Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns have put tremendous pressure on the global economy, with New Zealand being no exception.
TEXT: ADAM BRYCE
Extreme times like these are renowned for changing the way that businesses and industries operate — creating innovative productivity methods and new ways to communicate and manufacture.
We speak to Jasmin Scott, designer and founder of jewellery brand, Jasmin Sparrow, about change, lessons, future plans, low moments and successes.
Have you implemented any changes that you will keep post-lockdown?
Lockdown has given me a unique opportunity to pause and really consider my business values, to stop and ask a few simple questions; why do I run my own business, what do I want my work/life balance to look like, how can I run a business that has a positive impact on the environment, how do I want my brand to be perceived and how do I want to engage with my community.
Sustainability has been a big one. The business was built with strong ethical values already in place, we’re a conscious brand but there’s always room for improvement. We’ve spent this time road-mapping a path we’d like to take towards being more sustainable, setting goals, communicating these with everyone in our supply chain and we’ve brought on a sustainability consultant to support us on this journey.
What have been your biggest take-away lessons from this time?
Being ‘busy’ doesn’t necessarily result in being productive. I noticed this after having kids, but had slowly fallen back into the ‘busy’ trap. I work far more efficiently in three-hour blocks — this is how I would work when my kids were young, and it’s amazing the results you can achieve in a short (uninterrupted) amount of time. I’ve really enjoyed this slower pace, and I’ve still managed to get all of my work done. I hope to continue to use time as efficiently coming out of this.
The other takeaway from this time has been recognising our strong sense of community. We’ve always had a strong group of women surrounding us and now, more than ever, I’ve felt so supported, connected and held by them.
We also celebrate community through our Sentiments series — our online platform that promotes the longevity of special pieces and encourages mindful purchasing. Through sophisticated storytelling, we profile Jasmin Sparrow’s circle of women on their most cherished pieces. It highlights how these objects have the ability to take on their own life within a space, on a body and, eventually, are able to be passed down through family or community. This has been such a powerful and meaningful movement that we’ve seen huge engagement from. We’ve been working on this series more during lockdown and look forward to sharing more insight into the amazing women we are surrounded by.
In what ways has the lockdown forced you to adjust future plans for your business?
We had big plans to grow into the international market this year. We had just signed with an international sales agency and picked up multiple stores during Paris AW20 sales, who then cancelled their orders due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, which has been a big set back and forced us to re-look at our strategy. It’s given us an opportunity to think about our community, brainstorm ways to engage with them and focus on direct to consumer as well as our retailers in New Zealand and Australia. We recently picked up Sydney boutiques Poepke, Tuchuzy and Lee Mathews who I greatly admire.
We moved into a new showroom right before the lockdown was announced, it felt like the worst timing, but I’ve loved dreaming up ways I can utilise the space after this to bring the Jasmin Sparrow community together once this is over. I’ve been designing pieces that will be available exclusively at the showroom and planning events, I look forward to bringing the community together in a unique and authentic way.
Tell us about the low moments and successes you’ve experienced and how they’ve affected your vision.
We didn’t have ‘global pandemic’ in our contingency plan, so it has come as a shock and definitely taken a toll. I love the numbers side of business but this has made me realise how efficient we need to be with business planning and finances, it’s so important to have strong business foundations and a solid support network — I have a few of these people in my life and I’ve relied on them heavily during this time. I’m coming out of this with a much clearer vision than I had previously.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Business of Fashion podcast. I wrote down a quote that really resonated with me, by the Dazed Media founder Jefferson Hack; “Our artists are vital at this time because they dream the future for us. They create the roadmap of how we are going to get out of here because they can provide hope in a time of hopelessness, they can provide imagination in a time of us feeling that it’s the end of the world when it’s not.”
I love this. I have felt really inspired during lockdown and have been able to design with a lot more clarity. My team of jewellers in Bali have still been working so we’ve been putting together a new collection that I’m really excited about. I’m also going to release a limited-edition ‘party earring’ to celebrate once this is all over. As challenging as this time has been, I think we will unite in a whole new way coming out of this, I’m looking forward to the magic we’ll see at the other end.