Hot 100 2013: Ruth Sibbald

A busy year of store openings and growth for Zoe & Morgan co-founder.

By Steve Spear

There’s an irresistible positivity to Zoe & Morgan. Beloved by the fash pack and stylish urbanites, the seven-year-old label just radiates a feel good factor, from its distinctive Love rings to the handwritten thank you notes that come with each purchase.

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Behind it all is Ruth Sibbald, and while her moniker is not in the brand name she is every bit as important to it as her younger sister Zoe and older brother Morgan. And with Zoe now based in New Zealand, where the family grew up, and Morgan in Bali, Ruth is very much the front woman for this side of the world.

Earlier this year she opened the brand’s first permanent shop in London’s Primrose Hill. Fitting in adroitly with the quirky style of the local community it is the perfect statement for the brand to make, with carved skulls and gold-painted deer heads on the wall along with the brand’s entire stock and burgeoning cabinets of curiosity, stuffed with objects from Ruth’s travels.

And what travels they have been. Her parents instilled a globetrotting sense of freedom in the trio when they were very young. “We’re originally from the Cotswolds [where their father was a jeweller] but our parents took us off travelling. We settled in New Zealand when I was about eight. By then we had already been in loads of different cultures and exotic places from Japan to India. It makes you really tight as a family but also it gave us that spirit of adventure and a real confidence.”

Ruth spends time in her siblings’ locales, and last summer enjoyed her first dabble in retail with a pop-up shop in Montenegro, an experience that gave her the impetus to open the London store. “Once I decided to do it, it happened quickly. A friend told me about their friend’s site that was up for lease and that was it.”

She puts it down to the power of positive thinking. “Our strategy has been to smile and cross our fingers. We’ve run off luck so far, and the fact that some cool people seem to like us.”

She’s being a little modest. With Matches, the Shop at Bluebird and Asos among its stockists, Zoe & Morgan is adored by some very cool buyers, and their customers too, of course.

With the north London shop now functioning as a showroom and Ruth’s own quirky style influencing it more and more the business continues to grow, albeit slowly, carefully and manageably. “I used to have ideas of grandeur but I learned pretty quickly that it’s really about running a good business the right way rather than going flat out to make as much jewellery as possible. We now work with some really lovely shops that I enjoy working with.”

This Hot 100 Tresor Paris Trendsetter profile was taken from the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 book. To read the digital book in full, click here.



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