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Behind the Creative Mirror, artist Chris Pemberton

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5 min read

TO PUT IT SIMPLY, GEORGE WILKINS AND WILLIAM MCCALLUM MAKE “LIFE TOOLS” — THINGS THAT HELP PEOPLE ENJOY THE EVERY DAY, MORE. UNDER THE MONIKER OF GEORGE AND WILLY, THE MOUNT MAUNGANUI, NEW ZEALAND-BASED PAIR CREATES SUPER PRACTICAL THINGS LIKE PEGBOARDS, LAPTOP SLEEVES, CLOTHES DRYING RACKS AND PAPER ROLLERS — ALL OF WHICH ARE BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED, SLEEK IN SHAPE AND REFRESHINGLY SIMPLE TO USE. GEORGE FILLS US IN ON WHAT MAKES THE TALENTED PAIR AND THEIR TEAM TICK.

How did the pair of you originally meet?

We both used to ski Mount Ruapehu on the North Island of New Zealand as kids, then ended up going to school and university together. It was during our last semester studying design at Otago University in Dunedin that we began working together, and things have sort of gone from there.

What motivated you to make the move and start working together?

We both studied design as a minor for three years but didn’t really have any decent projects to show for our three years of work, so in our last semester we went hard and George & Willy was our final project. It was funny, as the paper we were doing was to make a commercially viable product, but we took ours to the next level and started actually selling things. We ended up getting kicked out of the university workshop for using campus resources for a commercial enterprise!

Does working with a good friend get challenging at times?

The real question is: Would you rather work with strangers or friends? We would always rather work with mates, and that is the culture of George & Willy. It’s really just six friends working together as much as it is Will and I working together. We all get on super well and make sure it is a priority. It has its challenges, but they are hugely outweighed by the benefits and we make sure we all communicate and identify any challenges.

George & Willy
01
  1. George & Will celebrating 4 years at George & Willy.

“WE HAVE ALWAYS MADE GOOD QUALITY THINGS THAT LAST, AND THAT LEADS TO USING GOOD MATERIALS.”

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  1. Will and Al crossing the Reese river on their way up Mount Earnslaw.
George on the rope cutter
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  1. George on the rope cutter - the first tool we ever purchased.
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