One track mind

By Zoe Walker

Kate Alexander is refreshingly passionate about New Zealand design, with three jobs in the industry. As creative adviser and director of online design store, she aims to make New Zealand design accessible worldwide. The online store stocks pieces from a wide range of local designers including Sweetpea Home, Catalina, Paris House and Cina. She's also the director of design business Studio Alexander, which acts as a "brand guardian" for

local businesses. And if all of that doesn't keep her busy enough, she is also a director for Kinoo, a brand that encompasses clothing, paper products and homeware.

10 favourite things

1 The black wall in our new office

Studio Alexander, Endemic and Kinoo have just moved into new premises together in the old Brigdens shoe factory on New North Rd in Kingsland. The office has a high, exposed stud ceiling and the main colour scheme is white - except for one black wall. It's actually a blackboard wall but it's so nice and clean and smooth that I'm reluctant to write on it.

2 My silver sneakers

You know your shoe is a favourite when it wears out in less than a year.

I love my silver sneakers because even when I'm out for a walk I can feel slightly glamorous. I found them at Macy Home, I only pop in there occasionally, but when I do I always find something I like.

3 My collection of dresses

I'm a big fan of dresses, you can wear them with heels in the week and jandals in the weekend. I always buy a new dress for special occasions, so I have quite a few now. My favourite would probably be my floral Zimmerman beach dress, the bright colours never fail to make me feel happy.

4 My new Studio Alexander business card

Studio Alexander is 10 years old this year so it was about time we had new business cards. It's nice to have a card that you want to give out and to see people intrigued when they receive it - they get a nice surprise when they open the envelope and see our work inside. I especially like the big name on the front, after all that's what a business card is all about.

5 My Papercup coffee necklace

In my line of work it means I'm surrounded by cool things all day long, it takes a lot of self-control not to buy one of everything. When the Papercup "coffee, tea, me?" necklaces arrived I knew I needed one. I like the simplicity of it, and its miniature size. And of course, it's a homage to my favourite beverage, coffee!

6 My Tivoli portable radio

This is the only electronic device I have ever lusted after and bought for myself. The hardest decision was deciding which colour to choose. It looks beautiful and it functions. I really enjoy listening to the radio, usually interviews with interesting people on Radio New Zealand, and because it's portable I can take it with me wherever I go.

7 Glass dessert dishes

I found these in a junk shop in Paeroa. I bought them because they remind me of my nana - when she died we had them at home and Mum would serve us icecream in them for dessert. Apparently they originate from old milk bars where they were used to serve banana splits. I only have five so I'm on the lookout for some more.

8 Spanish postcards

My husband Ed and I did a road trip of Europe in 2004 and one of the places we visited was Granada in Spain. We stayed in a funny little campsite, and in the reception area they had a rack of postcards. I liked them so much I bought one of each, I like the colour and quirkiness. The lady in the shop looked at me like I was off the planet; I think they must have been sitting there for 20 years! Finally, four years later, I framed them and now they have pride of place above our kitchen table.

9 Ed & Kate letters

My brother-in-law did some work on an old movie theatre and he came across the old letters used for laying out the movie name signs. He found the letters to spell 'ED & KATE'. I love type, whether it's a piece of handwritten signage or a perfectly set piece of helvetica.

10 Dressing my son in my own brand

Choosing what my son gets to wear is almost more fun than shopping for myself. Last year we launched Kinoo and one of the ranges is babywear. It's only a simple range so far but it's pretty cool to dress Harry in something I have had a hand in creating, and when friends have babies it's easy to decide what to give them. When I'm selling we often go out in matching T-shirts. Cheesy huh?

- NZ Herald

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