'We've never had an argument'
Jasmine Guinness (left) and Honey Bowdrey (right) own a toyshop in London
Jasmine Guinness and Honey Bowdrey, In conversation with Frances O'Rourke
Jasmine Guinness, 36, is a model, designer and co-owner of Honeyjam toyshop in London’s Notting Hill. She grew up in Leixlip, in a house on the grounds of the castle owned by her grandfather, Desmond Guinness. She lives in London with her husband, Gawain O’Dare Rainey, and three children. Jasmine Guinness recently launched the Guinness Storehouse Ambassador programme for the Gathering
Honey and I have known each other all our lives. Her mum and my step-grandmother, Penny, have been great friends for years. We didn’t see much of each other as children, only on holidays. She was six years older than me, and when you’re six, a 12-year-old is millions of miles away. She was very beautiful, tall and skinny. She didn’t have much to do with me, but she was always very sweet, very kind.
We only really became close when I had my first child . . . We found we were two mums in London, and so we hung out quite a lot.
I grew up in a cottage in the grounds of Leixlip Castle. I was 18 when I went to London. I’d been doing some modelling, but I did a year at art college and my agency was furious I would even consider giving up modelling. Then two things happened: I fell in love with someone who lived in London and my agency said, come on, you’re 19, you have to start now. So there I was with my first proper boyfriend and my first proper job.
To start with I lived in Richmond, which is quite far out, and didn’t see anybody that I grew up with for years. Then I had my son. Honey was 21 when she had her first child; I was 24. She gave me really good advice.
We realised there was a gap in the market for a really interesting toyshop – so we opened Honeyjam, in 2006. Honey was a very successful graphic artist – did amazing, really detailed pictures of shells. But she’d stopped drawing and painting so much when she had her first child and worked in a shop. So we knew how a shop should run.
The admin and the paperwork of running the shop is hell; Honey does a lot of that, ’cos I have no brain for figures. We’ve been working together for six years now and touch wood, we’ve never had an argument. We have such a nice time travelling, going to toy fairs – it’s an adventure, I really enjoy it.
Honey’s daughter Amber is 18. My husband Gawain is her godfather. She’s a really beautiful, accomplished make-up artist. It’s been lovely seeing her grow up.
Her son, Phoenix, is 13, so he gets on with my son Elwood, who’s 11. Her son Ludo is 10 and Otis is eight – they all look up to each other. And her daughter Domino is a couple of years older than Ruby, and Ruby worships her, it’s very sweet.
I live 10 minutes’ walk from the shop and Honey lives nearby as well . . . now we hang out together, dog walk at weekends.