Glam sisters Darby and Taylor Ward are well-used to being in front of the cameras as social media influencers. But after seven years of modelling for brands, the stunning siblings are now working on the other side of the lens.
At the same time as getting married and having babies, over the past year the pair have created their own jewellery brand called Astalia, and they directed the photo shoot for their debut collection at Fivefour Studios in Salford. It was a proud day for the daughters of former The Real Housewives of Cheshire star Dawn Ward and former footballer Ashley Ward.
In July Taylor, 24, who is married to footballing star Riyad Mahrez, welcomed a baby girl Mila with the Manchester City midfielder. After a lavish proposal in June 2001 on the Greek island of Mykonos, the couple undertook a private Muslim ceremony at the end of last year which makes them married under Islamic law.
The couple are now planning another ceremony this summer to make their marriage legal in the UK. In August Taylor was a bridesmaid for Darby as she tied the knot with her fiancé of three years businessman Michael Jackson in a breathtaking ceremony in the French Riviera.
The 26-year-old singer and reality star got engaged to Mr Whippy ice cream boss Michael - with whom she shares one-year-old daughter Skye - whilst holidaying in the South of France in 2019. Darby told us: "I had a newborn baby, Taylor was pregnant, we were planning a wedding and doing a new business. It's been a year of hard work, amongst babies and weddings.
"We've both got really young babies so for us we just thought we want to inspire people, that it shouldn't stop you reaching your dreams. We want to be working mums and still have our kids and still be entrepreneurial. We're juggling a hundred hats."
On becoming first-time mums within months of each other and building a future for their families, she said: "We want to work hard to be able to give them what we've had in our lives so this is the start." She added: "It's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears from hand-sketched drawings and months of samples. And this is our first time directing."
Taylor said: "I studied fashion at uni so I learned a little bit then and I had a lot of time on my hands while I was pregnant so it was good for me to get stuck in and keep myself busy during the pregnancy. I love being busy.
"When I've got time on my hands it makes me feel more stressed when I don't have things to do. We tried out the materials. We didn't want to design a product we wouldn't wear ourselves. We've made sure it's perfect."
On inspiring their daughters they said: "We want Mila and Skye to be proud of us." Darby and Taylor have named their brand - starting with a range of customisable necklaces - after their younger siblings Charlie and Aston. "We've been sitting on the name for years but honestly didn't know what we wanted to use that name for. We were looking at doing loads of different things with it and eventually it's found itself a name with jewellery," said Darby.
Behind the scenes at their shoot Taylor told us she'd like to create a collection for her wedding. "We're getting legally married next year so it would be nice to do a collection for then as well, for next summer," she smiled. "We went to Darby's wedding this summer and it was absolutely amazing. It's a big process planning a marriage."
Speaking about the support they have received from their husbands, she said: "They're really proud they want to see us do our own thing." And Darby said: "They've supported us from being in all the shoots to make that massive step. They're like our little cheerleaders."
Darby and Taylor teamed up with Danny Buck and Alex Cannon, the founder of men's jewellery brand CRAFTD London, to create their brand after they were neighbours living in the same apartment building with Danny. Darby said: "Me and Taylor designed the collection. We were trying to think of something different.
"It's a competitive market so we were thinking of something that girls can buy that's really good quality but because they can be styled in different ways you can get a lot of wear out of them. You can do four looks with one set which is important to us to do something different.
"Since we started working with brands and were lucky enough to do our own shoots with brands, one of our dreams was to do our own. We thought about doing a clothing brand and different products but we thought 'do you what this doesn't feel like us.'
"Then when we met Danny we met as friends and we all lived in the same building. He said 'you girls would be amazing at doing this' and we thought 'maybe that's what we've been missing all this time.' We love jewellery and we feel that's definitely me and Taylor so we decided 'yes let's do it.' It was just fate we were in the same place at the same time and really got along."
Danny told us: "We're looking for something that's a litle bit different in jewellery. It's customisable. Customers can buy a chain, a pendant or a charm and then a carabiner so they make three or four different combinations and then times that.
"There could be hundreds of different ways the girls can wear the set up. There are three variables but change each variables to make different combinations. Two people could buy the same three products but they could be be wearing something totally different."
Darby said: "We've had a dream shoot. We picked the hair, the models, the makeup. Usually we're the ones on the other side of the camera. It's been seven years working with other brands, We never found something we thought was us until now."
She added about the range, launching on Sunday, October 23: "It's come from what me and Taylor have worn over the years and fast fashion jewellery, things we like but for us it was a lot about quality. There's a lot of really high-end products that you buy and they tarnish really badly and that was one of the things we worked on.
"They're hypoallergenic, gold plated and you can wear them in the shower and pool. We've both spent a lot of money over the years on jewellery that doesn't last. We're both on this journey trying to find the balance of life, being in business and having children."
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