Raising a designer

Nurturing your child’s creativity can certainly lead to great things. Dianna, proud mum of Ange Marshall, owner and designer of Briarwood, tells us about her talented daughter when she was a young designer in the making.

What was Ange good at in school? What were her favourite subjects?

Ange loved anything creative at school – art, crafts, but especially home economics, where they travelled every week by bus to learn the skills of cooking and sewing. Ange wasn’t particularly interested in cooking, but she became instantly hooked on the sewing class. I remember her coming home every week with her latest project ‘stolen’ from class and she would spend all weekend finishing it. So every week, I would buy her a new piece of fabric and a new pattern, and sure enough, home it would come for completion. Thankfully, the teachers didn’t seem to mind this enthusiasm!

What were her hobbies as a child?

Sewing! She would spend hours at my machine – in the end, I bought her one of her own. She also loved netball, and was a great goal shoot.

What were her favourite things to do as a child?

Ange loved all the usual kid things like playing with her dolls, riding her horse called Dancer, attending Pony Club with her sisters, and playing in the street with all the kids from the neighbourhood.

What things did you enjoy doing as a family?

For the first 10 years of Ange’s life, we had a bach at Piha. I would take her and her three sisters out there for the whole of the school holidays. Ange’s dad would join us after
work and weekends. All my daughters loved the beach.

Did you actively encourage creativity? If so, in what ways?

We never really needed to do this with Ange – she was always naturally creative. But we always supported her in whatever she did, like buying her fabric and letting her have space at home to spread out and enjoy what she was doing.

Was she always interested in fashion?

Always (except during her ‘hippie’ phase). Ange was always fantastically dressed and could basically recreate (or create) anything she felt like wearing. Even shoes, if she had her heart set on a certain look. When she was older, it was a common sight to see Ange in her room cutting out fabric before she headed out somewhere … wearing it!

Did she always want to become a designer? If not, what else did she envisage doing?

She always wanted to do something along those lines … it was just so obvious that she would head down that path.

Did she have a particular creative/designer influence growing up?

Her father was a cabinet maker by trade and also very clever with his hands – maybe she got some of it from him. He now makes all the beautiful childrens’ furniture for my other daughter Karina’s business, called Tom Tom Jak.

What aspects of Ange’s personality do you think have helped her to become a successful designer and business woman?

Probably her stubborn, sometimes exasperating, single-minded drive for perfection. It has caused a lot of tears over the years – but look at her now!

What are the qualities you think are most important to instill in your children?

Patience! But number one would have to be self-confidence. If you have it, you can do anything.

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