1.You and husband Stephen (owners of Stephen Marr salons and co-owners of The Department Store) have been described as an Auckland glamour couple: how glamorous does it get?
I don't believe there is a glamorous life actually. Everyone has their things to get through, whether it's a physical daily grind or personal things you're battling. Glamour is something that's put together ... creating longing and desire will in time create displeasure. Sure there are people who think Beyonce and Jay-Z on their superyacht is glamorous and it probably is, but it's not my bag.
2.What rings your bell then?
Having time with my children, stillness, being in the garden, seeking real pleasure in really simple things like cooking and reading. Those things can make you feel rich in life.
3.You've got a number of businesses and two kids: how do you find time for stillness - or reading?
To be honest, I do a lot of things outside of work. I don't work all the time. I'm really into lacto-fermenting at the moment, I make all our own yoghurt and almond milk and bread and pickling.
I've worked hard to make sure I have time to do the things I love, like pottery and my garden. And I do yoga three times a week but I do it in work time so it doesn't impose on time with my kids. I love work but I'm definitely not one of those people who thinks I'm the only one who can do it. I'm big on delegation.
4.You've been with Stephen since you began working in his salon 18 years ago. How do you keep a relationship and business partnership going?
It's such a challenge and it's one of those things that requires a phenomenal amount of work. There are times when in your relationship and business you feel like you're really swimming upstream. But the chemistry we have on a lot of levels is really great and it's important to stop and appreciate that.
5.How important are aesthetics to you?
I'm a big fan of functional clothing and design in the home. I'm not a big fan of the ornamental. When I come home I want to immediately relax and so my home is designed for comfort. My industry is very much driven by aesthetics but for me it's almost the opposite. My desire for that gets satiated and so I don't blow-wave my hair, don't wear makeup. Just a tinted moisturiser and maybe a tiny bit of blush.
6.Ever had a perm?
Yep! Many. Spiral in fact.
7.What about clothes - surely you like fashion?
I do appreciate something that's beautifully made but I favour quality over quantity. My mum's a really stylish woman but her wardrobe has about 10 garments, well chosen and well purchased. I like that very considered approach, rather than having a lot.
8.What was your childhood in Nelson like?
My family came to New Zealand from England when I was about 11 and my parents have always been self-employed. We were integrated into their businesses, a bit like my kids are with ours. My brother and I lived in their hotels and after school we'd hang out in the restaurant and cafe. The hardest aspect of that was I always had to be on my best behaviour, because you're living in that environment.
9.What will you teach your children about success?
No matter what happens in your life, never lose the desire or ability to be generous.
10.What's the biggest mistake you've made in business?
Many. I think it's mistakes that make you sharper. There have been various decisions made over the years that mightn't have been favourable but the way we've worked it in the end, it's turned out okay and we've learned so much. Persistence is what will save you.
11.Does society put too much emphasis on the way a woman looks?
Yes I believe it does. I know an amazing woman who's older than me, she lives in London now but was in a band big in the 80s, she said to me your lines are your stories. They're part of you, your personal story. My skincare is not about preventing ageing, it's about being fit and healthy and about the texture of your skin being at its most optimal.
12.If you could change one thing about New Zealand, what would it be?
To be truly new generation in our approach to sustainability and business.By Sarah Stuart Email Sarah