“Koha” is a Maori custom that can be translated as “gift” and this business specialises in exactly that, gifts. Early this year the team at Little Koha introduced their charming online shopping site; a site that provides shoppers with the option to send luxury gift hampers around New Zealand. The hampers, filled with personalised homeware items, are either built by the shopper or simply chosen from a range of pre-designed gift boxes. The service continues to go the extra mile by delivering the wrapped gift boxes right to the door of the recipient accompanied by a quaint handwritten personal message (worded by the shopper).
Here at Ecomailbox, we proudly support businesses that do good for New Zealand. In their own words, Little Koha has been built upon “gratitude” and they entrench this philosophy within their actions. They do this not only by providing the service of gift giving, but by donating $5 to Live More Awesome per purchase. Live More Awesome is a great New Zealand charity that is working towards breaking down the stigma of mental health. Ecomailbox had the pleasure of talking with Director Chloe Johnson about how and why Little Koha does what they do.
1) What was the journey behind Little Koha – how did this business begin?
Little Koha began after an inspiring conversation with a cousin who owns a successful online beauty store (Beauty Bliss), and two physical stores in Wellington and Auckland. Her story motivated me to stop thinking about business ideas (of which I had done a lot of) and just start doing – and that’s exactly what I did.
The idea of Little Koha came about after drawing upon several life experiences such as living overseas and not being able to send gifts to loved ones back home because postage was too expensive, working at a school that values appreciation, gratitude, and service to others, and becoming slightly obsessed with gorgeous homeware items after buying my first home a couple of years ago. All those experiences were bundled together to create Little Koha – an online store that offers boutique gift parcels for the home.
2) At Ecomailbox we celebrate businesses that set out to help New Zealanders. Why did you feel it was important for you to set up your partnership with Live More Awesome?
Little Koha is in the business of giving and we believe it is important to give back to the community. Therefore, we donate $5 from every gift parcel purchased to Live More Awesome, a not for profit helping to break down the stigma of mental health. We chose to support Live More Awesome because their cause is close to my heart. Sadly, I lost an immediate family member to suicide 15 years ago and I often wonder if she would still be here if there was the level of awareness and support for people who have a mental illness as there is now. The work that Live More Awesome do is, well, awesome. If we can help them help others, that’s a win-win-win.
3) What key messages would you like potential shoppers to understand about your business?
- Little Koha is ideal for busy people or for those who live away from their loved ones. Being busy doesn’t mean you have to give fuddy duddy presents or, worse, forget to celebrate a special occasion.
- We are a personal shopper, stylist and shipper in one. We take care of everything from meticulously choosing homeware items that will style effortlessly in the home, to beautiful presentation, hand-writing personalised messages and sending it to you or your lucky recipient in a timely manner.
- High quality is non-negotiable. Each homeware item has been hand-picked to ensure premium quality. We use all of the items in our own home before including it in our gift parcel range so we can personally guarantee its quality and style.
4) What’s next for Little Koha – do you have any plans for the future?
We launched almost two months ago so our primary focus is to continuously review, tweak and improve on what we offer. It is very tempting to scale the business quickly but we resist that temptation because we know doing less well is far more effective than doing lots at a mediocre level. We are, however, working on launching a blog that provides home styling inspiration and a greater insight into who we are. Watch this space.
5) What do you personally enjoy the most about working for Little Koha?
At the risk of sounding cheesy, there is so much enjoyment in running Little Koha, but I’ll share two things that really stand out. The first is writing the personalised message cards that go in each gift parcel. Some are mysterious, others are humours, thoughtful or emotional. All of them make us realise that people are connecting through our gift parcels and that’s pretty special. The second is the connections we make with creative people in New Zealand and Australia. Where we can, we support small businesses as a priority and have partnered with some very talented people including Real World, Pika and Pookie, Smitten Design, Kasbah Design, JS Ceramics, George + Co, Felt That and Tree Horn Design to name a few. We really enjoy building relationships with our suppliers.
6) It seems that at Little Koha you have set out to create a business that not only brings people together but celebrates creativity. For new shoppers, what are your tips for them when it comes to choosing the perfect gift?
We live in a world of personalisation and not all gifts are suitable for everyone, so it can be challenging finding the right gift that’s also within your budget. A few things to keep in mind when choosing a thoughtful gift is:
- Choose something that lasts. While chocolates and wine are yummy, they are consumed and then quickly forgotten. If you give a gift that sits on their coffee table, or is used in the kitchen every day, it is going to be an ongoing reminder of your relationship, whether it’s personal or business.
- Think back to conversations you’ve had with that person – most people drop hints (intentional or not) about what they like or what they want. Listening to people takes the guesswork out of gift giving.
- Put them first. It sounds obvious but we are all guilty of buying someone a gift that we really like, right? Remember it’s about them – what do they like? What are their interests? What have they already got?
- Ask. If you’re really not sure then simply ask. Sure, it ruins the surprise element a little bit but it’s better than giving a gift that will be shoved in a cupboard and never used or admired!
Good On Ya, Litte Koha! ☺