Renovate with Gilly's - An Interview with The Koko Collective
Meet the two sisters, Kylie and Alicia behind the amazing brand Koko Collective. A brand focused on creating sustainable and ethical furniture for the home. Each piece is considered and handmade, creating a unique item for every customer. We had a chat to them about how they started Koko, what it's like working as sisters and their tips and tricks for running a business!
Tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We are two sisters living in Adelaide with 7 children between us. We are both passionate about the Koko Collective brand and sustainable furniture design. Each piece is handcrafted in slow time making it unique and special.
How did you start Koko?
Koko Collective was founded 6 years ago initially as a desire to travel more together. While on a family holiday in Indonesia with our mum and grandma, we discovered the family of crafters who they have worked with ever since. The local Indonesian family is headed up by a mother of four boys so we immediately bonded over common ground and have maintained a good friendship ever since.
As sisters, was this something you always wanted to do?
There was never any talk growing up about working together but it is certainly something as sisters we love to do! Both of us bring different skills into the business which works really well.
What do you love about renovating and DIY?
I love the new life you can give a space with a fresh coat of paint and the right finishes. Our mum is a huge lover of upcycling furniture and refreshing an old space, while we prefer a more modern take, I think we can credit her for our love of renovating and DIY.
What inspires you when creating?
I really like designing pieces that are beautiful, practical and will stand the test of time. Sustainable furniture is giving each piece a long life but also being about to enjoy it in your space.
Tell us a story about your favourite piece of Koko?
I really love our range of rattan pet beds, they are stylish and practical pieces that you can have on display in your living space instead of tucked away in your bedroom (like our popular bedheads). Also I love them because the fur babies should also get to sleep in style.
What do you recommend for people wanting to get into business as a sisters?
Working with your sister is amazing but it can also put pressure on your friendship. Make sure you have defined roles. This is so important so you are not stepping on each other's toes. Respect each other and remember that you are family first so if things blow up, call it, hug and move on.
What are the challenges of running Koko?
Container deliveries can be unpredictable and we often have to be flexible with our working weeks. There is also a lot of hats to wear when you run a small business so keeping on top of everything can sometimes be a challenge.
5 best tips and tricks for starting a project?
- A vision for what you want the end result to look like
- Quality products
- Good weather or undercover location
- Before and after photos
Where to next for you two?
We plan on growing the business and filling more homes with our beautiful furniture. We are also working on a leather range we hope to have out before Summer.
What's been your greatest lesson on this journey so far?
Communication and planning is key but also have fun along the journey because it's just as much about how you fill your days.
Have you used Gilly's Products before?
Yes we have used it to revamp our outdoor home furniture, it was amazing!
What do you look for in a good product for your furniture?
A quality product, good reviews and a trusted name.