Koko & Ki: What we do ...
Why koko & ki?
Hi there! I'm Tavao. I run koko & ki and pretty much create every image and design that you see on this site. It takes a lot of courage and conviction to start a business, but when an idea excites you and keeps you awake at night, you just know that you have to do something about it
So hey. I'm an artist, graphic designer, photographer & freelance florist with a penchant for identity design (branding) and eclectic & bohemian-luxe interiors. My beautiful mum's passing in April 2016 drove me to make a commitment to fulfilling the dream that I shared with mum back in May 2015. The dream is to design a business with a focus on exploring Samoan design and cultural identity through interiors, stationery and decor. We had plans to go to Samoa to get inspiration for decor products, but God obviously had other plans. Nevertheless, I still feel mum's presence in everything I do. Her influences, her passions & teachings continue to inspire my work and ideas more than ever. Not a day goes by that I don't ever think of her.
HOW THE IDEA CAME ABOUT
Koko & Ki is the answer to my artistic dilemma of not knowing how to utilise my varied skill set AND my way out the 9-5 cookie cutter/template work life. After losing my amazing mum, I didn't ever want to go back to the "normal" work life and die of extreme boredom in a dead end life-sucking job that no longer inspired me. Are you feeling me? Ha! So here I am, do or die, trying to make a life out of doing what I love most! It's about purpose and fulfilment
What is koko & ki?
Koko & Ki aims to be a contemporary design expression of Samoan/South Pacific art, design & identity. Surely, someone should create beautiful decor prints, products and stationery that celebrates our uniqueness in language, culture and lifestyle.
I'm excited to share my design tastes and aesthetic, the messes of life, and my diehard love for designs that are fresh (as in something new! not freshy haha) contemporary and reflects my style & personality
MY ART & DESIGN
My artwork and ideas have changed and evolved over the years, but you won't ever see me paint detailed traditional tatau (tattoo) patterns on a canvas. I have always loved to create art that is often contemplative or convey a spirit or feeling of time, place or an idea. I also do photography and LOVE travel/street photography & black and white photographs! YUM. These days, I have been doing a lot of graphic design and illustration work which you will get to see soon on here
Some of my old paintings...
Why the name? koko & ki
Koko & Ki translates to Cocoa & Tea in the Samoan language. Apart from the fact that I LOVE Koko Samoa and drink A LOT of green tea, my favourite thing about Samoa and being Samoan is the everyday language. I pride myself on being able to speak the language. Thanks to mum and dad! Koko is Samoa's hot comfort drink, and Ki (Ti) is known as the English (palagi) hot beverage. But did you know that tea originated in China? Read the incredible history of tea here.
Koko & Ki is about fusing my Samoan identity together with my love of Western & European influences and tastes in design. Koko & Ki is the perfect blend!
What do we HAVE TO OFFER?
1. We make Samoan/South Pacific inspired stationery. I designed & illustrated a fun Samoan journal. It is a journal filled with a collection of common sayings, food illustrations and songs that I've grown up with as a Samoan child. You will hear more about the concept when I receive the first batch of books soon. If you're a subscriber, you would have gotten a few more sneak peeks of the journal and our stories about the entrepreneurial journey and struggles.
We will be testing the market soon. Hopefully, if and when we do get a lot of interest, there will be more stationery goodness to come! I have so many fresh (not freshy) ideas for different collections and styles of journals and planners, but we'll just have to wait and see how this first product will be received!
2. We can create original & beautiful fresh flowers for events & ceremonies. Oh yes, about that - I am also a qualified florist. Mum's love of plants & flowers and her ever-so-beautiful garden of sweet humongous roses inspired me to take up floristry. I just love the impact of fresh flowers. My weird pet aversion is seeing artificial flowers at a funeral. Not a fan. I get that they are a lot cheaper but NO. Flowers for me is about conveying emotion and honouring a season in someone's life. I love that flowers eventually die and that it's a reminder that we experience different seasons in life and that seasons change.
3. We can do Photography & Polynesian inspired styling/decorating. What kind of photography? not sure yet, but ask away! More about that another day!
Have a nice day! :)