I always love to learn about new creative ventures, and the work of this clever couple has me totally inspired. Randa Kassem and Todd Millar formed Wooden Diamond early in 2012, with the aim to bring high quality, interesting pieces of furniture to the New Zealand market. They love to take a classic design and update it with a modern twist. Most of their products are produced in Egypt by an expert craftsman and family friend, and many are unique, one of a kind pieces.
I had a bit of a chat with them recently to find out more about their business.
Can you tell me a little bit about your backgrounds?
Todd: I grew up at a beach in the far north surfing and spearfishing with three younger brothers. I made the move down to Auckland to study Communications at AUT and now I run a small landscape business as well as building and developing Wooden Diamond.
Randa: I was born and raised in Egypt until I was eight years old, and then we came over to Auckland as my mother's parents were here. I studied fashion and worked in the industry for five years before starting up Wooden Diamond and then falling pregnant!
How did you come to start Wooden Diamond?
Randa's grandfather used to be a Doctor in Egypt, and he treated patients for free in the poorer areas. One of his patients grew up to be a carpenter, and he and my father randomly crossed paths one day in Egypt. They got talking and my father suggested we use his skills to try something. And here we are!
Your rimu armchairs are beautiful. Can people contact you if they have a specific fabric colour or pattern in mind?
These are one of our faves! We like to make one-offs and enjoy adding a modern element to this style of vintage chair. We do have other chair frames available if people want to get some made up with their choice of fabric.
Do you ship your products New Zealand wide?
Yes, we can ship throughout New Zealand, and are happy to look at costs for this.
What inspires you?
Right now, our precious newborn Zarie Millar. But as far as business goes - geometric patterns, nature, wabi sabi and originality.
Do you have any future plans for Wooden Diamond that you can share with us?
New products are in the mix as we speak, so just developing them further. We would definitely like to have a store one day, and eventually take over the world!
Thanks so much Todd and Randa. One of your circle chopping boards is definitely going to have to come and live with me, and I'm excited to see what your new products will be.
Make sure you all visit the Wooden Diamond website, as there is plenty more to see.