We welcome Sally from New Zealand brand Newbies. It was love at first cardboard
sight when we spied them in Sydney (between them and their neighbour
Flatout Frankie our eyes were nearly popping from our heads!)
The endless creative possibilities of cardboard for packaging and toys is
What is the essence and vision of your business Newbies that you strive
to bring to your customers?
Newbies is a New Zealand design company with a strong focus on creating unique homewares
for kids and grownups alike. Newbies represents the childhood innocence of believing that anything
you dream is possible. It’s a brand that values new ideas and fresh perspectives that are integrated
into clever designs. We love what we do and we know that it shows in our products.
What brings customers to purchase a product by Newbies?
Newbies injects a bit of fun, curiosity and inspired design into the customer’s home.
Whether it’s a swarm of our acrylic Wall Planes, or our wooden Jewellery Tree laden with
a little girl’s treasures, our designs will catch your eye whether you find them in a busy store,
online, or at a friend’s house. Our customers share our love for products that are
unquestionably practical and overwhelmingly good-looking.
What is the best thing about owning your own business?
Even though owning a small business brings new challenges every day, it’s also very rewarding.
At Newbies we don’t feel limited by anything other than our imaginations: all our designs start
at the kitchen table, and we have so much fun brainstorming crazy ideas, most of which never
see the light of day! The best thing, though, would have to be when we see our ideas turn into reality,
and then when we receive fantastic feedback from people who really ‘get’ Newbies and
enjoy our designs.
How much of your style flows into how you live, how you dress, what you read?
It’s impossible to separate my own personal style from the Newbies aesthetic. I am in awe of
clever design, I love filling my life with beautiful things, and reading edgy and relevant
publications such as Paper Runway. Running a business and a family means that my living
and working environment has to be functional too. I dress stylishly but casually –the same
goes for my home- and both are built to withstand the destructive powers of my children!
This combination of practicality and style is what Newbies is all about.
We know what we love about Newbies but what do you love about Paper Runway?
Each issue is a piece of design in itself! Paper Runway’s unique aesthetic is handmade and
soft but uncompromisingly stylish and current – and this has a lot in common with our design
philosophy at Newbies. In particular I love the colours and the beautiful layout of Paper Runway.
I also love the magazine’s focus on the achievements of incredibly talented individuals
and small businesses – it’s so inspiring to read these success stories.
What enlivens your creativity day in, day out?
Everyday things in my life often give me the best ideas of all – creativity seems to just come to me
when I least expect it. Every successful project inspires me to start a hundred more!
My children are a constant source of humour and also motivate me to make unique
and interesting products both for their ages –and anyone else who is a kid at heart!
What makes you happy?
Family and friends are very important to me – I love spending time with them as they keep me real,
while I juggle the challenges of running my own business. Seeing my business grow and finding
that others appreciate what we do at Newbies gives me continued enthusiasm.
Also a tall gin and tonic is a great end to a busy week!
Which blogs do you read daily? Your best blog find?
I’m lucky to be friends with heaps of design lovers, who are always posting interesting new
links for me to follow. Last week I discovered herblester.com, which is amazing. There are some great
kiwi blogs out there, like thewaytobe.co.nz and thedesignalphabet.blogspot.co.nz. Surfing through
local and international blogs is such a great
way to connect with like-minded creatives – even though it can be addictive!
What is your favourite paper product?
Our new Bully Bank (about to be released in August) is heaps of fun. A funky take on the piggy bank,
our money-stashing bull is made from cardboard. He comes flat packed so kids can construct him
and decorate him using stencils.
What is your relationship to paper?
An everyday, many times a day relationship – very close!!! I couldn’t live without it – it is malleable
and incredibly functional. All our packaging is made from paper, and it can make or break the initial
perception of a particular item. In fact we put as much thought into our packaging as we do into the
products themselves – it’s an obsession of mine! One of my favourites is the paper boxes that our
wooden butterflies come in, which you can see on newbies.co.nz
The way they open is exceptionally pretty.
How different is working on paper to working with any other medium?
Paper’s possibilities are endless compared to other mediums which can be much more limiting.
Paper is familiar and intimate but has the potential to be transformed into the most valuable treasures
and high-end design objects. Newbies makes the most of paper’s very tactile nature,
which ultimately determines the way the product feels to someone when they first see it and touch it.
What freedoms does it allow and what are its limitations?
Paper allows the ultimate freedoms, as it can be cut, moulded, folded, bent, rolled, decorated printed,
dyed, bleached or be left to look natural depending on the impression we want to make.
Newbies packaging style varies for each of our products, but the fact that they’re all paper
helps keep them tied into the Newbies world.
What is next for Newbies?
We have just begun expanding Newbies within Australia, which will mean that Paper Runway readers
will see our products everywhere! Many more exciting products are in their initial design stages,
and our ‘ideas’ book gets fuller by the day, so we’re good for a while yet!