Ernest and Joe’s, Mia, chats about coffee, creativity, and keeping it in the family.
Home-grown and family-owned company Ernest & Joe is as close a business team as you can get. You know why? They’re all related. As self-taught jewellers, they take no shortcuts (because they don’t know how!), and this makes their products completely and utterly unique.
What made you start Ernest and Joe?
We were both looking for new directions in our working lives after travelling overseas. Mum didn’t want to go back to counselling and i was young and impressionable and was excited at the thought of being able to make my own jewellery!
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
The morning always starts with coffee! Usually (especially if Mia is working) we will then sit and chat for no less than half an hour about all kinds of nonsense! Then we usually look at the time and panic that it is so late and then get to work!
What’s the biggest barrier you’ve found to succeeding as a socially conscious business?
We haven’t really encountered many barriers as a socially conscious label. I think people like that we are hand made and use recycled metals. You feel less guilty about splashing out on a ring if you buy directly from the maker and know the story behind them. I suppose the main problem we have found is that environmentally friendly packaging is harder to come by and often more expensive.
Within the ethical fashion community, there’s a big question that we ask which is ‘who made my clothes?’. In the scope of Ernest and Joe, who made the things you sell? Can you tell us a bit about them?
We do! Ernest and Joe is only a very, very small label and it is made up of myself, Mia, My Mum, Sally and my Brother, Luke. Each piece is made by us in our very, very small studio in Newtown, Victoria. As we are basically self taught jewellers, we don’t know the short cuts to making pieces, so everything is done the slow, backward, hard way! In the end you know you are getting something that is made by our hands. The three of us work as a well oiled machine and still to this day love each piece as it is finished.
Why did you pick the materials you have chosen to work with?
We found out about a few different suppliers of metals and luckily we found one that uses only recycled metals and we have used them ever since.
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Don’t think of anything as impossible, see anything you encounter as a lesson rather than a problem.”
What’s next for you and Ernest and Joe?
Well, Mum is retiring (so she thinks!) so we are working her to the bone until that happens! We are always working on the next range to release with Ernest and Joe but at the same time the three of us are branching out doing new and creative things so watch this space!
One book and/or documentary everyone should read/watch? Why?
When we were growing up, we had the Dalai Lama’s 18 Rules for Living printed and stuck on the wall which we read every day. It is such simple advice but when you take it on board, it can make a big difference!
Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?
We are surrounded by creative people, not only in our family but in our friendships too. My Sister is Tess from Slow Ties (@slow.ties) she makes big modern macrame hangings that are mind blowing. My Best friends are all working hard on their own businesses, Shani from Happy Society (@happysociety_) is making the most beautiful essential oil candles, Kate from Ikigai (@ikigai_home) makes lovely, thoughtful ceramics, Lauren From Oktoberdee/Middle Child (@oktoberdee @hi_middle_child), Joel and Rach from Frankd and Dollys (@frankanddollys), Jordie from Lunar label (@lunarlabel_) the list goes on and on, we are actually extremely lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people!
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