[ There is nothing we love more than spotlighting incredible women who are shaking things up in the field of art, beauty, politics, design and more. These women are our SAUCETTES. Our ultimate trailblazers. ]
NICOLA MORRIS | FOUNDER & DIRECTOR OF MIRAMÔR
The former lawyer, upon returning home to New Zealand (after living in London for several years) realised there was a gap in the market for bespoke unique jewellery. “I fell in love with jewellery all over again when my mother-in-law gave me some family jewellery made in her native Lebanon. I have always known what I liked and often felt that pieces that I wanted were not available here (in Auckland) — not because they were so expensive but that there was an inability to get special individual and unique touches on jewellery,” she said.
So she took control on things, and a bespoke jewellery atelier, Miramôr was born!
Entrepreneurship is a dramatically different path from working as a lawyer in a firm. What inspired you to strike out on your own?
I have always loved jewellery and the sentimentality attached to pieces. I think it is special to have a story to tell about a piece of jewellery. My grandpa gave me a gold sovereign when I was about 10, which I made into a necklace as an adult. I have refashioned family jewellery over the years and had pieces re-designed.
I also felt that jewellery was being increasingly made for the masses with little thought, and while the pieces I loved were not totally abstract and unusual, there was an inability to put finishing personal touches on it. Everything felt the same.
Looking back, starting a business has probably been a gradual process but it started to take hold when I was looking for some earrings to be made. It was an underwhelming experience and I thought that there had to be a better way!
Tell us something about Miramôr and what makes it so unique?
The process of buying a piece of jewellery should make you feel special. We want to provide an excellent experience for people as they make an important purchase and want to spend the extra time consulting with clients one-on-one to bring their ideas to life. Miramôr is about craftsmanship, excellent design, and quality manufacturing. These are few of the many ways we differ from other quality jewellers. They have shop assistants selling a pre-determined range of stock, and we have design experts who work seamlessly with our on-site master jewellers to craft bespoke pieces.
Are there any female entrepreneurs that you admire?
To be honest, as a mother and a business owner, I admire women generally trying to raise strong, secure, and happy children, who work hard, maintain relationships and keep going even when it all sometimes feels exhausting. Balance is actually the hardest lesson. Sometimes, I think it would be easier to be unbalanced. I have learned a lot from my previous two bosses—one in Auckland and one in London. Now running Miramôr, I often hear and recognise one of my past employers, Carrie Hobson, in the way I operate and communicate with people. I respect the way she operates her business and her life in general.
I admire my parents as well. They are not entrepreneurs but have had successful working lives, but most importantly, they have created a strong and happy family unit. They have a wonderful outlook on life, and I learn from them constantly. Take opportunities when they arise and always work hard and be a good person. Doors will open.
What is your morning routine like and your secret for feeling beautiful amid a busy schedule?
There are two types of morning routines—my ultimate and my reality. I am generally woken by my 14-month-old and we have a cuddle in bed delaying the start of the day until my four-year-old runs into our bed. There’s usually four of us in bed by 6:45 a.m. I’ll get up and have warm water with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Once I have got the girls their breakfast, I will jump in the shower. If it is a day with my daughters, then it will generally be a quick change into my gym gear. I will always start with applying Bioelements Moisture x10 hydrating facial serum, followed by my moisturiser.
I am currently using Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion. I will always use eye cream, my favourite being Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair. I have quite dry skin, so I am a big moisturiser and oil person. I love body and facial oils. Currently, I am using a Damascus Rose with Lavender and chamomile body oil by Badger on my body and Sunday Riley’s Flora oil on my face at night. I will then either use a Lancôme BB cream if I am just at home with the girls or otherwise my Bobbi Brown or MAC foundations. I like MAC Mineralise Moisture SPF foundation, as it is not too dry or matte on my skin. I will also apply Bobbi Brown blush (Pot rouge for lips and cheeks in powder pink), my MAC bronzer and mascara. If I am in the studio, then I will put on some eyeshadow (Bobbi Brown long wear cream shadow in Shore) and eyeliner (Rimmel waterproof eye definer in rich brown). My go-to lipstick for the day is Bobbi Brown Sandwash pink and for a bit more colour - MAC Crave. I can’t leave the house without Blistex!
Your favourite parfums and fragrances
I love fragrances. Smelling a perfume from my past will take me right back to the feelings and the place I was at the time. Chance by Chanel will always remind me of being single in London and Givenchy Ange ou Demon of my wedding and husband. Dolce reminds me of my daughter. Coco Chanel Mademoiselle reminds me of my mum. I always have a few perfumes on the go and at the moment, I am loving Miu Miu and Tocca Bianca.
How do you care for your hair and style it every day?
This is straightforward. I am quite possibly the only woman who does not own hair straighteners, as I have straight hair. If I am not going anywhere, then I will just wash my hair and tie it back. Otherwise, I will dedicate five minutes to blow-drying it and maybe add a bit of hairspray. I’d love to be more into my hair but it’s always long and no-fuss.
What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps, either in their career or making a change in their life?
My advice for young entrepreneurs is that corporate and big business experience is useful at the start of your career. It teaches rigour, discipline, and organisational skills. I think it is vital to surround yourself with people who have excellent and different skills than you. For example, my husband, parents, close friends, and advisors have been an invaluable support and Miramôr wouldn’t exist without them. Get help, get supporters, and know what you stand for and what your proposition is. Seek wise counsel and also trust yourself. Plan well. Don’t just think you’ll do it on the fly. Preparation is key.
I think my background in executive search has made it clear that career change is good and healthy and more likely in the world we are living. I think that people need to be strategic and know what their strengths are and also be prepared to work hard and not expect an easy ride early on in their career. Work gets easier as you get more senior and if you work hard at what you do, get on with people, and are strategic, doors will open. I would never have dreamed that firstly, I would have moved from practising law into executive search work and then own a jewellery business. So long as your career changes are thought through, deliberate, and make sense as part of the story of your life, then change is great!
Zeenat Wilkinson is the Founder and Editorial Director of Sauce.
Her work as a fashion producer, writer, and freelance stylist can be seen in the likes of Vogue, Grazia, Nylon and Black Magazine, internationally, and locally in Fashion Quarterly, Viva/NZ Herald and more. 100% dog person.