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Rowena started Agent Engagement in 2015. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Agent Engagement?
My career has always been about building relationships and partnerships as part of business development for a range of start-ups and successful enterprises. By day I’m a Global Senior Marketing Manager at MOO, the lovely online print and design company and by night I’m a Secret Agent!
> You don’t necessarily need to rush: Going full-time on your new business can be a lot of pressure. If it’s possible to test out your idea and product or service at the weekends or evenings, definitely do that first!
As I’m not a jeweler myself, I’ve built Agent E by looking at the experience of buying or creating an engagement ring through the eyes of a customer – who most often have very little experience of buying fine jewellery until this point in their lives!
There are actually 6 different ways you can create an engagement ring (Antique, Online, Luxury brands, High-Street stores, Designer-Makers and ‘Make Your Own’) – but if you go into a jeweler or visit a designer, they are only going to be able to tell you about their niche.
The lightbulb idea came when I realized that by building a community of professionals around myself as ‘Agent E’, I could listen to my client’s needs and very efficiently refer them immediately to the exact experts who suited their needs. My job is to identify very quickly the best manufacturing and design routes for my client to achieve their ideal ring.
This saves everyone involved (including the jewellers) TIME, MONEY and HASSLE. Word started spreading…Agent E at your Secret Service!
I’ve always had my best ideas for Agent Engagement on trains…
The concept of a secret agent to help prospective proposers came to me when I was on a DockLand Light Railway (DLR) heading over to a friend of a friend’s Canary Wharf office, as he wanted to chat through the difference between using a diamond his grandmother had given him, compared to buying a new stone.
Canary Wharf - London’s Banking District
I met Client J in the corner of his banking office cafeteria and we both realized that a service whereby I could help somebody to compare the jewellery industry, in the comfort of his own working environment or leisure time could be very popular.
We compared styles, traditions, diamonds, and proposal options for hours and the full service of Agent E started to evolve. I’ll never forget walking out of the imposing building in surrounded by suits realizing that I was onto something…
Soon after, Client J and I were both attending our mutual friend’s wedding in Ireland and had to go through the whole airport security, flight and wedding pretending not to know each other as he was proposing a few weeks later.
No-one found discovered that we’d been working together for weeks and had lunch together the day before to pick up the finished ring. I made a small % commission from the jeweller Client J opted for, and at this point Agent E was not only a very fun secret service, but profitable too.
It was another train where my sister-in-law came up with the name ‘Agent Engagement’ and my brother designed a logo with the 6 symbols of a secret society forming a diamond shape.
Creating the Agent Engagement name and branding was a huge step forwards as everything started to slot together. Friends recognized that this was a serious and professional way to gain help when they needed it and not just a hobby!
I started to meet clients on the steps of iconic buildings near their offices...or in a pub after work!
St.Pauls Cathedral London at sunset.
We are incredibly lucky to be building start-ups in an era of smartphones, low-cost website builders and all sorts of apps to help us spread the word and run enterprises on the go. There is no better time to be a start-up than NOW :)
The business model of Agent Engagement relies on close partnerships with my clients, the incredible jewellers and craftsmanship we have at our fingertips and technology enabling constant communication.
By taking a detailed client brief, Agent E makes a small commission of the amount the client SAVES, directly from the jeweller. Saving everyone time and hassle, this is a win-win situation for both supplier and customer.