who spins the YOYO wheel

Meet: Todd and Fiona Hayvice aka Mr and Mrs YOYO

Driven By: a common desire to individualise spaces with inspiring Kiwi Furniture, Accessories and Lighting Design

Skills: between the two of them they’ve acquired a few; they’re often opposing, yet always highly compatible. Ultimately, they’re keen to share their knowledge, and help create spaces that are unique to you.

A bit of background on Mr YOYO: you could say furniture is in Todd’s blood. He’s the third generation and the next evolution in a family of furniture manufacturers and retailers. Todd’s Grandfather, Maurie Kleist, was the family crusader. In the 1940’s through to the early 80’s, he ran a furniture manufacturing business, ‘Woodcraft’, out of a large warehouse on Adelaide Road, Wellington. Todd’s uncle, Peter Hayvice, was an apprentice to Maurie. Peter learnt the tricks of the trade, and soon moved on, setting up his own furniture manufacturing business. His most recent venture ‘The Gentleman’s Cabinet Maker’ in Auckland, designs exclusively for YOYO.

Then there is Todd’s father, Michael Hayvice. Michael devoted the majority of his working life to the furniture retail industry. His career started in 1960, at the age of 20, when he enlisted as an enthusiastic salesman in his father in-law’s (Maurie) retail outlet ‘Woodcraft Showrooms’, corner of Willis and Mercer Streets, Wellington. Michael took ownership in the late 1960’s, and ‘Woodcraft Interiors’ evolved. The store lead the way in New Zealand, fully incorporating furniture with home accessories, carpet and lighting, in ‘real’ room settings. It was the first time customers could somewhat effortlessly envisage interior wares in their own homes.

There is no denying Michael had a phenomenal flair for design and that he was an exceptional salesman (actually, he still does and still is!). In the late nineteen eighties, recognised as being at the top of his game, he was approached by a group of prominent Wellington businessmen to set-up the “best” furniture store in New Zealand. ‘Theme’ was launched on the corner of Victoria and Bond Streets, Wellington. An opulent furniture and kitchen / glassware store, it was the first in the country to house its very own café / coffee shop (up until this time department stores had tearooms, but  in-house cafés were unheard-of).

Sadly, the 1987 stock market crash bought an abrupt, untimely end to ‘Theme’. People just didn’t have the funds to lavishly decorate their homes. Eager to get back on his feet again, Michael reopened ‘Woodcraft Interiors’ in exactly the same location as his career had started.

Then in late 1990, Michael was dealt a second blow; in the wee hours one morning ‘Woodcraft Interiors’ burnt to the ground. He lost everything! Not one to give up easily, he salvaged what he could and moved the items into a vacant premise across the road. Aired and restored, all the pieces miraculously sold. Michael the retail visionary had a revelation. He recognised that in times of recession people weren’t inclined to purchase shining, new processions. He conceptualised furniture made out of recycled flooring – it was a hit!

In 1991 ‘Country Theme’ was born, specialising in recycled wooden furniture. At its peak, in the turn of the millennium, the business had eight branches in Wellington, Auckland, Takapuna, Christchurch, Hamilton and Japan.

Back to Mr YOYO: jumping at every opportunity to hang out with his Father and Grandfather, Todd essentially grew-up (in the late 1970’s – 1980’s) in their Wellington furniture businesses. Surrounded by impressive timber creations, Todd formed a keen eye for design from a very young age.

Todd’s contribution to the design world is all-encompassing; in his early years he willingly assisted as ‘chief duster’ and accompanying ‘merchandise displayer’. Then, after spending countless weekends and school holidays working alongside his father, he was thrown his own line. In 1994, Todd was entrusted to relocate to Christchurch to establish and manage a branch of ‘Country Theme’ Furniture. Following three years masquerading as a Cantabrian, Todd flew the nest and moved to Sydney, keen to try his hand in the international furniture market. He set-up an importing business wholesaling home accessories to close to a hundred Australian retail outlets. A chance meeting with a buyer from David Jones Department Store took him from start-up to success overnight.

Todd had quickly established a name for himself in the industry and it wasn’t long before he was presented with an offer that he couldn’t refuse. In 2002, Todd accepted a position with furniture giant Ikea in their Australian head office. As Upholstery Manager he worked alongside the head design team in Sweden masterminding annual designs for the Australian market.

Ikea grew exponentially and Todd held on! The ride took him to Berlin where he found himself assisting with the set-up of the latest and second largest Ikea Store in Europe.

Returning to New Zealand, Todd was perturbed that Kiwi Design was not being spun-out on its own shores. Hence, he drew on his 20 plus years of retail furniture experience for the benefit of Kiwi Design; both designers and customers. In 2011, YOYO Furniture Design by Kiwis was born.

And Mrs YOYO’s story: always looking for a new challenge Fiona has thrown herself wholeheartedly into a variety of vocations/adventures. There are no barriers in Fiona’s world. She takes everything in her stride; working for 12 months in South Korea with no command of the native tongue, a self-drive 4WD expedition through Namibia and Botswana and running 250km across the Gobi Desert, China, with everything but a tent on her back. With Fiona at the reins, the sky is the limit for YOYO.

Professionally, Fiona brings to YOYO over 14 years’ experience; in Account, Event and Project Management, Business Development, and Marketing. Meticulous attention to detail and ambition to boot, YOYO will spin!

Fiona and Todd Hayvice