Koromiko: An Eye for Handmade
When Tracey George, a New Zealand native based in Dallas, Texas was planning her newly launched ecommerce store, she selected a name that was both unique and reminded her of home. Koromiko, the name of the webshop, is also the name of a flowering native plan in New Zealand. “I liked the sound of the name and thought it had kind of an international feel to it” shares Tracey. Her intention behind launching Koromiko was to create a shop where she felt a connection to the people making the goods.
Launched in July, the site offers an array of nicely designed goods where there is transparency in the supply chain from maker and materials to the way products are listed online and the eco-friendly shipping materials she uses to send out Koromiko gift wrapped packages. “It was really important to me to focus on handmade goods, because when something is created by hand, there is an organic feel to it that you just can’t find in manufactured goods” Tracy says. “Each product features a bio about the maker. This was important for me to feel that people could actually connect a little more to the person behind the product.”
INTERVIEW: Tracey George, Founder, Koromiko (Dallas, Texas)
01 What qualities do you look for in a tableware item when you do your curating/buying?
It’s definitely a very personal choice. I don’t look to trends or to what other shops are stocking, I choose items that have a simplicity in design, a modern aesthetic, are well made and are also unique. I choose items I would love to have in my own home. Curating for an online store is a little different though than a physical store and I think if I was buying for a brick and mortar, that the goods would actually be even more pared down. A lot more whites and neutrals.
02 What type of consumer shops with Koromiko?
We’ve just been open a short while, but Koromiko appeals to consumers who are a little more conscious about where they purchase their goods and are not only looking for something different, but also want to feel like they are supporting independent designers and makers. Many are buying gifts for others – as we offer free gift wrapping on many items which is a nice plus! I think there is a general movement to be more aware of not only where and how our food is grown, but also where our clothing and homewares come from too. People are starting to see that a few quality pieces that can be passed on as heirlooms are far more valuable than many cheap items made in a factory.
03 What are your favourite tableware items on Koromiko at the moment?
I know it’s already fall, but I just love inky blues, even when it’s winter they remind me of summer! I would have to say my top 5 right now would be:
- Shino Takeda bowls – her work is at the same time delicate and bold with a slight rustic feel. Each item is totally unique and one of a kind. These bowls are perfect for winter soup. I’m also a big fan of mismatched collections instead of “sets”.
- This scalloped platter from Suite One Studio is glazed in the most beautiful jeweled blue color – a perfect complement to Fall oranges and browns.
- This hand stamped pie dish from Quebec based ceramicist Art et Manufacture is perfect for pumpkin and apple pies! I love that the design appears as the pie is eaten!
- These 100% natural linen napkins from NPG are super soft and perfect for entertaining – friendly on the environment and easily washable. I love cloth napkins and use them all the time at home.
- These serving boards from Australian maker, Treehorn are made from sustainable timber and have beautiful clean lines with a pop of color that are perfect for serving cheese or fruits, crackers, dips etc.
04 Do you entertain at home? If so, what is your entertaining style? What are you cooking these days?
I am a busy single mom! So entertaining is often a last minute meal shared with friends (and kids!). I like to keep things simple – being vegetarian, I make a lot of different salads with all kinds of greens, veggies and beans in summer. Now the days are getting cooler, so I’ve started making soups. I make different vegetable soups, lentil and bean dishes. I try to cook with produce that is in season and also have a community garden where my winter crops are starting to grow like broccoli, carrots, chard, beets, cauliflower etc.
When cooking (and even when planting my garden), I try to cook (and grow) foods that my daughter will eat. We also love to bake together all the time. She’s 8 and we make things like muffins, cookies, apple pie. I love that she gets to take home baked goods for her school lunch and we have fun trying out new recipes together.
05 What is going on in the handmade design scene these days?
It seems like every day I discover someone who’s promoting either handmade or American made. Over the last year or so, I’ve really noticed a shift (from consumers) towards caring about the goods they purchase. Especially up in the North West where there is an abundance of makers and promoting American made goods. The shift may be due in part to the economy, but I think it’s also a natural progression from caring about ingredients and caring about pesticides to where our food comes from and paying attention manufacturing processes when you have tragic events like the garment factory collapse in Bangladesh.
I think people are saying “hey – we used to make all of these things in America – what happened?” slowly businesses are returning their manufacturing to the States. People are also looking for a deeper connection and meaning in the goods they buy. Buying something handmade is buying into a traditional craft that has been passed on for generations and will now be in your hands for you to pass on.
06 What can be found on your table when you entertain at home?
Lots of vegetarian goodness! I actually love vintage ceramics and so my dishes are are mostly a mismatched collection of what I’ve collected over the years – mostly from thrift stores and a few antique stores. In terms of food – I like to serve a variety of dishes – a couple of salads, a grain dish like quinoa, maybe some marinated tofu and definitely a vegan desert – but what exactly depends on the season.
I’m very simple and don’t really do much decorating of the table – it’s something I wish I had more time for! I do like to use natural materials though, handwoven or embroidered tablecloths, vintage linens, cloth napkins and fresh flowers. I’m also trying to expand my collection of vintage cutlery.
07 Where do you turn for tableware inspiration?
I’m always discovering new makers and I like to combine new handmade pieces with vintage pieces as well. Suite One Studio always has beautifully styled ceramics and her color glazes are a constant inspiration. Also, usually I’m inspired by the season – a lot of blues and greens in summer and more rustic wood touches and muted grey colors in winter.
I love to travel and was in Greek islands last summer. The bright whites, simple decor and deep blues left a lasting impression on my mind. I think that’s why I’m still gravitating towards those indigo blue colors!
08 Do you ship internationally?
Yes! We ship to most countries for a flat rate shipping fee no matter how many items you buy. Our shipping policy is here: http://koromiko.com/pages/shipping-returns