I met Zoe about five years ago not long after I had arrived in Auckland. She was my neighbour, and two things immediately struck me about her: this gorgeous welcoming smile and that she always wore the most amazing jewellery! I had no idea at the time about this brand called Zoe and Morgan that was making its mark in the best-dressed London and New Zealand scene.
Zoe, at the time was working from an office set up in the spare room. She had not long been back in Auckland after living in London, where Zoe and Morgan, like so many great things, began on the kitchen table. Nowadays, she works from a stunning studio and retail space at City Works Depot. They also have a store in Notting Hill, London, and their line is stocked in over eighty retail stores worldwide.
Earlier in the year, her sister Ruth, who heads the London store, was back home visiting; so I took advantage of this to capture two of the three siblings working together.
Jewellery making wasn’t something new to Zoe, Ruth, and to their brother Morgan, who jointly head the brand. Their father was a silversmith and gem specialist. They’d often spend their afternoons tinkering around his workshop. I told Zoe that just like it must be now for her daughter, it would be any girl’s dream to have a parent make such gorgeous things that they could wear. She told me that her father was big on instilling values, and if they wanted any of the jewellery he’d made, they would have to work for it, and he’d have them do chores around the shop. With this sort of work ethos combined with a passion for jewellery, it’s no wonder the three of them would go on to create a successful business.
Life was an adventure for Zoe, Morgan and Ruth from their earliest days. Born in the UK to an English mother and Argentinean father, they first arrived in New Zealand when Zoe was just a baby. The voyage took six weeks, travelling through Jamaica and Panama. They settled in New Zealand for three years before they went travelling again through Japan and India before settling in the English countryside. She was six when they returned to New Zealand.
While the three siblings each live in different cities around the world – Zoe in Auckland, Morgan in Bali and Ruth in London – they have a strong bond. No doubt this is a testament to their parents, who nurtured their relationships and free-spirits. Zoe told me that during their early childhood they were all very close and created adventures wherever they lived. She couldn’t imagine a life not being connected. Their shared business, which is conducted from the three cities, just makes perfect sense.
It wasn’t until they were well into their twenties, and working in their respective careers that the idea of following in their father’s footsteps arose. It started with some gemstones that Morgan brought back from India. He and Zoe decided to make something with them. He was already living in Bali when they started Zoe and Morgan. The business worked well because they could make jewellery in Bali and sell it in London. Ruth joined them a few years later. They were also very lucky to get their collections into Paris Fashion week early on – some brands try for years without success.
Their business has continued to expand, especially with the recent launch of their engagement and wedding collection, which has been extremely well received and has opened up new possibilities.
Behind the brand are beautiful people making beautiful things. With this combination, you understand why Zoe and Morgan is just getting bigger and bigger. The history of each themed collection has been well researched, with stones and ancient symbols of significance and meaning incorporated into the range. Their designs have a serious edge, they cater to a range of tastes and yet they don’t sway from their definitive style. Even looking back to their very first collection – which was launched nearly eleven years ago –it would fit in right now. Timeless cool.
Thank you Zoe and Ruth for having me!
In case you missed it, as I make my way to my new life in Sweden, the month of September is my homage to this beautiful country that I called home for over five years. It’s a dedication to its people and talent. Pop back on Monday for more New Zealand Month.
Photos by Mel Chesneau for Styled Canvas