“I remember picking up elastic bands and other such things in the playground at primary school and arranging them to form some kind of mechanical toy. I’ve always been creative” says Guillaume Lyons, director of KaiGami Ltd.
A former student of the renowned Goldsmiths College in London, Guillaume says he was always going to follow an artistic path, what with his father being an artist and his mother a lecturer of art and design history.
His company, KaiGami Ltd, designs and produces origami-inspired lighting and homeware for sale in high street stores and online home furnishing websites.
Having spotted his lamps on the cover of the John Lewis magazine we got in touch to ask him a few questions, from where he gets his inspiration to what’s next for KaiGami.
What’s the inspiration behind your products?
“The name KaiGami was inspired by the ancient art form known as origami. KaiGami echoes origami in the idea that one can create an object from a flat piece of malleable material. That’s as close to origami as we get however, as our products go beyond ornamentation – each product performs a function for the end user.
Also, while origami relies on a square, rectangular or triangular shape, KaiGami does not. The ‘Kai’ in KaiGami means ‘cut’ in Japanese. For our products we have to cut a profile, which can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical, from a piece of flat malleable material. Once cut, the profile is generally bent into shape rather than folded and this bending gives each design curves and a volume that is quite unlike origami’s angular ornaments.”
How did featuring on the cover of the John Lewis magazine come about?
“They sell some of our products and recently placed an advert in Elle Decoration magazine featuring their ‘top three’ lighting designers and products, one of which was our Nautica light shade. They sell the Nautica shade (shown below) in their 36 stores across the UK. They also sell the Volant shade on their website and will soon sell the Papillion there too.”
Where else do you sell your light shades?
“Amazon, notonthehighstreet.com, Blue sun tree and a number of boutique art, design and eco high street shops. I’m having sales this month through A Touch of Modern (based in the US), Decovry (in Belgium), and Flop (in Poland). A number of companies have been in touch recently to express their interest, including Fab, Westwing and Dalani, which would see our products sold in Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands as well as Poland.”
What’s your USP?
“As well as the design being fresh, contemporary and stylish, we develop and manufacture solely in the UK, in our studio’s manufacturing facility.”
What’s your biggest seller?
“The Nautica light shade” (shown above).
What’s next for KaiGami?
“Developing new designs. We’re currently looking at table lamps, standing lamps, wall lights and plywood veneered pendant shades. The Nautica plywood shade is almost ready for production.”
Have any top tips to share with other business-minded Moonfruiters?
“Before you spend a penny, plan each penny. Create a good marketing strategy to get to market quickly. And be prepared to shed tears and sweat buckets.”
Visit the KaiGami website
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