Kiwi Cool: Shopping For New Zealand-Made Souvenirs

When you go to the other side of the world, you want to bring back a few things to show for your trouble. Visiting New Zealand with my 1-year-old daughter, and with nephews at home in America, I became obsessed with finding them something actually made in the country. A stuffed kiwi bird or lamb toy, a merino wool baby blanket, or a fun T-shirt would do nicely, and I wouldn’t mind some jewelry or something small for our apartment either. In all of the cities I visited in New Zealand, I was impressed to find stylish, playful and innovative boutiques and vendors creating beautiful and unique home design, fashion and other Kiwiana. There’s enough Kiwi cool shopping that you might end up wishing you had a bigger suitcase.

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Flotsam & Jetsam (Auckland) – A cross between an antique store and a hipster Restoration Hardware, this collection of colorful and covetable home items will make you contemplate a move to Auckland. Visitors from farther away might find interesting vintage, repurposed and retro home wares from New Zealand and all over the world. Check their Facebook page for details on the latest stock.Nelson Saturday market (Nelson, South Island) – New York City has street fairs and markets pretty much every day of the year if you look hard enough, but all too often, you find the same cheap tube socks, fried cheese and dough concoctions, and hodgepodge of junk. My expectations weren’t high for the weekly market in the arty town of Nelson on the top of the South Island, but after a quick walk through, I was glad I didn’t have too much cash to spend, as there was so much to buy. On a given weekend, you might find model airplanes crafted from soda cans, gourmet gluten-free tacos, and more knitwear than you can shake a sheep at. Local band performances, cooking demonstrations, or even a flash mob add to the festive atmosphere.

Pauanesia (Auckland) – This small shop is loaded to the gills with all things antipodean (a Brit term for a place on the other side of the world), with an emphasis on home textiles such as Polynesian-print tablecloths. If you have a little one to shop for (or just enjoy stuffed animals), consider one of the charming Kiwi “chaps” made from vintage and salvaged fabrics and send them a photo of your bird out in the world. You can also find a nice assortment of Paua shell jewelry, key chains, and other odds and ends much more thoughtfully and well-made than your average gift shop.

Iko Iko (Auckland and Wellington) – What drew me into the Wellington store was a window display of Dear Colleen‘s cheeky “Dishes I’d rather be doing” tea towels with “dishes” like Ryan Gosling and Mr. Darcy-era Colin Firth (get it?). I could have easily spent hours inside poring over the whimsical items, like a kiwi bird cookie cutter, Buzzy Bee cufflinks, or a CD from the Wellington Ukulele Orchestra. It’s full of things you don’t really need but really want, plus fun takes on everyday items.

Abstract Designs (Wellington) – You might call these artisanal cardboard cutouts. Abstract Designs makes creative sculptures and jewelry with a very local flavor. Perhaps you’ll pick up a 747 plane kit for the airplane nerd in your life, a pop-up building replica to remind you of your stay in Wellington, or a cruelty-free moose trophy head for your wall. Their designs are sold in many museum gift shops as well, but there’s a full selection at their Wellington studio and online.

Hapa (Christchurch) – Pop-up businesses have become the foundation for the new Christchurch after the 2011 earthquake. The Re:START mall is the best example, built out of shipping containers and housing a mix of “old” Christchurch shops in temporary digs and new shops. There are several stores in the mall selling New Zealand goods, but Hapa stands out for their many beautiful and clever items, like a bear bean bag chair or a knitted “fox stole” scarf. Best of all, many goods are made or designed in Christchurch, so you can feel good about supporting the local economy.

Texan Art Schools (multiple stores in Auckland) – Don’t be confused by the name, it’s a play on the fact that it carries work from graduates of “tech(nical)s” and art schools. Texan Art Schools acts as one-stop shopping for dozens of Kiwi artists and designers, with an eclectic mix of home items, fashion and jewelry. You’re sure to find something unusual and authentic here like a set of Maori nesting dolls or a retro camper wall clock.

Photo from Auckland’s Queen Street shopping arcade. More “Kiwi Cool: New Zealand for the Unadventurous” to come.

In-N-Out Burger Pop-Up In Singapore Sells Out In Less Than 5 Minutes

burger Who knew locals of one of the most world-renowned food destinations on Earth would go crazy over American burgers?

On July 24, an In-N-Out Burger pop-up restaurant opened in Singapore, lasting less than five minutes before they were completely sold out of patties. Originally scheduled to run from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., locals began lining up for the event at 9:30 a.m. By that time, 300 wristbands, which were necessary to claim one burger per person, had already been distributed.

According to CNNGo, the passionate response was due to the chain’s legacy of being “the” place to get great fast food. Even celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay admit to chowing down on their Animal Style burgers.

The first In-N-Out Burger opened in 1948 in Los Angeles, and has since spread to various locations around the western United States. However, after the response from the pop-up, In-N-Out Burger may want to consider opening a permanent shop in Singapore.

[Image via chunkysalsa]

Hippie-Inspired Pop-Up Hits Vancouver, Canada

pop up Swallow Tail Secret Supper Club is well known for hosting lavish and unusual pop-ups. And to help welcome the warm weather, they are hosting a “Summer of Love” pop-up restaurant on June 3.

The hippie-inspired event will feature a multi-course feast of Persian delicacies, and guests are asked to wear pieces like flowing skirts, flowers in their hair, wooden beads, linen and sandals. When you arrive to the designated park, you can relax on your blanket in the sun until you hear the music beckoning you to the hidden lounge. Follow it, and you’ll be greeted with soft silk pillows for a Roman dining experience, and spiked tea made with elderflower, fir tip and arbutus bark. There will also be a wine pairing upon request.

“The energy of spring is a perfect match for the lively flavours of the Middle East,” says Robin Kort, owner of Swallow Tail Secret Supper Club. “There are so many exciting flavours: tart, spicy, refreshing, floral and sweet.”

As usual, the location of the pop-up will not be disclosed until after the booking is made.

Tickets are $79 per person. Email robin@swallowtailtours.com for more information or to book.

Secret supper prohibition-era restaurant pops up in Vancouver, Canada

popup restaurant For three evenings only, Swallow Tail Canada will once again be hosting their Secret Supper Soiree in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada. While guests can expect a classy 1930’s-inspired underground bar, murder mysteries, transportation in a timeless double decker bus, and tastings of wines that are not available on the market, they will not know the location of the speakeasy until the night of the event.

The creators of the prohibition-era pop-up event are telling guests to meet at Pacific Central Station and from there will be picked up and taken backwards in time. To make the event more realistic, participants are also being asked to wear their fanciest speakeasy attire. Once at the secret location, a five-course tasting menu by Chef Andrea Carlson of Bishops as well as one Pims Cup and three wine tastings from local wineries will be offered.

Says Chef, Sommelier, and Owner of Swallow Tail Canada, Robin Kort, “I used to be a swing dancer, so I’m really enamored by the 1930s and that whole speakeasy era. It embodies what Swallow Tail is, too. It’s underground, exclusive, and secret. I like that vibe.”

Dates for the event are January 21, January 28, and February 4 at 4PM. Click here to purchase tickets.

World’s first pop-up mall: London’s Boxpark

pop-up mall

Millions of us will head to the mall this week to return gifts or buy what we really wanted from the after-Christmas sales. Chain stores, fast food courts, and packed parking lots are what most of us associate with shopping malls, but a new retail concept in hip East London is looking to change that. Boxpark is the world’s first pop-up mall, made out of 60+ shipping containers that house a mix of international labels like The North Face and Levi’s, UK designers Luke and Boxfresh, plus cafes and eateries such as Pieminister. Boxpark will be open for five years, and stores may change after a year or two. Befitting the Shoreditch neighborhood, don’t expect Claire’s Accessories or the Gap, but rather street fashion, cool sneakers, and funky concept stores and art galleries Art Against Knives and Marimekko. Already a huge trend with restaurants, one-off shops, and hotels, the flexibility of the pop-up concept means an urban (or anywhere, since the containers can be moved!) location, up-and-coming designers, and more creative retail spaces.

Check out all the retailers at www.boxpark.co.uk plus info on sales and special offers.