ANTONIA — We first met when we were studying at Unitec. Mark was studying furniture design and I was studying jewellery design, now I specialise in creating dried flower arrangements and have a scented candle range. My floral work is inspired by the Japanese aesthetic of Ikebana (Japanese floral arrangement), with an Antonia twist. It has quite a Wabi Sabi (art of imperfection) feel to it.
Our brand is very much an extension of Mark and I personally and we have a very close bond to what we do. I think that’s important to have an honest story, you can tell. We love what we do and that we are 100 percent involved. We design everything ourselves – the objects, furniture, floral arrangements and candles.
Working with Mark is wonderful, we don’t argue at work, like I imagine a lot of people would working with their spouse. I find it a great support; I could never run a business on my own. Having your love with you sharing that responsibility is so much easier. The most challenging thing is trying not to talk about our work when we are at home having a meal together or trying to unwind.
Running a business is hard work, if you are planning on working together as a couple you
have to be the best of friends as well as in love, it should feel very natural and it should be something you both really want to do. If there is ever a question over whether you should work together, I would say perhaps don’t.
I am a self-confessed worrywart. Luckily Mark isn’t and he balances us and knows exactly what to say to make me feel calm and loved. One thing I adore about Mark is how he makes me breakfast every morning, even if he knows I won’t eat it! He looks out for me and cares for me. His words are cuttingly romantic, still now after eight years together (including two perfect years of marriage). When he tells me he loves me I still melt.
Another benefit of marriage is acquiring a new family. I’ve gained new sisters and a mother and father that don’t mind my acrid humor. And I really get on so well with all of them, they won’t believe this but I actually love seeing them!
MARK — When we started MarkAntonia, I was doing a lot of bespoke interior work and furniture design, while Antonia was solely working in florals. But lately I have been replacing bespoke furniture design work with a range of MarkAntonia homeware. At
the moment I am working on designing new vases to complement Antonia’s’ dried floral work a range of beautiful mirrors that we will be releasing in the New Year. I’ve also been taking care of our candle production, as this is an area of the business that has been growing steadily for us.
I love working with Antonia. Our individual work is different but so complementary. We both can just feel when something is not quite right in a project because we are so used to each other’s styles and reactions. Occasionally stress can follow us home, but we’re getting much better at separating work and home life. If you are going to work together as a couple, understand that you will be seeing a lot of each other and accept the different ways you may both work. Use one another’s strengths in place of your weaknesses.
It was surprising how easy our transition from dating to married life was, it felt very natural. Antonia is the most compassionate, deeply feeling person I know, this is an amazing quality I continuously look up to. Plus she has a fantastic sense of humor. My advice on relationship’s and marriage is quite simple. Listen to your partner and don’t simmer over issues. And laugh!