Hi friends, I’m Naomi - creative, dreamer, avid cloud gazer, single Mama, forever seeker of nature and natural elements; good clean design; authentic, soulful connections; and freedom. Designer and Director of Obi Kinomi.
So midway through 2012 - in my pre-child life - I should have considered my life to be that of 'living dreams’. I was working for one of Australia's top fashion brands, living in Bondi, and relishing every new experience life threw my way. Instead, I had an overwhelming urge to break free from my city-meets-fashion-meets-fast-paced-sydney life. So I did what everyone should (joke): I quit my job, got rid of all my belongings, and moved to Bali - in search of sunshine, sea, surf, salty hair/skin, smoothies, yoga, nature, living that ‘island-life', and most of all freedom.
Quickly setting to work, I brought to life my vision of creating a very relaxed bag brand, which I'd been mentally creating during my ocean-side dwelling time in Bondi. Having such a fascination with natural fibres and textures since I can remember, and also patterns - particularly the natural art of tie-dye (growing up in the early 90’s has probably shaped my fashion and design taste in that sense haha) - its intricate patterns created on different fabrics, and its overall versatility. What better place to bring a creative vision to life than in the creative-cultivating, nature-wonderland of Bali. Working with a small family of local dye artisans, we applied the traditional Batik hand-dyeing technique to our fabrics; and another small workshop of tailors brought the fabric and leather elements together. The result was incredible, and our very early customers couldn't get enough of it.
Obi Kinomi was launched in late 2013, starting out with three simple styles: a clutch, tote bag, and a baby/nappy bag (which admittedly at the time I had little experience with - but in listening to my friends who were having, or had had babies - cry out for a ‘cool baby bag’ option, as there were none available at the time. So I jumped onto that need, to bring my girlfriends and other new Mamas that option of a cooler nappy/baby bag). I surprisingly found out just a few short months after launching the brand, that I was to expect a baby with my partner of the time. Feeling all the excitement and nerves of what exactly that meant for myself and my other new baby (the business), I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony/prank the universe was playing on me for creating a ‘baby bag’ (haha). And although the timing wasn’t quite right (though it never really is), I knew this was my baby.
Perfect in every way possible - as all babies are - my daughter arrived in the latter half of 2014, and to sound like another cliche: 'life as I knew it couldn’t have changed more rapidly or dramatically’. In the first few days of her life Earth-side, it became apparent I would be embarking on a solo-parenting journey with her. Ideals I’d previously had, quickly changed with my hormones, and my instant overwhelming sense of responsibility I now had as a Mother: my best life decision, challenge, and role yet.
Naturally after becoming a Mother myself, Obi Kinomi was led down a more Mum-and-baby focussed path, as I could now see through experienced eyes, what Mama's need. More than ever, I wanted to bring fellow Mamas something the market was still missing: stylish and functional nappy bags, that were affordable and not only catered to the ‘baby market’, but could be used for years to come, as baby grows and life changes - with the notion of our bags being for ‘babyhood and beyond’, and always with a uniquely Australian relaxed aesthetic.
After moving home to Australia, our production also evolved, so that we could provide an even better quality and more consistent product for our customers. Setting out to adopt new processes to bring that vision to life - with the next edition of textiles being digitally printed, using eco-friendly and non-toxic inks, which meant being better for both the environment and our little babes.
Always having a commitment to using great quality materials, our team we work with is ethical and fair-trade accredited, and we’ll continually work towards processes that are more sustainable - like our newest baby bag members: the Monday Baby Tote
and Essential Baby II
nappy bags, being made from recycled Nylon - which is just another way we are working towards practices that are better for you, your babes, and the environment.
I’m so happy for you to be joining us on the journey through babyhood and beyond, as we create and share more Obi Kinomi items that we love, with you in mind - our incredible, loyal customers. The future sure looks bright.
Much love, Naomi xx