Behind the Seams with Kiki & Alice - Kikalice, if you will.
Alice and Kiki first crossed paths at Otago University and it wasn’t long before they moved into a flat together, spending their spare time knitting and finishing each other’s sentences. Oh, to be young. A trip to the sweltering streets of Asia cemented their bond, as it was here little ol’ linen joined the relationship and an unquenchable obsession with noodles was born.
They arrived home to a hole in their wardrobe and thought they might as well be the ones that filled it with luxuriously distinctive pieces, easy to wear and responsibly made. Not noodles. There’s a time and a place.
They came to the sewing table with the perfect set of skills. Alice began her fashion career studying pattern making and worked as a designer for brands in Auckland, Sydney, and Hong Kong. Kiki collected talents in sales, production, coding and developed quite the gift of the gab – in English and Mandarin.
After living in Greater China for over eight years, Kiki struck a treasure trove of luxurious fabrics and forged friendships with passionate experts who love linen and cashmere just as much as they do. Which - if you know how deep it goes - is really saying something.
hej hej launched in 2018 to the applause of ladies across the world with similar linen-shaped wardrobe holes. Their unveiling event was buzzing with half-dressed women trying on outfits in every corner of the house, followed quickly by their first ‘cha-ching’ (the actual sound their website makes when you buy something).
After two fruitful years on the line, Kiki and Alice decided to take the next step and get married. Just kidding, they're already married and their husbands also love linen. They opened a permanent store at BLOC. They loved getting to know their customers at their pop-up shops over the years and when a long-term space came available, they just couldn’t resist.
With every collection, they grow and evolve, but the biggest lesson learnt to date has been trusting their freakishly in sync brains. It’s a bit of an hej hej in-house joke, but when they both love something, more often than not, the customer is equally obsessed.
Though hej hej is built on New Zealand bones, an international team of talented ladies are their secret sauce. With Alice in Auckland, Kiki in Shanghai, a Japanese pattern maker in Hamilton, discerning suppliers and boutique workshops in China, all bringing their own inspiration, knack for quality fabrics and work-womenship to the mix.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to this spectacular team. Stay tuned!
Written by Zoe Edwards from Muster