From one girl boss to another: Studio Sorores

From one girl boss to another meet Jessie and Georgia – sisters and founders of Studio Sorores, the contemporary creative events agency responsible for some of the most beautiful projects I’ve come across. Known for their elegant and luxurious style, Jessie and Georgia work tirelessly to produce bespoke weddings and events for the likes of Monica Vinader, Astley and The Evening Standard. Shunning seasonal trends in favour of working sustainably with the client at the centre of every project, Studio Sorores are a brilliantly unique company. I caught up with Jessie and Georgia to hear more about their inspiration, being sustainable in business and their favourite places in London to enjoy a bite to eat…

Studio Sorores has produced, designed and planned some stunning weddings, where do you find creative inspiration for new projects?
Thank you! Our clients are at the heart of our event design, always. We spend a good two hours together with an in depth consultation where we delve deep into their story, their personal journey, the restaurants they love, the interiors of their house, what brands they relate to… and so much more. Somewhere in all of that detail we find a little thread of inspiration that grows and evolves. It’s the same process for our weddings as it is for corporate events and private parties. We tell stories with our design work.

The weddings you work on are fashion forward with a bespoke luxury offering, what are the core values at the heart of Studio Sorores?
We have always aspired to be ourselves, to have integrity and authenticity in everything we do. We are two women who started out in the industry knowing very little, without much experience or specific training, and zero funds to invest. We built our business on hard work, dedication and passion – but we also relied on the support and talent of other incredible women around us. To this day we try and maintain that collaborative community, investing our time and money in the artists and dreamers whose work speaks for itself.

You’re both from creative backgrounds, what led you to set up Studio Sorores
Jessie had worked independently as an event planner for 8 years before creating Studio Sorores, but didn’t actually start out with a creative career (she studied law and worked in legal publishing, before moving into PR!). Creativity was something she missed desperately though, and it was her design led approach to creating weddings and events that made her stand out amongst her peers back when she first launched a business.

Georgia studied interior architecture and moved into floristry in 2013, fast becoming known for her natural, organic, romantic and luxury floral installations in the UK. Georgia was one of the first self taught floral designers to  bring her particular style to London and across the country… combining her eye for beauty with logistical know how to create large scale installations in venues, private homes and marquees.

Studio Sorores happened because Jessie and Georgia kept referring each other work, but also realising how much they both influenced the design and styling of each event, and how much better those design plans were when they were worked on collaboratively. It just felt silly to be working independently when we were increasingly involved on large projects together. So we decided to streamline and combine our talent into one full service planning, design and floristry business.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced since you started in the industry? And how have you overcome any adversity?  
Honestly there has been a huge influx of aspirational planners, designers, stylists and florists across the UK over the last 10 years. It’s a wonderful thing in so many ways, but we do find that the industry is a complicated mix of varying levels of experience and pricing is a big issue. It saddens us to see so many talented individuals undervaluing themselves and entering the market with such low prices they can’t possibly be making enough profit to survive long term. It’s hard to educate your clients about value vs cost, but absolutely necessary that we do so – especially in such a creative female led industry. We remain transparent with our pricing, and encourage those at all levels to really consider their worth more.

As sisters, what’s the most rewarding thing about working together and with someone so close to you?
It strengthens our bond, it reminds us of our similarities and much as our differences, we respect each others strengths and talent – something that I think siblings don’t get much of a chance to do growing up. When we were younger we were given labels – the creative one, and the academic one. But the funny thing about running a creative business is that you must be both in order to be successful. I think we realised we weren’t so different after all.

Have there been any particularly memorable weddings, for good or bad reasons?!
One of our most memorable weddings was actually a fairly small budget middle of nowhere party. It was five years ago and a LOT has changed since then but it’s still one of our favourites. It all started with an email from a bride that touched our hearts and made us smile so hard we knew we had to help. They were the most special couple, they made us laugh and reminded us why we love what we do. And their wedding was epic – traditions and formalities thrown out of the window to celebrate love in their unique and special way. It was the starting point for us doing things far more authentically, without boundaries or expectations of what other people in the industry thought.

From one girl boss to another, what advice would you give you other women wanting to start their own business or ‘go it alone’?
Do it. Do it today. Just make the first step – write a business plan, build a simple website, book that training course. Don’t quit the day job, that’s foolish! But don’t let the day job stop you from working on your dream… early hours of the morning, your lunch break, late into the night. There is no substitute for hard work and determination, and talent alone will not bring you success.

What are the biggest wedding trends and requests you’ve noticed in the last year and what you do predict to be big over the next six months?
Arrrgggh we hate trends! Neither of us can remember the last time we cared to check what seasonal trends were being predicted or what other in the industry are busying themselves with. Our design work is so much more personal that that, and if done well should be a timeless reflection of our clients. What we can tell you is that there is a huge shift towards ethical, sustainable, eco-friendly luxury weddings. It’s hard not to compromise on quality when considering the impact you might have on the environment, but it’s the future of all luxury lifestyle brands and we owe it to ourselves to dedicate time to considering our impact. For 2019 we are committed to being complete free of floral foam, and we are looking to move one of our rural Cotswolds studios to a sustainable estate with forward thinking ideas and an ethos that matches our own.

Big question…what’s next for Studio Sorores?!
We could answer this in an essay! Short term we are launching two new studio spaces in London and The Cotswolds, expanding our services exclusively in these areas and across the UK. We both were born and grew up in The Cotswolds, so we are working hard to weave that aesthetic into more of our London work. We will be launching lots of amazing 1:1 mentoring courses and workshops alongside that, as it’s something that frankly we’ve not dedicated enough time to in the last year, and we both love to teach and learn from students! There are so many more exciting projects in the pipeline. Watch this space!

On to the tasty stuff! Talk me through your day in food: do you have time for breakfast in the morning? What is your favourite meal?
We have very similar tastes and eating habits funnily enough. We always have breakfast – it’s worth getting up early for – unless we are working an event and up at 3am in the morning. Then we shamefully live off “healthy” service station snacks and coffee. Our favourite meal is one surrounded by friends and family. We both love fresh and healthy ingredients, and are passionate cooks at home. Jessie makes a mean risotto and loves Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours in her cooking. Georgia’s favourite food to make at home is mostly Iranian inspired – amazingly cooked meat, pomegranate molasses, garlic yoghurt, large bowls of healthy herby salads and flatbreads.

If you had to chose, where are your favourite places to eat out?
In The Cotswolds we are lucky to have some amazing restaurants in incredible locations – Champignon Sauvage is a traditional French restaurant with two Michelin stars near where Jessie lives in Cheltenham, The Wild Rabbit in Kingham never disappoints and has such a lovely ambience and atmosphere, and The Village Pub in Barnsley is always great for cosy pub grub by a warm fire.

In London, we love the traditional places like Hawksmoor or Balthazaar, but one of the great things about London is the more eclectic restaurants. Testi in Stoke Newington is some of the best Turkish food you’ll ever eat, and Escocesa also in Stoke Newington does incredible Spanish tapas made with Scottish ingredients. Barrafina in Soho is also incredible for tapas, you only eat at the bar and the experience feels very Spanish but with a London twist. Oh and you never go wrong with Dishoom, inspired by old Irani cafe’s in Bombay. You may be able to tell that we love sharing food in restaurants. It makes the experience so much more personal.

If I came over for dinner, what would you serve and why?
Something simple, thrown together and served family style with candlelight and good music. We don’t do fancy cooking at home because for us it’s more about eating delicious food in the best company, and spending as much time with our friends as we can without being tied to the kitchen. We’ve actually never hosted a joint dinner party though… now there’s an idea! Neither of us are great at puddings though as we both have a savoury tooth, we can rustle up a banoffee pie or crumble without much effort but don’t expect too much. You are more likely to be blown away by our cheese board (random fun fact, our step dad owns the Oxford cheese company so we have grown up eating some pretty incredible smelly stuff!).

Are there any specific ingredients/foods you couldn’t live without?
Proper butter, Maldon sea salt and garlic.

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