Natalie Fitch never set out to launch a business, but her passion for meaningful jewellery has propelled her to success.
Natalie Fitch has her own spacious office, but prefers to spend as much time as possible in the showroom of her jewellery store on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
“I just love seeing people come and pick up their jewellery. It’s amazing to see clients see their pieces for the first time.
Through the highs and lows of the eight years since founding her business – Natalie Marie Jewellery – this personal connection to customers still matters. “It’s very humbling and rewarding.”
Fitch is one of the business owners featured in Afterpay's Make it your way campaign, which celebrates entrepreneurs and founders who are carving their own paths and building businesses that reflect their values and passions.
Today Natalie Marie Jewellery employs 12 jewellers. But the business began organically, 13 years ago, with Fitch creating pieces for her friends from her kitchen table.
“I never set out to have my own business or even be a jewellery designer. But I’ve always been a really hands-on, crafty person.”
Within a few years, Fitch was selling her pieces, and in the early years, she would arrive home from her day-job, only to spend hours every evening in her garage slowly building her first collection.
I never set out to have my own business - or even be a jewellery designer.
“It was a passion project,” she says. “It was a hugely developmental period, but it was really full on… as anyone who has built a business will know. I just worked! I don’t remember much.”
After three years, Fitch hired her first employee, but even today, the brand retains a personal approach and a commitment to meaningful and intentional jewellery.
“Everything we make is created with a strong intention and sense of meaning behind it,” says Fitch, pointing to a recent Mother’s Day piece, called the Polaris Bracelet, which features a central diamond set like a star to represent the role of mothers as a guiding light.
It’s this purpose-led approach that Fitch says sets Natalie Marie Jewellery apart.
“For so many decades, people have gone into a store and bought something off a shelf, whereas now I think there’s a resurgence in a desire for something that feels unique and meaningful.
“We create modern heirlooms… pieces that become a tangible expression of a moment or feeling.”
The jewellers at Natalie Marie Jewellery use sustainably sourced materials and are trained in traditional techniques. “There is an art to jewellery making, and something has been lost along the way with technological advances. We’re trying to nurture [our jewellery makers] in the studio and help develop the next generation.”
Part of nurturing the next generation of jewellers means ensuring that Natalie Marie Jewellery embraces and supports female jewellers. “We have a really strong female staff, and we have four pregnant staff members at the moment, so we’re focused on [working with the] team in new or different ways.”
As a mother of two young children, Fitch rates flexibility is one of the biggest benefits of running her own business. “I love running a business – but it’s not for the faint-hearted! Having flexibility is so valuable.”
Many of Natalie Marie Jewellery’s pieces are personalised with engravings or unique touches, while others are completely custom-made for a particular occasion or anniversary.
“We have a lot of couples who will come in for an engagement piece and then come back for a wedding band and then when they have their first baby or an anniversary.”
“I still find it incredible that our pieces can become such a significant part of someone’s everyday life.”
For Fitch, offering Afterpay comes back to her desire to put her customers’ needs first. “It’s because I’m so engaged with customers and because I understand why they’re purchasing pieces that we decided to offer Afterpay.
“We wanted to make our pieces as accessible as possible. Afterpay provides our customers the opportunity to buy a piece that really speaks to them – it’s about giving our clients options.”