This is the second edition of our Meet the Maker series, where we meet the wonderful people behind the brands we have sourced here at Temple+Co. Here we meet Sarah Agnew, part of the sister duo behind George&Edi who produce the most beautiful range of artisan scented candles, fragrances and room sprays, from their atelier in Wanaka.
Welcome! Please introduce yourself.
Hi I’m Sarah – the CEO/CFO and ‘maker’ of all things G&E.
Tell me how your business came about.
I think I’ve always had an entrepreneurial and creative side, but didn’t fully realise how much so until my early 30s. G&E started as an idea back in 2007 whilst living in Melbourne. Having worked in corporate roles for so long (in London, Sydney and Melbourne), I wanted to shake things up, work for myself and create a brand I could be proud of and which would allow me to live a more creative life.
My sister Rose was in a similar position and so together we created G&E in 2011. We are both passionate about fragrance and interiors and G&E allows us to explore the effects fragrance can have on your feelings and ownership of a space. We think there is nothing quite like coming home, opening the door and being welcomed by a beautiful fragrance that makes you feel relaxed and ‘at home’.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt since beginning your business?
The biggest lesson would be not looking over your shoulder at what others are doing, but to know your ‘why’ and to keep true to your vision and goals for the brand and to have fun!
I know it’s like asking someone to pick a favourite child, but what is your current favourite product from your range? Why?
My favourites change and it’s usually the current thing I’m creating but I would say right now it’s our Liquorice Crème Perfume – I love the simplicity and ease of crème perfume, it's super affordable and you can take it with you, wherever your day may go. We have just had gorgeous black and gold boxes made for these, which I can’t wait to see on our stockists' shelves soon.
I’m also loving our new Darker Side Range of products and fragrances. This range is about more complex and layered fragrances, a little darker in tone and more intriguing and very close to Rose and my hearts, and the packaging is pretty special too – definitely a passion project.
What are the key values behind your brand?
Joy, Integrity, Affordability and a Commitment to bringing quality products to market at a great price. Affordable luxury is always our goal to enable you to ‘live a fragrant life’. We believe in taking time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and little luxuries, like relaxing with a coffee or glass of wine and a perfumed candle at the end of a busy day – rituals that encourage being still, breathing and enjoying the moment you are in right now.
Who do you look up to - in business or just generally in life?
Entrepreneur/business-wise, I really admire what Heidi Middleton and Sarah Jane Clarke achieved with Sass & Bide. Starting their fashion brand from scratch into a well-respected, global brand, showing at New York & London Fashion weeks and then selling in around year 12 for something like $40 million dollars. An inspiring story and journey about what is possible with passion/determination and a beautiful friendship
What’s the most recent best dish/meal you’ve eaten?
Hmmmm …I think the best / most recent meal out would have been a burger at The Grille by Eichardt’s in Queenstown – simple but tasty. Rose and I were over there for the day on business and decided to treat ourselves to an early dinner. I love the booths at The Grille and the atmosphere is relaxed and stylish with great service and fabulous lake views and as is usual, we ended up having a really great business strategy session at the same time.
Where would you go on holiday if you had an unlimited budget?
Oh that’s easy – I would LOVE to get back to Europe and explore the Amalfi coast. Relax in the sun, enjoy the spectacular scenery and drink cocktails by the beach. I’d love a holiday that is all about relaxing in the sunshine – I just need that unlimited budget : )
I’d also add on trips to London and New York for some ‘big city’ time and also to see old friends
What is the best piece of advice (for business or just in life) anyone has ever given you?
Believe in yourself and ‘it’s better to try and fail than to never try and always wonder’.
Simple but sage advice from my favourite teacher at High School – Mrs Keoghan. The first inspirational woman in my life - she had worked and travelled overseas with her husband and shared stories that fascinated and intrigued me and made me want to go and live an interesting life too. It’s something that has always stuck with me and been a bit of a mantra.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
We have big lofty goals and dreams and in five years G&E will be 11 years old – that will be cause for a big celebration. We aspire to become an iconic NZ brand that is stocked across the globe and working on some super fun collaborations.
And finally - why should our customers buy your products?
I would love to think customers buy G&E because it brings them joy, they connect with a fragrance and they enjoy our colourful, floral packaging and all the heart that goes into each product.
There is a lot of competition in the home fragrance market, but we really hope our customers connect with what we are trying to achieve and enjoy our colourful, floral packaging and get a sense of luxury and quality when they use/enjoy our products. Living a fragrant live – enjoying the simple pleasures.