"The world is your cottage, freedom your friend" is an unusual business plan but innovative Kiwi designer jewellers Zoe & Morgan have really made it happen.
The line comes from a poem the three Sibbald children, Morgan (the eldest), Ruth and Zoe (the youngest) grew up with as they followed their self-confessed "hippie" parents, Douglas and Anna, on a wanderlust yacht journey taking them to far-off places including Japan, Panama, Tahiti and Jamaica – ending up in New Zealand.
Douglas was a traditional silver and goldsmith and opened a shop called Moonbird in Devonport where the three kids watched their father create things of beauty. It planted a seed that lay dormant for many years as they later re-created their parents' ability to travel the globe.
After growing up and finishing school in New Zealand, all three went back to the UK – Morgan entering the music industry, Zoe getting into millinery and Ruth into modelling. That was where they stayed until 2005 when Morgan went on a trip to India, returning with a pocket full of unusual, precious gemstones.
Zoe's millinery had taken her to the London and Paris Fashion shows but Morgan said to her: "Why don't we open our own business – and take that to London and Paris?"
Zoe was keen on eventually returning to New Zealand with her husband and yet-to-be born children but the idea awoke an old conversation she'd had with her dad just before he died: "He gave me his jewellery tools and said, 'do something important'.
"At the time I was only 19 and my then boyfriend (now husband) and I wanted to go to England and other parts of the world."
After Morgan's India trip, the Zoe & Morgan business began to take shape – and the pair opened a pop-up shop in the burgeoning tourist mecca of Porto Montenegro, a playground for the rich and famous, in 2012. It worked so well they decided to open shops in London (Primrose Hill) and Auckland.
Zoe (now Zoe Williams, 39) designs and runs the Auckland business, based in the City Works Depot in Wellesley St; Ruth runs the Primrose Hill business; Morgan is the company's designer, based in Bali.
So you can see how they have truly come to live "the world is your cottage, freedom your friend". Zoe says: "The way it works is pretty simple, really. Once a year we all get together in Bali around family holidays. Our Contemporary Collection is produced in Bali and our Wedding Collection in Auckland."
And they do indeed exhibit at the London and Paris Fashion shows, with their products being sold in 50 locations around the world. They have just launched their latest collection, 'You Are The Sky', a homage to mountains – after travelling to Nepal, home to many of the world's highest peaks, for inspiration and to shoot the collection.
They cut their own stones for the collection, sourced stones from Brazil as rough crystals, cutting them into unique shapes – a process that takes six months.
As a business they are also building up their focus on sustainability, using ethically sourced materials and creating jewellery using gold and precious stones but of high quality – definitely not what might be called "fast fashion".
Also a key focus is the choice of partners for the business, including the right technology in HP's OfficeJet Pro printers. For example, the colour green poses a problem when it comes to colour representation – making it difficult to accurately portray the colour green.
However, the OfficeJet captures the colour and Zoe swears by it as an integral part of the daily studio life: "Ours is not a traditional business. So the way we approach things and the tools we use aren't traditional either. The OfficeJet lets me shoot ideas for jewellery on my phone wherever I see them and send them straight back to the office. Saving time which allows more space for creativity."
"We work through it in a way that appeals to our customers. I really enjoy it too – you get to meet people at a beautiful time in their lives, when they are getting married. You get to know them well – and you must, to make sure you are giving them what they really want."
That means a friendly, low-key approach, working through designs in intimate meetings with customers: "It starts with a sketch, then we move to a computer drawing, print it out and then work with the customer. It is better to do it that way as just looking at a computer can mean people just nod when they don't really understand.
"Sitting down in a casual, easy setting and discussing it is all about making them feel comfortable – and then you get to find out what they really want. We draw over the print-out in pencil to make changes and that is how we get best results; people are engaged and can relate to that and feel like they are really part of the process – whereas a computer might not draw them in so much."
It's important to represent stone settings in true colours, especially green which can be difficult to reproduce precisely.