Pay it Forward - Hibiscus

At Pay It Forward we are pleased to have a plethora of talented indie designer's calling the co-operative their own. Each month we aim to introduce to you a 'Designer of the month', for the month of April this designer is Kirstee of Hibiscus. So grab a coffee because it's time to get better acquainted...

What is the story behind 'Hibiscus'? The naming itself is a nod to my time overseas, spending glorious years nestled in a sub tropical paradise. Every morning, without much fail, I would pick a hibiscus flower for my hair on my way to work, so naming my business after my own sweet memories seem apt, given that this, my own little business, was created from dreams of past reminiscence, just by me.

How did the brand come to be? Hibiscus was dreamt in my imagination back in 2005, a year after I welcomed our first child into the world. It has taken on a number of different faces since, including a substantial break following the Christchurch earthquakes (where all my stock was stuck in our red stickered Mt Pleasant home, unable to be salvaged for a time). The Hibiscus which lies before you now was created after our second child was born, and after our world had stopped rocking, in 2013, and has taken on a life of it’s own during the last twelve months.

Your brand is synonymous with upcycling. What do you enjoy most about working with and restoring previously loved pieces? Without a doubt, it has to be the transformation from beast to beauty. I also get a huge sense of achievement knowing I have deliberately saved one more piece of unused furniture from the scrap heap and imminent landfill.

I like to think I’m saving the planet one piece of wood and vintage book at a time! My ‘get up and go’ stems from the immense pleasure I gain from sanding a piece of many times painted furniture, and seeing what beauty of forgotten wood might lay beneath.

I am often sprung posting pictures of before and after sanding adventures, it keeps the history part real for me, and I hope it enables my customers to appreciate the pieces in their real and true form.

I try to keep as much natural, bare wood, in some capacity, in as many pieces as possible, though do admit defeat in original wood too damaged to remain bare. This is when I haul out the fabric and turn it into something almost majestical...

Do you have any interesting stories about where you've discovered pieces that you've worked with? I spend a lot of time garage saling and op shopping! There have been amazing finds of disused Russian lifeboat oars and mid century side tables which have gone on to live again in the form of children’s play kitchen’s and tide clocks. I often wonder what these pieces have seen in their lifetime, and get a load of pleasure knowing I have given them life to see a whole lot more...

You are one of the founding Pay It Forward artisans, what have you enjoyed most about this creative journey? Most definitely the gathering together. Gathering of people who become one brain, resources which become the co-operative and running as a whole, and the friendships which ensue.

What are the advantages to being in a co-operative like this? The saying goes “Many hands make light work." In Pay It Forward’s case, many hands make for more than just light work, it also represents the gathering of a community of like minded, kindred crafting spirits working together for one common goal - bringing New Zealand the best of local, handcrafted amazingness!

I know you've collaborated with a couple of the other founding artisans - recently Crazybird with the cover of Hazed and at markets with Miss Mavis, what do you enjoy most about having the opportunity to work with other designers. Knowing there are others out there who have a ‘lightbulb project moment’ at some wildly un-human hour, which they must start immediately... and again, the pooling of resources and talents to show my best work to it’s full potential. This is highly evident at markets where I collaborate with Sam from Miss Mavis. Furniture is jolly hard to present on it’s own to make it look useable and homely, so the addition of a couple of stunning cushions will never go astray!

Your still relatively new to this 'scene', what hurdles have you found along your journey? With earthquakes, shifting house (and business) copious amounts of times aside, not a lot I'm pleased to say! I have been warmly welcomed into the world of indie design in Christchurch, with many dreams being realised very quickly in the forms of market acceptance’s, repeat clients, appearing in and on the cover of Hazed Magazine, and being a part of the Pay It Forward Co Operative. The above are just some of the opportunities I have jumped for, and landed the proverbial feather for Hibiscus’s cap.

And, where do you see your journey taking you in the future? I’m currently conquering the universe. I’ll let you know how that goes for me!

What is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given? Be true to you. Hold the values within, high on the outside. I’ve also learned the same rule is true for my knickers when attempting to be an entrepreneur/stay at home Mama Super Hero.

What does the term 'Indie Design' mean to you? Individuality. Close to home locality. It’s a revolution. Get amongst it. I dare you!

So pop on it to Pay It Forward and discover more work by the fabulous Hibiscus, but not just that we also have tons of fabulous work by many other talented designers for you to discover!! 

45 Nancy Ave

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