Wellbeing

Family connections: The Carew family

The bond that forms the foundation of families, firm friendships and relationships can also shine in enterprise.

Family

Sally Carew and her daughters, Jess, Sophie and Scarlet, discuss the bond that unites them, one that has endured life’s challenges and adversities and supported them through their careers.

If the name Carew is familiar, it could be that you’ve enjoyed the handmade almond milk produced by Sophie, the second eldest of the sisters, who launched Carew Kitchen a year ago in Auckland.

The business is a gear change for Sophie, 31, who started her career in the fashion industry, working for brands including Workshop, Belinda International and Beau Coops. However, following a serious car accident in 2011, Sophie’s career came to a startling and life-altering halt as she underwent intensive rehabilitation over a three-year period. “During my rehab I sought the advice of a naturopath who gave me a personalised regime to help counteract the effects of the toxic but necessary drugs I’d been on for such a long time,” says the 31-year-old, who began making her own almond milk after embarking on a dairy-and gluten-free diet. With the accident providing the opportunity for Sophie to reassess her life, she decided to shelve her fashion career and start the business with the support of friends and family.

As a family, the Carews have overcome their fair share of adversity. At 28, Sally was suddenly widowed and left to raise three girls, who were all under the age of eight. It was a tragedy that joined Sally and her daughters in an unbreakable bond that each woman holds so dear. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my mother,” says Jess, 32, who currently works as the public relations manager for Estée Lauder Companies New Zealand and as a volunteer for the Look Good Feel Better charity. “She instilled great values in us, a conscientious work ethic and was always there to offer support no matter what.”

Jess had a passion for beauty from a young age and after moving to Sydney at 25, she found her niche in beauty PR, calling Australia home for six years. But after Sophie’s accident, Jess returned to Auckland where she helped care for her sister during her recovery and also became aunt to Scarlet’s son Arlo, who is now 18-months-old. Jess’ return to New Zealand resulted in her landing her dream role with Estée Lauder, where she works with prestige brands including Clinique, Bobbi Brown, La Mer and Jo Malone London.

“Jess is the most hard-working person I know,” says Sophie. “How she works all those hours and still manages to hit the gym and look so stunning is quite beyond me.”

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When Carew Kitchen was first getting off the ground, both Jess and Scarlet gave up weekends to help Sophie to make almond milk on a Saturday and sell the product at the Grey Lynn Markets the following day. After taking a year off with Arlo, Scarlet, 26, accepted a role as visual merchandiser for Karen Walker, relishing the opportunity to once again work for the company that launched her career in the fashion industry. “Fashion has always been a big part of my life,” says Scarlet, who managed Karen Walker stores in Auckland after finishing school. “Mum taught us that we needed to work hard in order to buy the things we wanted, so I got a job as soon as I could and that was the start of my love for fashion.” In her new role, Scarlet juggles long hours and travelling the country but wants to instil the same work ethic in her son, just as her mother did in her.

Sophie, Scarlet and Jess attribute their success to the strong foundation created by Sally, who now works at Carew Kitchen. Following the death of her husband, Sally gave up her role as full-time mother to work at the school her daughters attended. “I have to admit it was a pretty scary time… I’d been out of the workforce for years,” says Sally, who stayed on at the school until Scarlet graduated. She says the girls have been a huge support as she navigated parenthood. “As a young mother on my own raising three daughters I didn’t always get things right, but no matter what I did or didn’t do, the girls have always shown me love, respect and unwavering support. I feel incredibly blessed to have these amazing, strong, gracious women in my life. The fact they’re my daughters never ceases to amaze me.”

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