As part of a new feature on The Bride's Diary Blog, we will be introducing you to individuals who work in the wedding industry... giving you an insight into who they are and why they love weddings!
This week we have been speaking with Jane Meredith, owner and managing director of Secrets - creators of fine jewellery using diamond simulants. Jane chats to us about her passion for making fine jewellery accessible to all women, as well as a moving encounter with a bridal couple...
• Tell us a little about your business…
I opened the first Secrets store in 2000, after discovering that approximately 91% of the world’s women found fine jewellery financially unattainable. I felt passionate about equaling the playing field with a range of high quality jewels that every woman could afford. I sourced the world’s finest diamond simulant and placed it in white and yellow gold settings. Ten years later we have 20 stores around Australia and New Zealand – and we’ve found that women have embraced diamond simulants as the new ‘real’. It’s the perfect way to own fine jewellery.
• What is your role in the business and why are you passionate about it?
My role is Managing Director; I still oversee the day to day running of the business. My passion remains as strong today as it was in the beginning: to supply fine jewellery to all women, and for them to feel beautiful and confident wearing it.
• How long have you been working in the industry?
Prior to creating Secrets I had been working in the diamond industry for three years; Secrets celebrated its first decade this year.
• What are some of your past business experiences?
I have been involved in various areas such as property, hair products and owning a franchise food business.
• What is one of your favourite recollections from your business?
There are so many, but one that is very special. A lovely couple came into our store in the early days of our business. They were in their 60’s and had fallen in love and decided to get married. They chose a beautiful Secrets ring for her and he wanted to purchase a men’s ring, but explained that he hadn’t been able to get his wedding ring off from his previous wife. He explained how much he loved her and that she had died a few years earlier, and that he thought he would never fall in love again. He explained with tears in his eyes (and of course I was teary eyed) that he’d tried everything to get the ring off but couldn’t. He didn’t want to cut it off as he felt this would break something special.
I love a challenge and we had a special weapon for removing rings stuck on fingers (Windex!!) I warned him I was good at it, and that he should be prepared for it to come off; he said he was. We sprayed; no good, it was stuck! We tried again and after a few twists and big tugs the ring came off in his hand.
Well I don’t have to tell you – there were many tears. Tears of joy, tears of sadness and more tears of joy. I will never forget the love these two beautiful people had for each other, and the fact that our jewellery can represent new beginnings and life-long bonds between people that remain long after the ring is taken off, or are even no longer on the earth.
• Tell us a bit about your family and home life…
I have a lovely family; we have a great deal of love and respect for each other, for which I am very grateful. I don’t have my own children, but I have a beautiful Labradoodle called DJ – so cute!
• How do you enjoy spending your spare time?
Unfortunately, I haven’t yet worked out the work/life balance, so spare time is quite rare. When I do have it however, I love to walk and sit somewhere nice with a glass of wine and good music. Living on the beautiful Sunshine Coast provides the perfect location to do this when I get the chance.
• What is your most memorable life experience?
Last year for my 50th birthday, my friends took me on a surprise trip to Bali. After arriving, my girlfriend said we were going sightseeing and our journey took us to a nondescript building outside town. As I sat in the car, I was given a little wooden box with a Buddha on top. Inside was a scroll that said ‘for your birthday we have bought you the gift of joy for 114 children’, and all of a sudden 114 children burst out of the building and ran up to the car. It was the Hope Orphanage, and unbeknown to me, colleagues and friends had donated a sum to help fund the orphanage. The children then put on a beautiful show for us; it was the most touching moment of my life, and my relationship with the orphanage continues personally and through Secrets.
• What are your plans for the future?
Secrets is undergoing a period of growth and expansion, with regular new collections being released and two new stores opening in Sydney between now and Christmas. Personally, finding that elusive work/life balance will keep me busy for the near future!