for 4 to 5 years ago return to design wedding bands, ‘push’ presents and anniversary gifts. It’s so rewarding to build beautiful long term relationships with customers and be a part of their individual stories. I think this is a unique element of making jewellery and the jewellery industry, pieces such as these are intrinsically sentimental, which means the process has the potential to be really special and connected.