I chat with Tori Veysey (virtually) about Kauri & Sons, her thoughtful clothing brand for little boys aged 0-24 months. It's inspired by the spirit of family & the forest & Tori proudly cherishes both people & the environment. Her story begins as many of the best do, with a mother creating for her children. Let her tell us more;
Tell us a little bit about your life before Kauri & Sons. Do you still manage to work in the space of illustration & graphic design?
I studied to be a graphic designer straight out of high school, it seemed the obvious career path. My Dad and younger brother are also both designers, I guess it runs in the family! I worked for a small design studio in Hamilton for nearly 5 years before starting my own freelance business: Journeyman Creative. By that stage I'd had my first son and I wanted to be at home with him... but I also loved my work. Basically I wanted to have my cake and eat it too! It was a great move for me and our little family and I am so glad that I took that leap. Though don't get me wrong, the juggle is real! (My youngest is sitting on my lap as I write this and is currently scribbling pencil all over my desk).
A couple years later my second son was born and that was where the seed for Kauri and Sons was planted. I've been running both businesses since then but I am now in a space where I am trying to focus on growing Kauri and Sons. So I am trying not to do illustration and design... But that's easier said than done with me. I find it hard to turn down projects – especially the creative ones.
Kauri & Sons is impressively well rooted in 6 core values & as I read them I was particularly impressed by your efforts to have minimal waste. I’m not pulling my weight here as a Kiwi - do you have any tips on how we can practice this more in our homes because as you say “We've only get this one world - and we think the one we’ve got is pretty great”
It's a journey! It is so easy to get overwhelmed in this space, but as my friend Nic says – it's all about one small change. Find one thing you can do that will reduce your waste and commit to it. Soon it will become your norm. Then, pick another thing. I started with my KeepCup – I decided that if I don't have it with me then I don't get a coffee – or I have to drink it in the shop. That was a pretty good motivator to remember it. I still feel like I have a long way to go in reducing my waste, but if I keep picking one new thing to change I hope that in a few years I would have made a difference.
What makes you work well? I’m still learning the art of juggling work, business & children & I’m always up for tips on how to do it better. How do you do it? What’s your work space & routine like?
Like any working parent knows, it's a constant juggle and it's always changing. I think I could use a few tips too!
So far I have learnt that it helps to have a designated work space. I have been lucky enough to have an office at home – when I am in there I am in "work mode". The separate space seems to help with the metal switch between "I am at home" and "I am at work". I have also had to learn to be more flexible. If nap time (aka work time) doesn't go as planned then I need to be able to roll with it and shift my schedule. It is also really important to reevaluate. My husband and I will often sit down together and say "Is this working? Is it worth it? What can we change to make this more manageable?" It's important to be honest with yourself about where you are at and how you are coping and why you are doing what you are doing.
What is your favourite part of your business? The thing you love to do the most?
All the creative bits! Coming up with colour palettes and doing the illustrations to make patterns or prints for the fabrics. Planning photoshoots and designing lookbooks. Sewing mock-ups or toys.
Right now our county is in Level 4 lockdown as we fight as a nation against COVID-19. What have your learnings been at home &/or in business? And what are you looking forward to most when we resume our new normal?
What a time to be alive huh?! At the end of last year we sold our house and bought a much bigger one with another family (crazy right?!). We live on the bottom floor and the other family lives on the top floor. We are completely independent of one another – kind of like apartment living – but all the land outside is shared space. So my family has been pretty fortunate during this remarkable time as we are in one big bubble together – four adults and four young boys. My husband is a policeman and still going to work, so home life still has a sense of normalcy for the kids (as much as it can when you don't ever leave the house!) Luckily we have lots of room for the boys to run around outside and play. I've really been enjoying the time with the kids and I've been pouring my creative efforts into things with the kids instead of work. It's certainly simplified our lives and made me appreciate the little things. In terms of my business, I've taken a Hakuna Matata attitude toward it all.
No one really knows what kind of economic impact covid-19 is going to have yet. My next season was in the middle of production in India but they are now also in lockdown. So I have no idea when that will be completed and when I'll be able to get it in the country. But worrying about it will only make me stressed and anxious – there's nothing I can do about it. Besides, keeping safe and healthy is so much more important right now. So, we're rolling with the punches and just hoping for the best.
When this is all over I am most looking forward to visiting my parents and giving my mum a hug! They only live about seven blocks down the road and we usually have family dinner with them every Sunday night, so it's been an adjustment not hanging out with them. I am also looking really looking forward to shipping out orders! Our online shop is open but orders won't be shipped until we return to Level 3. In the meantime I am giving away one of our mustard reversible sleepsacks. Head on over to our instagram to enter!
Photo credit: Tori Veysey & Oh Baby Magazine - Autumn Issue out now & available in supermarkets during COVID-19 lockdown