Going native

Article illustration

Elliot and Kate Alexander


New Zealand is full of great designers. But Kate and Elliot Alexander were astonished to find how many good Kiwi designers there were operating under the public’s radar. Online store is their answer.

“We’re not just a store for suppliers,” says Kate Alexander. “We are a facilitator for them, guiding them in the right direction, so it’s all done in collaboration.  We involved the designers in the design process of the website, so they could see the quality of the design we were doing.”

“We try to make a noise about the designers, to position them alongside the more well-known [designer] brands,” adds Elliot. “Everyone was interested.” went live in December 2007. Already, 70 percent of visitors come from offshore. Fast is important: with in-house production, can have a designer’s products online and selling within days.

“We focus on products that have had that extra bit of effort put in, with unique stories,” says Elliot Alexander. ”New Zealanders are used to bargains when shopping online, but we want to sell larger and more investment items [and switch people] from bricks and mortar to buying online. It’s awesome to get brands going.”