Finematter: Maybe we can start by diving into your backgrounds, the story behind AGMES and when and how you founded the brand?
Morgan: We started this company 5 years ago, which is so crazy to think. Jewellery has always been such a passion of both of ours. For a long time, I would think up different pieces, and create them in my mind. I never anticipated having my own jewellery line, it was always mostly a passion. I actually studied business in school, and went on to work in buying. One night I had gone out with an old friend of mine who knew about my love of jewelry design, and he asked me why I wasn’t pursuing my dream. He helped me get the courage and take that leap of faith - it was just a day later that I quit my job and decided to pursue this full time. I went back to school to study jewellery design and started working on a jeweler’s bench. At the same time, Jaclyn was taking a break from her job, so I had begun asking her for more and more of her free time.
Jaclyn: I have a design background. I went to Parsons and studied fashion design, and then I worked for Proenza Schouler in sweater design for almost five years. At this point, I was just feeling super burned out and ready to take a break, so I resigned. On my break, I ended up picking up a consulting gig for another ready-to-wear line part-time plus Morgan was looking for some help with her jewellery. I basically ended up with two jobs instead of my one job, and since I was helping Morgan a lot with her jewellery, it made sense to partner up.
F: What is it like working together as sisters?
J: Honestly, it has been great. We really trust each other, and we understand each other and how the other one works. It is like finishing one another’s sentences.
M: It has been really fun - we’ve been very fortunate! It definitely has its challenges at times, but there’s no one I trust more than Jaclyn. Even when we disagree, we can set aside our differences and work together to figure out what will be best for the collection.
F: And what is your process like? How do you divide the work between you? Do you have different roles and areas of expertise?
M: It has really evolved over the years and developed in different directions.
J: Firstly, I had a baby a year and a half ago, so things have changed a lot since then. Now, I am definitely a full-time mom plus working on the line. My free time has been cut down quite a bit, but that being said, Morgan is a pro at handling the day-to-day of the business, working with the jewellers on development and productions, and I am working more on aesthetics, design, and special projects. We work together on general strategy, but that is where I fit in at this point.
M: Every big decision that happens, happens together. Any piece that is produced, any collaboration or photo shoot, or anything that we do, we decide on together. It is just a matter of who is ready to start the process along. We will both collect inspiration, and send references to each other, be it a couch or sculpture, which will help inspire further ideas. Then we work with our team to really bring these pieces to life. We often work with clay or wax to sculpt the initial prototypes, and then we work further on figuring out how it can be more wearable, approachable, and exactly how to make these pieces come to life and work for everyday.