Play together, stay together. Curious whether the same applies to work together, Ella James put some questions to Ruby’s Sharma sisters about being colleagues in the fashion business the family bought in 2008.
RUBY GENERAL MANAGER & LIAM DESIGNER
As a family, what has been your proudest ‘Ruby’ moment?
To be honest, it’s not one single moment, it’s that every morning we get back up, get back in to the workroom and still love making clothes and the industry that we are lucky enough to be part of.
Which family member is always there to diffuse any hostile situations that may arise?
Mum is probably the most consistent, however we all take turns at this role!
If you weren’t working at Ruby, what career path would you have chosen?
I have made my own clothes since I was 13 (although back then they were more like “clothes” in quotation marks) so clothing has always been a part of who I am. If I wasn’t in the clothing industry I would still be in a creative industry of some description – it is just natural for me to make things, and that is where I get my energy from.
How do you spend your free time as a family?
Mum and Dad have a house at Whiritoa on the Coromandel so that’s the best time for us to properly connect as family members rather than work colleagues. However we truly love food so sitting together around the dining table has always been an important part of our family dynamic.
How do you spend your weekend?
My primetime starts at 4:20pm Friday and goes until 4:20pm Saturday. I love this time because I feel so free. I listen to Kim Hill every Saturday morning, go out for dinner or to a concert with friends, read, paint, cook.
How would you describe your home’s style? Is it similar to that of your fashion style?
I’m quite a sentimental person and I live in a one-bedroom apartment with my husband so a word to describe my place is “full!”. I am drawn to pieces that have strong colours, materials and shapes, or have an element of craft.
What music would you find playing in the Ruby office? Do you all agree on it?
It’s such a mix! Myself and our marketing exec Ima curate the office playlist.
RUBY HEAD OF MARKETING & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Do you all work from the same office?
We sure do – we work from our head office in Grey Lynn, Auckland and all live very close by which makes our morning commute dreamy!
How would you describe working so closely with family?
Equal parts amazing mixed with interesting!!!
Did you all fall into your individual roles naturally?
It has been a natural evolution into our current roles. Emily has always had a passion for making clothes whilst I’ve always had more of a love for the forward-facing side of the fashion industry.
What challenges have you faced in New Zealand fashion retail?
The fashion industry is ever evolving so every day we are adapting as a business which makes it an incredibly exciting industry to be a part of.
We bought RUBY eleven years ago at a time where online retail was in its infancy and conversations about sustainability were not being had - the industry that we know and love is one of the world’s most polluting industries so as a fashion business we are on a journey to understand the social and environmental impacts of our business practices and products. This is something we are passionate about – there is no overnight fix however we are committed to transitioning to a more sustainable reality.
What brand would you most like to collaborate with?
There are so many beauty brands doing amazing things, such as Drunk Elephant, Summer Fridays and Glossier, who we always have our eyes on.
Where has been your favourite family holiday destination?
As well as the family beach house in Whiritoa, we have had a few special trips to India as a family that I will cherish forever!
What is your favourite meal to cook together?
Our father was born and raised in New Delhi, India with British/Indian parents so we are definitely known for Sharma curry nights in our house!
Where would you all choose to dine out? Why?
Prego in Auckland’s Ponsonby is a firm favourite – they always get it so right.