A new eco-friendly and environmentally-sound brand, Kate Wood opened the doors of its first store in Indonesia last month in Berawa, Canggu. Out of their very cozy and organic-styled outlet they are selling all kinds of fascinating items made predominantly from bamboo and re-cycled materials. The Beat spoke with co-founder and partner in Kate Wood, Russian born, Dina Daly about the enterprise.
Kate Wood Originals, named after founder Pim Gietelink’s daughter, was first created out of a desire to build a legacy he could pass on to future generations. Born in Amsterdam in 2012 first with wooden sunglasses and watches, Kate Wood Originals has become a socially conscious business that believes there is still great value in carefully handcrafted goods made from renewable resources.
Dina Daly told The Beat that the company first chose to work with bamboo and wood, because they were sustainable products. “Bamboo is a fast-growing plant and it’s very eco-friendly. We use leftover (recycled) wood to make watches and sunglasses. The bamboo is from China and Indonesia. The different types of leftover woods that we work with, like sandalwood, ebony, rosewood and maple wood, are either from North America or Southeast Asia,” Dina says.
Eco-friendly products have not always been an easy sell to a skeptical public but that is changing. “Eco-friendly products were very niche and seen as a little pretentious until a few years ago. It’s actually not easy to make products that are both eco-friendly and fashionable so we try to find the right balance with that,” says Dina.
We can imagine everyone wants everything designed very sleek nowadays, but how does that go with strength? There must have been much to learn at the beginning, especially in regard to strength, but they managed to overcome that too. “Since we opened the first flagship store in Shanghai, some four years, we’ve been inspired by customers and friends – the fine people of Shanghai. For example, there are over 70 new styles of sunglasses, with different shapes and finishing, with materials like purple heart wood and stone veneer as well as classic and trendy shapes. And in regard to strength, all sunglasses are fortified with multiple layers of wood, so they are stronger and won’t brake easily. Most importantly, we have invested in the best lenses we could find. Same as watches, we use the best quality Swiss movements, with double face glass for water resistance and stronger wood, like brown sandal wood and walnut.”
As stated above, Kate Wood is about helping the next generations, and they want to continue doing more for children. Presently they are working with Orbis (www.orbis.org/en), which is a nonprofit organisation with programs dedicated to blindness prevention and helping people with eye diseases. “They have their own airplanes and fly doctors to remote areas to help those who don’t have access to medical facilities. Many of our products are related to sight, so it makes sense to support Orbis,” states Dina. “We have been working with ORBIS more than six years already, from the beginning of Kate Wood, in fact. We donate 10% of our proceeds to them.”
In 2016 Kate Wood opened their first flagship store in Shanghai, China and in May 2019 the second flagship store in Bali, Indonesia.
Dina has taken charge of Kate Wood in Bali. She’s no slouch and has three degrees in mechanical engineering and economics, but she chose to first work in the hospitality industry in Shanghai. In 2017, her life and profession changed completely when she joined the Kate Wood team full-time. “This began a new chapter in my life,” she starts, “and I am so happy and gratefully that this happened to me. This new venture makes me so happy, fills my creative side and brings me so much satisfaction building a brand from the ground up and achieving so much success in a relatively short period of time.”
“Even though I was there helping right at the beginning of Kate Wood with my partner, Pim Gietelink, in my marketing/part owner position now in Bali I am often meeting clients at the store or attending various events. Meeting people from different professions and cultures makes my job so fulfilling. The daily interaction is always the highlight of my day,” finishes Ms Daly.
You can check out the stylish and very eco-friendly of Kate Wood on Jalan Berawa, near Macan restaurant, today. I’m sure you will be impressed. [David Trauts]