How did the idea for Sagitine come about? "When I moved to Hong Kong, in 2002, I started collecting Lanvin dresses. In 2011, I realised my two daughters would be furious if I didn't take proper care of the clothes for them. It started a two-year search for storage that was as gorgeous as the dresses but it was all in vain. So I decided to make my own. The challenges of manufacturing and distributing a product are numerous and it took a year to get to the quality I was happy with."
Describe your products. "I develop practical, stylish storage solutions that are equally at home in the hallway, bedroom or office. I use leather trimmings and walnut surfaces to make them feel more like furniture. This reflects the ethos of Sagitine - to buy fewer, good-quality products and look after them well. I name the products after cities I love or would like to visit. 'Milan' is for the shoebox, because the best shoes in the world are from Italy. The medium-sized box is named 'Miami', as these are ideal for storing swimsuits and kaftans. When I thought of all the gorgeous textiles I could buy in Marrakesh, I decided that would be the name of the large box. The most popular item with our customers in Hong Kong is the 'Shanghai' shoe storage stand, named for the city's allure and dynamic energy."
What does your company name mean? "It's a combination of my name and those of my daughters, Sabine and Gisele. My daughters' [paternal] grandmother lives in Paris and speaks eight languages. I sent her many names to see if they sounded good in the languages she speaks. Sometimes she would say, 'It sounds terrible in Greek,' or, 'It sounds awful in Arabic.' When she heard 'Sagitine', she said it was perfect."
Where do you get your design inspiration? "My mother is an interior designer and we grew up on a sheep farm in Australia among beautiful furniture and textiles. I am passionate about mid-century furniture and have always loved art-deco shapes and modernist architects. While living in New York for five years, I spent my spare time wandering around the art galleries and furniture shops. In Hong Kong, I spent a lot of time in Lane Crawford and realised that most of the furniture I like has curves. The leather handles we feature came from my fascination with the lives of the people who used to travel with full sets of Louis Vuitton trunks."
Are there plans to expand the range? "We aim to launch more colours later in the year and are working on a luxe version, with a copper finish and a leather table. We're also working on a way to personalise the boxes with a monogramming option. One day, I'm aiming to offer completely personalised options so that customers can pick a wallpaper and match their Sagitine storage in the same print."
Sagitine is available at www.sagitine.com and Eclectic Cool, 5 Sun Street, Wan Chai, tel: 5699 6882.