We’re virtually headed to New Zealand this month to talk with Bec Dowie of Douglas and Bec, a pair of stores full of beautiful wood furnishings and lighting that they’ve been designing and making for around 10 years. Using materials such as oak and American ash, they’ve also incorporated spun metals, copper, brass, linen, leather and blown glass into their collection, designed by them in addition to outside artisans and designers.
Why did you pick this city/neighborhood/storefront for your Auckland store?
We intended to be slightly off the beaten track, on the outskirts of Ponsonby in an suburb called St Marys Bay. This vibrant inner city area is known for its independent eateries, galleries and stores, so we felt it would be the perfect fit for us.
Where did you get the name for the store?
Douglas is my father and I am Bec – our store mainly stocks the items that Douglas and I design and make, complimented by a curated range of smaller items by like-minded practitioners from all over the world.
Has it changed much since it opened? How?
In the first 2-3 years it did quite bit. We used to carry a lot more brands and the turn over fast and seasonal, but for the past 2-3 years we have whittled it down to the ones we love and it has become a lot more about our own products.
What’s one of the challenges you have with the business?
As I mentioned above we were not enjoying the fast pace of the super trending goods – its really nice to have found our niche.
What other stores have you worked in before opening this one?
Before we started Douglas and Bec I had always worked in restaurants.
What’s your favorite item in the store right now?
I adore Kat and Roger ceramicists. The pieces are hand thrown and hand painted by a lovely couple from Los Angeles.
What is this season’s theme/inspiration/story?
We, Douglas and Bec, have just released a new collection – the ‘Line’ collection featuring hand blown glass, brass and beautiful painted timbers.
Are you carrying any new products and/or undiscovered gems you’re particularly excited about?
We are quite excited about Houston Design Co – a lovely local ceramicist which will be in stores later this month.
What’s been a consistent best seller?
Our Douglas and Bec All Oak Mirror.
Any special events/exhibits/pop ups/collaborations coming up?
We are exclusively bringing in Dusen Dusen home goods to New Zealand (and our Melbourne showroom). We carry less brands now so it is really exciting when we get new things as we have really thought and considered them.
Do you have anything from the store in your own home?
We are in the final stages of building our new home, and I plan to install many things from the range. I usually take home the prototypes and collect items that a little less than perfect – I love them if not more.
What’s next for you and your store?
Douglas and Bec are seasonally putting out new work. We always have exciting projects going on, whether it be an addition to the collection, or bespoke work for our architectural clients – we like to keep busy! I’m hoping to extend our lounge furniture collection, and always more lamps – we are forever designing lamps.
Photos by Tony Brown-John.