ldner #228 | rowena cumner
This week’s LDNER runs around town helping men find, buy or design the perfect engagement ring by taking a detailed brief, working with the best jewellers in the city and most importantly by keeping it totally secret. Meet Rowena Cumner aka Agent E…
Where do you live in London and what do you like about the area?
I live in East Dulwich, South-East London and love that there are so many green spaces here, whilst still being able to cycle into central London in 40 minutes or hop on the train to London Bridge, Victoria or BlackFriars. I moved here 4 years ago with no friends, and now slowly but surely old friends have starting following and new friends are around the corner. From this area you are able to be in the Kent countryside in just over an hour too, so it’s easy to escape when you feel like it and best of both worlds.
Tell us about your alter ego Agent E.
Agent Engagement is a free and trusted secret service to help anyone buying an engagement or wedding ring to be connected to the best jewellers and designers, whatever their style, budget and timing. Most of the people I help are trying to propose to their partner and need help making a ring, or just need some guidance on what’s sensible, achievable and ethical. It’s been such good fun and at the end of the day it’s all about saving people time and money, whilst also supporting British design when possible.
Photo credit: Ruth Tomlinson
What inspired you to start the business?
Some people have an engagement ring in their head and don’t have a clue how to make it, whereas others have their heart set on an art-deco antique or a certain designer luxury brand and aren’t having any luck. I’ve spent many years researching the best designer-makers, brands, antique dealers and online diamond databases so when I’m given a brief I quickly connect my client to the jewellers and trusted contacts that will make their vision a reality. My Agent Engagement service is completely free because I only make a small commission of the money I SAVE my clients – so it’s a win-win for everyone involved. So far I’ve helped over 50 people to make or buy an engagement ring, and then help with the wedding rings too. It’s really easy to spend too much and feel overwhelmed when buying a ring – I started the business to help people compare the market and enjoy the process. Word got out….Agent E at your service!
What’s the craziest proposal you’ve been a part of?
For me the crazy starts way before the proposal. Firstly meeting clients wearing a disguise on the steps of St. Paul’s or getting rings through airport security for someone who is proposing on holiday always involves a lot of prep and a giant post-it note on the ring box warming the security staff not to make a hullaballoo! If ever my clients need help with the actual WILL YOU MARRY ME moments I enlist my great friend Daisy who runs The Proposers. There is no end to ‘crazy proposals’ in her world. She’s been known to abseil into a cave to set up a romantic picnic spot, hide in bushes to capture the moment on camera, plough the magic words into happy farmer’s fields, strap banners to the back of light aircraft and get a load of helpers to pop the questions with umbrellas standing on a bridge while the couple are on a river boat below….the list is endless! When they want something extra special or just need another pair of hands, I send them to Daisy at The Proposers!
Describe your perfect day in London.
If I were to cram in all of my favourite things into one day, it would consist of: a Spin class at Boom Cycle in Holborn or Battersea, which is my kind of cycling therapy! Then breakfast at BlueBrick Café in East Dulwich, which serves loads of veggie goodness, perhaps followed by a potter around the market on Northcross Road and catch up with friends in the area. Afternoon will have a few phone-calls to clients or jewellers to keep their engagement ring missions moving, and then watch a film at East Dulwich PictureHouse or head out for dinner with friends. Days for me are never entirely Agent Engagement work-free but I wouldn’t have it any other way!