Fine jewellery designer, Sarah Gittoes, from cult label Sarah & Sebastian is the latest inspiring woman to be featured for 'An Organised Life With...'
I visited the beautiful Sarah in her inspiring Sydney based office to see where the magic happens (literally) and to chat all things stationery, organisation, business and future goals!
Name: Sarah Gittoes
Occupation: Co-founder & Creative Director @ SARAH & SEBASTIAN
Ok, so first things first, you co-founded SARAH & SEBASTIAN in 2011 with Robert Sebastian Grynkofki, how did it all begin and what was that light bulb moment when you both decided to start the brand? Did you have any business experience previously?…
At the time, I had never dreamed the jewellery I was making for friends would be the beginnings of SARAH & SEBASTIAN. After completing a Bachelor of Design degree at UNSW, my father built me a jewellery bench to hand make pieces in my studio apartment. We collaborated with local stylists and designed one-of-a-kind pieces for editorial campaigns. Robert and I built our first website and our brand grew awareness; it felt relatively organic. Neither of us had previous experience in setting up a business so we made plenty of mistakes and learned on the go. Eventually working full-time and running SARAH & SEBASTIAN became too much, so in 2014 we quit our jobs and took a leap of faith.
What have your biggest pinch me moments been?…
We have been blessed to have had so many exciting moments, such as opening our first retail store in Paddington, Sydney, awarded the Prix de Marie Claire for best Australian accessories brand, seeing our jewellery on the runway with Dion Lee at NYFW and setting the diamond in our first ever engagement ring, purchased by a beautiful couple. Now, my biggest pinch moment happens when I reflect on the size of the business today knowing its modest beginnings, with an incredible team and being able to do what I love on a daily basis.
Designed and handcrafted in your Sydney studio, each of your SARAH & SEBASTIAN pieces are made with the highest quality materials including ethically sourced stones - I'm sure having these amazing standards and values within your brand hasn't always made it the most straight forward process at times. What have the most challenging moments been and how did you power through and keep going?…
It’s definitely a challenge to manufacture in Australia. Our geographical isolation limits our ability to incorporate new processes in design and manufacture, which are relatively accessible overseas. Finding skilled jewellers is probably our greatest difficulty; sadly the craft is not a common vocation. We always manage to overcome challenges though, I think being surrounded by a strong team with a passion for what they do makes all the difference. The brand couldn’t succeed without their dedication and willingness to problem solve with Robert and myself.
The thing I love about SARAH & SEBASTIAN is how refined and timeless your designs are however they always have a point of difference. I love the new Zodiac Collection and the Heirloom Collection which show this perfectly. Where does your inspiration come from?
I find inspiration wherever it comes to me. I tend to draw on art, travel, architecture and industrial design, though nature often finds a way to influence our collections.
As a business woman it's always important to have a support network by your side - who are yours?
Robert, my business partner, is a dear friend and wonderful support. We have worked together for 7 years now and he has been by my side through every high and low. In my personal life, my partner inspires me to be the best version of myself and I value my parents and sister for their words of wisdom and encouragement.
Looking back on your career to date - what would your advice be for budding like minded entrepreneurs …
Explore every opportunity and don’t be afraid of hard work. Sometimes you’ll have to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of the business, but it will be worth it down the track. Take pride in what you do and never compromise on the quality of your product. Know your vision and stay on point with your goals. Running your own business is both a challenging and rewarding experience.
Why is organisation so important to you? and have you always been organised?
Yes! When I am designing / sketching my workspace can become cluttered, however I am a stickler for order and things are quickly moved to their right place. This allows me to think clearly.
What are the top 3 ways you organise your life?
Living as minimally as possible.
- Google calendar
One notebook at a time – always with me especially at my bedside table as most design ideas come to be right before sleep.
NOTE: Sarah uses the An Organised Life "Aries Zodiac Notebook" - Shop It Here
Stationery wise - are you a….Diary Lover / To Do List Lover / Calendar Lover / Sketch Book lover - or all of the above?!
Sketch book lover!
NOTE: Sarah uses the An Organised Life "Dreamer" sketchbook - Shop It Here
What is the one thing you are notoriously disorganised at?!…
Responding to text messages / emails. I much prefer a phone call.
Talk us through your workspace - What are your essentials you need at your desk and how would you describe the vibe?
My workspace feels like home.
I love green and succulents are easy to maintain at work. I potted a little garden in a hand made pot from Japan.
D.S. & Durga perfume
An artwork by MISO
A collection of books from galleries Ive visited – great reference on high rotation
Callipers and a loupe.
And finally - the fun part - what are your plans + goals for SARAH & SEBASTIAN in 2018?
2018 has already been such an exciting year for us, but the second half will be even bigger! We’re launching a new collection later this year and are currently exploring new creative concepts, materials and techniques. You’ll have to keep an eye on SARAH & SEBASTIAN over the next six months..
FOLLOW SARAH & SEBASTIAN:
Instagram / Website