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Interview | Koko Classics


Luggage Trolley Coffee Table, from Koko Classics

Details from Koko Classics, Mt Eden

When Koko Classics set up shop in the Auckland suburb of Mt Eden two years ago, we were living close by at the time. The large, free-standing retail space, formerly a substation, hadn't been utilised to its full potential in recent years, so it was great to see someone move in who would do just that. A unique store featuring specially designed industrial and vintage style furniture and accessories, this was certainly something for the locals to get excited about! The shop front alone is so eye-catching, passers-by can't help but stop to take a look. Large signage, flags and a rotating display of products gives a taste of what's inside. Brimming with gorgeous pieces including dining tables, sofas, cowhides and taxidermy sourced from around the world, Koko Classics really is a must-see! 

Even though we've moved, I still visit Koko Classics and keep up with new product arrivals via the Koko Classics blog. Luckily I still get my hair done next door, so there's always an excuse to pop in! I also love saying hi to Heather, the store manager. Always warm and friendly, she very kindly agreed to answer some questions for The Design Chaser. So a massive thank you to Heather and Roberta for their time, the product images and for allowing me to take some photos of the store! I hope these tempt you in for a proper look. I promise you won't be disappointed! 

Koko Classics, Mt Eden

Can you tell us a bit about how Koko Classics came about - when was it established, who by etc?

Two years ago Miles Frizzell found the converted substation on Mt Eden Road, leased it and started a weekly commute from Christchurch, staying Tuesday till Saturday night with one of his daughter’s in Auckland. When the earthquakes hit, his existing business in Christchurch, Urbano Interiors (a leather and furniture retailer situated in a converted petrol station) slowed down and he sold it on. (It has now turned into the premises for renowned Copenhagen Bakery). He kept up the commute to Auckland for a year, and the family finally all moved up to Auckland in December 2011.

How is the business structured - stores, staff etc?

Heather Mason is now manager at the Mt Eden store, which opens its doors Monday to Saturday. Miles Frizzell and his daughter Roberta import and select items for the store. The Herne Bay Outlet store is staffed from Wednesday to Sunday.

How would you describe the Koko Classics aesthetic? Does your own style/home reflect this?

The Koko Classics look is an eclectic mix of industrial and vintage inspired pieces, available at a great price point. We are surrounded by the stuff we sell! Miles would rather see it sell than have it sit around, so our style is continually evolving. Koko Classics style has been built on Miles’ own retail business experiences of over 30 years.

Tell us about the products you sell. Where are they sourced from?

We source products from all over the world. Animal hides from Brazil. Taxidermy from South Africa. Products from India and China. Mule Deer Antler Chandeliers from Winnipeg. We also support the local label 'While Molly Naps' who creates recycled coffee sack floor cushions and pillows to order. We also try to add a point of difference to mainstream items such as the TOLIX inspired dining chair and we now offer our chairs and stools with a cowhide upholstered seat.

What are your favourite products right now?

Deep-buttoned Chesterfield sofas, wind-up crank bar tables and matching industrial iron and elm stools. And our new shop favourite, imported from Canada to order, a white resin Elephant - posing as faux taxidermy…

We are also about to receive a taxidermy Moose and a Bison from Winnipeg, Canada.

Classic Chesterfield Sofa

Crank Table with Elm Topped Swivel Stools

White Resin Elephant 

Retail must be hard at times. What challenges, if any, has the store faced?

Recent extensive road works, cold weather and a lack of space for displaying everything!

As part of your role, you publish the Koko Classics blog. Are there any websites or blogs that you visit regularly for inspiration?

I visit a few blogs regularly that cover a range of topics from graphic design to fashion and styling to interior design. These include Garance Dore, The Design Files and The Coveteur. I also look at interior design websites and international magazines such as Elle D├ęcor for inspiration and to stay in the loop.

I recently found that you have an outlet store in Herne Bay. Are there plans to open more stores?

The outlet has been a very popular little shop among the Herne Bay locals. We are looking at the possibility of another store, though this wouldn’t be until after the New Year. One flagship store is quite enough to handle!

Details from Koko Classics, Mt Eden

Reclaimed Elm Dining Table with Linen and Oak Dining Chairs

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  1. Oh, I like your new site design, so pretty! ;)

    1. Thanks Anu. Still making some tweaks but getting there! x



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