An oasis of all things purposefully stylish, paperplanestore.com and its bricks and mortar design studio and store in Mount Maunganui, is a hub for the owners’ creative outlets as well as a carefully curated selection of wares from skilled artisans. We spoke with Canadian-born Krista Plews, who founded Paper Plane with her Kiwi husband, Timothy John.
How did you come up with the name Paper Plane?
After being forced to change our original name a few weeks before opening, we had an ‘aha moment’ with the name Paper Plane. When making a paper plane, you take a humble, simple material, and apply the building blocks of design (such as balance, shape and size) to it. The end result is an object that’s functional, beautiful, and fun. We thought this reflected our appreciation for design and playful attitude perfectly.
Are interiors in your background?
I did a degree in interior architectural design. Working with a few firms over the years, I project managed a range of commercial and residential designs. The process starts with creating a strong overall design concept, then we move into space planning development, through to drafting up the technical plans and tie it all together with interior finishes and furnishings. The last project I worked on before moving to New Zealand in 2007 was to create a finishing package for a client’s private Learjet. That’s what I love about design — every project is unique!
You own Paper Plane with your husband?
Yes, I met Tim in Canada while he was cycling across the country training for New Zealand Ironman. One of our first conversations was about how amazing it would be to live in a New York style loft, so we clearly shared a passion for design from the beginning. As a design duo, we launched the Timothy John product range in 2010 with Tim being the creative mind behind the collection, and me running the business and marketing side. We soon found we wanted to work more closely with the New Zealand public and chatted a lot about opening up a design store. It has been an interest of mine since a teenager, but honestly, I never dreamt it would actually happen. Having a strong partner in Tim made it possible, and in 2013 we opened Paper Plane in Mount Maunganui and online.
So you make some of your own wares? And curate the rest?
We design and manufacture a small furniture range locally, including our custom Splay tables designed to fit the customer’s space to perfection. We love collaborating with crafters and makers on exclusive products which includes our Mist ceramic collection designed with JS Ceramics, handmade locally. Most of our offerings are curated from New Zealand and afar. I love hunting out new ideas, creatives and products, and never tire of it. Born to shop, I guess!
What is your philosophy?
Our ultimate goal is to connect design with the market and to encourage our customers to be thoughtful consumers; to invest in pieces they interact with on a daily basis. We strive to curate goods that are beautiful, functional, and built to last. We love exploring tradition and technique from around the world, bringing it all together at Paper Plane. Charcoal goods from Japan, slick design from Denmark, and leather slippers from Morocco, mixed with the bounty of New Zealand creatives makes for quite the global feast.
Paper Plane (paperplanestore.com) has quickly turned into a lifestyle general store. We sell quality goods with a clear function and a point of difference. We love traditional techniques blended with modern form. Our botanical bath and body care, linen goods, and handcrafted ceramics, to name a few, showcase this viewpoint beautifully. We also recognise that we have a significant impact on our local and online communities, so are striving for greater sustainability behind the scenes while encouraging our customers to do the same by offering them a more mindful range of goods.
What is your own design aesthetic?
Casual, minimal and impactful. We recently moved into a new house and took nothing but a few existing pieces of art with us. It’s so liberating to start fresh and slowly add pieces that have a story, designed by creatives we admire. @paperplanestore