BEHIND THE BRAND

PAPERKRANE - BEHIND THE BRAND


BEHIND THE BRAND - ABOUT US

 

2012 saw the creative musings of New Zealand designer Kate Corleison touch down in Melbourne, with PaperKrane an unfurling thought at the tip of her consciousness, and husband, Ken at her side. A true crime documentary fan with a penchant for podcasts of the same gruesome genre, Kate is admittedly offbeat and one of a kind, just like the designs that have become synonymous with her name. 

The model for her original high top baby bootie was conceived during Kate’s time spent teaching English in South Korea. Blending the comfortable concept of indoor footwear that she had become accustomed to as per the traditions of South-East Asian culture, with the look of her cool, rainbow Adidas slip-on’s, PaperKrane was born. The brand’s origami influence stemmed from Kate’s personal passion for the Japanese art of folding paper which saw her create paperkrane mobiles and other decorative constructions before she began on booties.

A premise that was simply founded on making shoes that would stay on babies’ feet, looked cool and wouldn’t hinder a child’s physical development; PaperKrane started life at the helm of a lone sewing machine as Kate developed both her own original shoe patterns and a flair for pairing fabrics. As for inspirations, you are liable to expect anything from this self-professed un-PC wonder woman, who expertly balances the demands of her small biz with raising her four year old daughter, Wren.

Confessing to an undying love for the colour green, asked what she would look like as a signature pair of PKs and her answer is “green all over” a reflection not only of her favourite hue but also her ability to keep her cool amid the pressures of ritual restocks, copious sewing and all that PaperKrane entails. Adding that the rubber soles on the Kate PKs would be comprised of black and white stripes, the designer jokes that there are definitely two sides to her personality and a notable tendency to frequently cross the line when humour abounds, a trait her loyal customers will be well-accustomed to. “I’m so far past the line, the line is a dot to me,” laughs Kate, paraphrasing Joey from Friends.

A characteristic matched by a worthy adversary in her new partner; with Zara on board, Kate has found the Beavis to her Butthead. Hilarious episodes of PK puppetry ensue in the rare moments of downtime the pair gets between the chaos of restock and the running of their biz, and the comedic gifs, memes and dad jokes that occasionally spill over onto the PaperKrane Instagram feed often originate from the duo’s banter-filled discourse.

Kate + Zara

A constant presence in the PK sphere, long before her official inception onto the PK team in early 2016, Zara Cooper, legal eagle and mum of three, found not only a shared sense of humour in PaperKrane Kate but the very exciting start of something new, true and so much more than a style of shoe. The other half of PaperKrane, if personified by a pair of PKs, denotes herself as being a vintage, distressed tan leather PK pair with a pop of neon colour on the inside “because once you get to know me, you realise that I’m a really outrageous and inappropriate person.”

 

With a double degree in Commerce (Marketing) and Law, Zara navigated her fledgling legal career at a global top tier firm and motherhood simultaneously, welcoming her eldest daughter, Lyla at the tender age of 25. But it was after the birth of her son Levi that Zara decided to regroup and channel her entrepreneurial desires into her own law firm, specialising in corporate immigration. From law to leather samples and everything in between, Zara discovered PaperKrane shortly after the arrival of Mila, the littlest Cooper and with a hankering for a creative outlet Zara saw an opportunity manifest. With a shrewd eye for business and a burgeoning friendship with Kate, it was Zara who triggered the plan to launch a line of rubber and hard PK soles, cementing the duo’s partnership.

Networking with the right bods and bigwigs in the Australian footwear industry, including the Director of Shoe Design at a major Melbourne university, a gun pattern maker and the most renowned last maker in the country, Zara sought an avenue for the pair to take PaperKrane to the next level. Fuelled by their mutual passion and hunger to grow the business, and bolstered by support and guidance from their newfound footwear gurus, Kate and Zara found a little factory that would in Vietnam where the old-fashioned notion of handmade lives on.

 

Complementing Kate’s knack for fabric selection and colour matching, Zara handles the legal and administrative side of the business which includes liaising with their factory in Vietnam where the next generation of PaperKrane is being developed. Delegating the running of the business equally between them, with helper and fellow mum Torie providing sewing and cutting support, the PK process is truly a collaborative effort. From names, designs and styles to shoe construction, labels, trimming, turning out, stickering and packaging, not to mention social media, photography and organising the posting out of orders, PaperKrane thrives on the whole heap of nonsense, whacky ideas and hundreds of conversations derived from the “marriage” that is Kate and Zara.

 

“We both bring something different to the table, but at the same time we work really well to combine our strengths and create a #PKprocess that is efficient and fun!” – Zara

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{Written by Hadassah Hine for PaperKrane}