Meet the duo behind successful New Zealand jewellery brand Meadowlark
Words Liz Hancock. Photography Jessie Casson.
Each piece of Meadowlark Jewellery is handcrafted in the Auckland studio
Claire Hammon, 37, and Greg Fromont, 35, are the founders of the deliciously dark jewellery company, Meadowlark. Their creations have been worn by the likes of Lorde, Rihanna and Florence Welch of Florence and The Machine, and are sold in top stores across the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. The creative husband-and-wife duo invited Good into their home that they share with their four-year-old daughter Gigi and very sociable cat Samuel. They also showed us around their Auckland studio, where each Meadowlark piece is tenderly handcrafted.
Tell us about where you live.
Claire & Greg: “We’ve lived in Grey Lynn [Auckland] for over 10 years. We like it because of the villas and because of the park. It has a certain vibe about it that [we] really enjoy. The park gives it quite a community feel. Also, the convenience of everything is good – we don’t use our cars that much.”
The Meadowlark Jewellery studio
You’ve both worked in the fashion industry for almost two decades. What’s your personal approach to fashion?
Claire: “I don’t buy chain-store fashion. I usually buy New Zealand-made labels like Jimmy D and Miss Crabb, and I don’t throw away my clothes.”
Greg (pictured in a shirt by Kowtow): “I went through a phase of buying Nudie Jeans that are organic cotton. But, because I am a skateboarder, I tend to ruin jeans and those are too expensive to wear skateboarding and ruin. I’m pretty basic – I usually just wear jeans and a T-shirt.”
You recently bought a new car, Claire. Tell us about it.
Claire: “For years I’ve been wanting to get a smaller car and then I read that lots of the problems of the world would end if we stopped using fossil fuels and that’s when I decided to get a hybrid. It’s a Lexus CT 200h and I love it.”
What’s your food philosophy?
Claire: “We try to eat organic as much as we can and we don’t tend to eat meat. We buy our food from Harvest Wholefoods [an organic and wholefood supermarket in Grey Lynn], sometimes the Ceres fruit and vege market [in Ponsonby], and online at Naturally Organic. We eat mostly organic; I’m scared of chemicals and it doesn’t make sense to put all that crap in your body. Sometimes we get into a trap on the weekend where we’re both too tired to cook so we eat out.”
How easy do you find it to make eco-ethical changes to your lives?
Greg: “If we can make a change we will. That comes down to whether it’s in the too-hard basket or not, in terms of us being exhausted after work or whatever. I think it’s about just constantly thinking about it – being open to options and trying things out.”
Claire: “We do a whole lot of little things. We recycle as much as we can, we compost and I’m trying to grow our own food now. It’s so hard to grow enough food for a whole family though – I need an entire backyard!”
Greg: “Oh totally. We’re at the stage where we’re learning not to kill things.”
Claire: “Gardening is very new for me, but I’m on my second round of planting now.”
Greg: “It comes back to getting into good habits but also how tired we are, the pressure from work.”
Claire: “I am really enjoying the gardening. It does make me want to move to the country a little bit.”
We recycle all of our metal scraps and send them back to the foundry for reuse… pretty much everything that can go back, does.
What about your business – is it hard to apply environmental principles to a jewellery company?
Greg: “We recycle all of our metal scraps and send them back to the foundry for reuse. All of the jewellery is created by hand and at the workstations we have leather pouches that catch the filings
– pretty much everything that can go back, does. The sandpaper we use goes too because it has bits of metal in it, anything that works on the metal. Even the cleaners’ vacuum bags are sent, as well as the extractions from the machines.”
Claire: “We recycle a lot. All our paper and card is recycled, and our packaging is made from card. Also, as far as we are able to verify, all of our diamonds are sourced conflict-free. It’s impossible to be perfect but it’s important to do what you can.”