Meet the mother-daughter team behind the new look for Agnes & Me

For a skincare brand built on a mother-daughter relationship, getting a rebrand done by a mother-daughter team was the icing on the cake for me.

The new-look was created by graphic designer Ezra Andre, of Design Folk, who found an unexpected collaborator in the form of her artist-mother Margery Fern.

When I was looking to redesign, a friend recommended Ezra and I liked her work and said, yes, let’s do this … little did I know I was getting a mother and daughter team as part of the deal.

In fact, Ezra didn’t know it either.

Her mother Margery rediscovered painting late in life while working as a teacher in Raglan but for a long time it was a hobby and a way of unwinding away from work. It became a second profession when her sister, Ezra’s aunt Jennifer, decided to write a series of books based on her memories of a childhood family farm in Hawke’s Bay.

The sisters joined forces to write and illustrate Tales From The Farm and Ezra joined the team as a designer.

But Ezra and Margery had never worked together on a non-family project.

“This is the first time we’d done something different — we’d always wanted to do something together and when this opportunity came along a lightbulb went off and she was excited about it,” Ezra says.

“It was only later that I realised I was working with my mum on a brand that Deirdre had created in memory of her mum.”

Agnes is my mother, who raised a family of seven — with me right in the middle — during the worst of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

For Ezra it required a little bit of “letting go” to allow Margery to paint the beautiful flowers that now adorn the Agnes & Me labels.

“I usually have a vision for what I want to achieve, but in this case I was putting the trust in someone else to come up with what I was envisioning – I never saw it until she’d done all the illustrations. She had quite a lot of input into it and found the flowers she wanted use. They look beautiful.

“I think mum was quite honoured to do it. We’ve worked together for a few years on the books – she knows my process and how fussy I am, and we’ve refined our work and she knew what she was in for.”

Margery’s hand-painted designs reflect the ingredients used in our products: geranium essential oil in the Face Cream, rosehip oil in the Blam Blam Balm, camellia oil in the Face Oil, hibiscus powder in the Face Mask, orange essential oil in the Body Oil and the super-potent bakuchiol in the Face Serum.

For Agnes & Me, the new look is part of a brand evolution. This started in 2018 as a fun sideline for me when I was working in a senior nursing role at the Auckland DHB. Agnes & Me has grown strongly in the past two years, moving away from being a hobby-market brand and the new-look reflects that transition.

“When you’ve got this really reputational brand — the products are high quality — my job was to modernize and lift the brand in a way that reflects the quality of the contents. I’m excited to see it out in world – to see what people think of mum’s art," Ezra says.

“It was a special project and I was really stoked to do it but it also made me feel really nervous.”