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  • From Dust To Dreams

From Dust To Dreams

IMAGES Rachel Byrne @swiftandclick

From early beginnings in chilly Dunedin, studying marketing and management, the discovery of a design studio and companionship is what bought George and Will McCallum together, consequently forming George and Willy. A brand focused around creating products made from honest materials for people to enjoy, and be around for years.

Waking up every day, to a cup of tea, unlocking the workshop and getting excited about creating and working is the brain child to a whole cupboard of sagacity.

Having not yet, nailed their job description, they describe themselves as “a bunch of mates in a workshop, with an online store”. Their humble attitude is expressed through the ingenuity that they possess, ignoring the trends, and making things which were useful 50 odd years ago, which will still be useful in 50 years to come. The satisfaction of making physical things with their hands, is a huge calling for the duo as they make their business sustainable and ethical.

Inspired by function. Industrial tools, cast iron, raw materials, wooden beams, and un-adorned textures. They take pride in the products wearing in – rather than wearing out, with a main focus on products and items that can be used on a daily basis. For example – toast tongs they say “a little tool to make someone’s morning easier, with a simple, yet aesthetically pleasing design”.

After a couple of years working out of their parent’s sheds, the boys came across this studio space in Mount Maunganui, the elegance and organic nature of the studio secluded down a dead end was the perfect fit for prime things to come. With a love, for functionality as stream lined as possible it was a necessity to make the space as functional as they could. With creativity in tune, the motto that “everything has a place” says Will, was key.

A small space in tail, means that admittedly they are a bit on top of each other at times – it can only be described as “so, so good” explains George. Thus, everything that happens is a team effort. Plans and goals adorn the walls, constantly screaming at the pair as they go day to day with a relaxed but strict routine. The seven studio rollers in the workshop, “which seems like a lot” laughs Will, are also the top selling product by the brand. 

A company down the road was going into liquidation, therefore the boys chucked the old pallet racking on the back of the ute and hitched it down to the workshop, creating a little treehouse within the studio used as the office. The mezzanine created was a bit of kiwi ingenuity at hand, combined with a Tawa floor. The space was then enriched with created Plywood walls to separate sections and make quality performance indispensable.  The added carpet to reduce noise didn’t really work, as in actuality “it gets pretty noisy up there” explains George.

The creative hub of the workshop had to be split into two. ‘Dusty’ – which is the workshop, and ‘dust free’ which is the packing room and office. The separation of the workspace in form of walls is made out of plywood, which is something that the duo agrees they both like.

George and Will agree that “when you are super inspired it’s always good to ride that wave – it may only last for 2 hours or a week... but its best when you get that urgency or feeling to make something to just do it!”. Hence, the doublet considers themselves lucky to be able to draw, plan and create a rapid prototype.

With personal projects always on the go, making surfboards, refitting boats, bed bases, everything really, it is satisfying to be able to have a space to be able to reflect creative winces into reality. 

A company is simply a reflection of the people in it, and the duo insist that “Less is more”. The reflection of this can be seen in the aesthetics of the space. Every couple of months George and Will, have what they like to call a “de-hoard” they laugh. The de-hoard consists of everyone in the office having to find 30 things to chuck out. A hugely satisfying task, that Will clarifies is “really quite amazing how much you can accumulate without trying to”. 




With a prime attitude and relative necessities in the form of such a brilliant workshop, this renovated shed has been turned into a hub of creative brilliance by George and Will, composing their functional success of the self-titled brand George and Willy. Abiding by their motto “ready, fire, aim” reveals Will – that when you are starting out “don’t plan too much and don’t think too much”. It is clear that in this situation, being able to just start and adjust course as you go, and doing what you love is the only way to go. + r

All information is believed to be true at the time of publication. All rights reserved to @georgeandwilly and @renovatemagazine. 

+ this story is a feature in Issue 022 of Renovate Magazine, subscribe today +

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    Renovate Magazine