Take 10: Kelly Coe

Take 10: Kelly Coe

If there’s one colour I hate, it’s black – although I do wear a little bit of it! But I’m on a mission to change how much black everyone in New Zealand wears. And the colours I love best are bright and summery colours – fun colours. I don’t have just one favourite.

Tracy Carter chats with top fashion-designer and owner of clothing label Augustine

Augustine is owned by Kelly Coe and her husband Nathan. They live in a seaside suburb in Auckland with their two young daughters (and baby number three on the way!) In 2008 she took the leap to start her own label and hasn’t looked back. Kelly designs the collections here in NZ and then heads offshore to find the perfect fabrics and trims to compliment her designs … 

1. What’s your favourite childhood memory?

KELLY: My favourite memory is probably going camping every summer. I’d go with my family to Lake Ohakuri, near Taupo. We’d go waterskiing there – I learned to barefoot waterski – and it was always lots of fun.

2. Tell us the highlight of your career so far.

KELLY: That’s hard to answer! I’d say it was probably opening our first retail store at the Mount, because that was a big step – having a presence in brick and mortar made a huge difference. And then opening up each of the subsequent stores has been exciting.

3. Do you have an all-time favourite photo?

KELLY: I’ve got one of Nathan and my girls in Europe. We were travelling in Santorini last year, and I have this photo of the girls climbing all over Nathan – I’d say that’s definitely one of my favourites!

4. What are the three most important things in your life?

KELLY: Family is the most important thing in my life – my kids and my husband. My company (Augustine) and my friends are the other two most important things. Having that balance between family time and work time is a priority for me, too. But family would always be my number one.

5. Is there any colour you absolutely hate? And what colour do you love best?

KELLY: If there’s one colour I hate, it’s black – although I do wear a little bit of it! But I’m on a mission to change how much black everyone in New Zealand wears. And the colours I love best are bright and summery colours – fun colours. I don’t have just one favourite.

6. Do you make New Year’s resolutions – and if so, do you stick with them?

KELLY: A big thing that Nathan and I do is to set business and personal goals every year. We write them down on the first of January, and about halfway through the year we reassess them and make sure we’re on target. They’re more goals than resolutions, but we do make them on New Year’s Day!

7. Where were you 10 years ago? Where would you like to be 10 years from now?

KELLY: Ten years ago I was at the races, where I met Nathan for the first time! I remember I was wearing a bright orange dress that day. Ten years from now I’ll have three teenagers – so for one thing I hope I’m still sane! I’d love to be lying on a lounger somewhere along the Mediterranean, with my kids hanging out happily around me. And I hope to have grown Augustine even more!

8. What are your go-to fashion essentials when you travel?

KELLY: We went on a six-week trip to Europe last year, and I had a different piece of clothing from my new ranges for every single day. I had a massive suitcase – I don’t pack light! Nine times out of ten our holidays are somewhere hot, so I pack lots of swimwear with bright-coloured kimonos to wear over it and cut-off jeans with bright tops. Really, my rule is ‘as much colour as I can fit into my suitcase’ and as many outfits as I can cram in there! Nathan takes a lot of clothes, too – we always exceed the luggage limit!

9. What’s your favourite meal?

KELLY: We have Thai takeaways every Friday night, so that’s a favourite, although at the moment I’m dying for sushi. I think it’s because I’m pregnant and I’m not allowed it! So sushi … and wine. Yep, wine would be my favourite meal! [laughs]

10. What’s been your greatest life lesson?

KELLY: I’ve always gone by the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” – if you worry about the small things then you lose sight of what’s really important. I think that before you worry about your business – what’s going wrong and what’s going right – you’ve got to be thankful for healthy babies and appreciate your own health. With social media these days you see so many things you never saw before, and when you read these horrible stories about the struggles that people go through, it’s a reminder to appreciate what you’ve got. Don’t take anything for granted.