She has one of the most recognisable names in the world, but Jasmine Guinness’ life has been more boutique than brewery, with a successful career in the fashion industry for more than a decade.
Now the owner of a successful toy shop in London and mother to three adorable children, Elwood, Otis and Ruby, we were excited to talk to the businesswoman about her career to date and what motherhood means to her.
Hi Jasmine, what were your childhood aspirations?
I really wanted to be a vet when I was a child, but when I saw the vet put the whole length of his arm up a cows bum I decided that perhaps I wasn’t that keen. Then I wanted to be a journalist, an artist, a photographer, a model… it changes constantly as we get older. I ended up studying art and becoming a model so I got to do a couple of them!
What are your earliest fashion memories?
My first fashion love were my blue dungarees, aged about four. They had a big sign on the front that said “BIG BOSS” in black on red, like a registration plate. I loved them and wore them all the time with my other favourite item, my blue wellies. It was the first time I noticed people admired what I wore, everyone seemed to think they were cool and I had never thought of clothes as cool before. They just kept you warm!
What was it like growing up with such a famous family name?
I never thought about it much until I went to boarding school. We didn’t have masses of money or a huge grand house so I didn’t think of it as an exceptional name. I knew it was written all over Dublin but so were lots of other family names. I grew up in very culturally rich surroundings: good art, music, books, wild clothes, lots of architecture and that is worth more than money!
Do you prefer modelling or designing?
Before I had kids I loved modelling and the creative collaboration and team effort of it. Every day being a different scene with a different crew and location. However after children it didn’t seem so important and was not as much fun as hanging out with my son and teaching him how to kick a ball. A different sort of creative collaboration I suppose! I was very lucky to discover womenswear designing as it gave me a creative outlet that I didn’t realise I had been longing for. Dreaming up a dress or a jacket, making it and then getting to wear it is one of the most exciting processes I have ever done! (Jasmine has recently designed an exclusive collection for Jaegar.)
Which designers do you admire?
There are so many amazing designers out there my list could go on forever! I’ll start with the ones I loved working with the most: Vivienne Westwood’s shows were always such fun, a real creative hot spot. Chanel was heaven because the quality and luxury of the designs was always off the scale. Karl Lagerfeld’s ideas at Chanel and Fendi were always incredible and eye opening. London is a great place for creativity, I feel lucky to have met so many amazingly talented people.
What does motherhood mean to you?
Learning something new every day. Whether it is emotional or practical you never stop learning. I also love the teaching aspect of it, passing on what your parents taught you like a never ending line of information. The best bit is learning how much love we are capable of giving. And the kids! They can give so much love and never seem to run out. Being a mother has made me happier than anything else but it is incredibly hard too! When they are tired and fight constantly I feel like I’m going crazy. Counting to 10 and deep breaths help but I just did the best thing which was to go away completely alone. I missed them so much but also got to recharge my batteries fully! I think every mother should try to do it even just for a couple of days.
Are your children fashion-conscious? What are their favourite things to wear?
I’m quite pleased that they are not too fashion conscious, although my 14 year old boy is beginning to get the whole label thing which I really disapprove of! For his birthday he wanted a skinny black suit from Topshop. My kids are pretty much happy in shorts and t-shirts, including my daughter!
Tell us about your toy shop Honeyjam. What inspired it and what are your favourite products?
My business partner Honey and I were inspired by the toy shops of our childhoods. Those ones you walk into and can get lost for hours in fun and playing around. Discovering cool things and having a laugh. We couldn’t find any near where we lived so we decided to try it out. We love Honeyjam and can’t wait to design more of our own products. At the moment we have our own handmade in England Freddie Fox, Bella Bunny and lots of beautiful baby knit wear. Unique and exclusive items that you can’t get anywhere else!