Paper Lamps from The Netherlands

Posted on October 13, 2015 by claire ongley | 30 comments

With the opening of our brand new pop up store in Otaki (hooray!), we have been sourcing new stock to fill the shelves. One of our new finds is a beautiful and clever collection of folded paper origami lamp shades. These are designed and hand folded in The Hague, by a small team of three 'paper engineers'! Designed to light your home and inspire your creativity, these lampshades are really striking and quite ingenious.

Choose from the Little Moth in Mint, Yellow or Pink, the Large Moth in Mint or White, and the Chestnut in White or Pale Yellow. Each lamp comes with either a White, Dark Grey or Yellow coloured textile cord. The porcelain socket takes energy saving light bulbs. They have been tested and approved for use in New Zealand.





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When the photos don't do it justice

Posted on June 05, 2015 by claire ongley | 7 comments

As we all know, there are various pitfalls of shopping online. You can't try things on, or just touch and inspect them closely. Sometimes the item doesn't look like the photo when you get it in the mail, or maybe it is much bigger or smaller than you had thought, or lesser quality.

From my perceptive, there are some products which I feel the photos don't quite represent how nice the product actually is. I wish I could tell my customers how great a particular item is 'in real life' and that the photo just doesn't do it justice. So, here are some of these products!

 Washed Linen Waffle Hand Towel

These hand towels are are just so lovely and soft! They are made from beautiful quality washed Lithuanian linen, and are a real touch of luxury. They come in crisp white or soft silver. I love these hand towels!

Goat Hair Dust Brush

Again, so soft! The goat hair bristles are so fine and soft you'll want to just brush it over your face (ok, yes I did). It's also great for dust, but even better, it looks very smart hanging on a hook in the kitchen or laundry.

Arda Turkish Towels

These are a little more expensive than the other Turkish Towels and that is because of their lovely quality. They look and feel great, almost too nice for the beach. I love these ones in the bathroom.

Rustic Donegal Throw

The Donegal throw is thick and rustic with rich colours. It's hard to describe, but it is a really strong, masculine throw, as opposed to fine and soft. I can imagine taking this blanket camping in the woods and sitting by the camp fire with it wrapped around me.

If you would like to know more about any of our products, or would like me to take a few extra snaps to give you a better idea, then email me at

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On the telly

Posted on May 04, 2015 by claire ongley | 12 comments

Probably the biggest challenge for any online retail business, in my opinion, is reaching your customer. Getting the word out there can be an expensive, and sometimes futile endeavour. With most of the advertising I've done so far, I haven't really had a clear idea of how effective it has been, because it's often difficult to track where any new customers have come from. However, the last few days have seen an enormous increase in 'reach', and that is all due to a TV show about ... farming. As you may know, my husband is a pig farmer, and our farm was featured on the iconic TV show Country Calendar on May 2. To be featured on a show like this is such a massive opportunity for any business, and we were very excited to be a part of the series. As the wife of the pig farmer, there was a bit about me too, and so Izzy and Jean Co. received a few seconds of air time on prime time TV. For a small business like mine, this sort of exposure makes a huge impact. So, if you watched Country Calendar and then came to the Izzy and Jean Co. website, thank you, we appreciate your visit!

If you missed the show, you can view it on TVNZ Ondemand. Here is the link:

If you are interested in finding out more about Woody's Free Range Pig Farm, then here is the website:



Thanks from the three of us (Daniel, Claire and Fred)

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Back to Blog

Posted on March 06, 2015 by claire ongley | 18 comments

Running a business with a staff of one is busy enough, let alone when a baby comes along. Time suddenly disappears before your eyes. Jobs sit on the to-do list for months until eventually they just fall off the end. Such is the case when it comes to the blog. My last blog post was June 14, 2014! Just four days before the little guy was born. Almost nine months later, and I am gradually reclaiming my to-do list. 

Along with the blog writing, I have been busily searching for lovely new things to add to the Izzy and Jean Co. range. The first to arrive is a shipment of beautiful brushes and household tools from Iris Hantverk. Since the late 1900s, Iris Hantverk has employed visually impaired craftsmen to make their brushes. Amazingly, this is still the case today! As well as brushes they now make a range of household tools boasting simplicity and Scandinavian style. I am very excited to put them up on the website and look forward to seeing what you think.

Since launch, we have stocked Redecker handmade brushes from Germany. Redecker is another long-running business that has been handcrafting brushes since 1935. Reluctantly I have decided to stop stocking the brand because I am no longer able to purchase directly from Redecker in Germany. New Zealand retailers must now purchase from their distributor in Australia. Unfortunately this added 'middle man' makes it more expensive for retailers like myself. Compounding this, and for reasons which are unknown to me, shipping from Australia is prohibitively expensive. 

Not expecting to find another handmade brush business like Redecker, I was delighted to come across Iris Hantverk. Take a look and see what you think.

Over the next month or two we will have some more noteworthy new products, so keep an eye out!


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We are turning 1!

Posted on June 14, 2014 by claire ongley | 18 comments

Today is Izzy and Jean Co.'s 1st birthday!

We can't believe it was full year ago that we launched, after months of planning, sourcing products and building our website. To say thank you for your support and interest in Izzy and Jean Co., we are giving away some lovely goodies in our 1st birthday giveaway competition hosted by our friend Cush & Nooks. To enter the competition, just jump over to the Cush & Nooks blog

The lucky winner will take home a Colour Pop Serving Board, a Yellow Pineapple Tote Bag, and a gorgeous Zebra Fouta Towel in your choice of colours!

 Entries close on Thursday, June 19.


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If you would like to get in touch, you can email us at

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Oh baby!

Posted on May 15, 2014 by claire ongley | 18 comments

Being eight months pregnant, it's not surprising I've turned my attention to baby gear. There's so many beautiful baby things out there, I couldn't help but get a few goodies in stock at Izzy and Jean Co. Here's a selection of some of my prize picks for baby boys and girls.

It's a girl!

  • Yellow Giraffe Onesie $29 Hand screen printed on organic cotton in Oregon, USA.
  • Circus Baby Blanket $78 Made in Ireland by Avoca, one of the world's oldest surviving manufacturing companies, started in the village of Avoca, County Wicklow in 1723.
  • Happy Sailor Girl Socks $42 Set of 6 Italian combed cotton socks, made by Etiquette Clothiers of New York.
  • Klars Baby Soap $10 Made from organic plant oils by Klars, Germany's oldest soap manufacturer.
  • Baby Hair Brush $25 handcrafted from pearwood and soft goat hair, by Redecker of Germany.

 It's a boy!

  • Navy Ship Onesie $29 Organic cotton onesie screenprinted with a hand drawn pirate ship print. Made in Oregon, USA.
  • Rainbow Baby Blanket $78 Soft, pure new lambswool. Made by Avoca of Ireland.
  • Happy Sailor Boy Socks $42 Italian combed cotton pack of 6 socks for newborn to one year olds. Made by Etiquette Clothiers of New York.

Take a look at our full range of kids and baby goods here:


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A perfectly imperfect day

Posted on March 03, 2014 by claire ongley | 15 comments

A week later, and I seem to be emerging from the blur that was our wedding day. Daniel and I got married on our farm on February 22. The weather the week prior was unseasonably cold, but as the date approached the weather turned to blistering heat. Daniel's parents, fresh off the plane from winter in the UK, were wilting like the flowers on our deck that I had been carefully tending for months. Everything turned brown in the space of a few days!

Leaving the church in the wedding car (ute) as the rain came down.

The day before the wedding was somewhat chaotic. We raced around putting up lights and lanterns in the marquee, arranging flowers in the tins I'd collected for months and spray painted gold (we will never eat another Doris plum again), printing menus and making place tags. Various hiccups combined with the unexpected heat made it an exhausting effort. The quantities of flowers I had carefully planned didn't turn out to be enough, so half of my pretty painted tins got chucked. The hessian runners, once unrolled, revealed unexpected breaks, so had to be cleverly taped together. The Elephant Hill chardonnay we had ordered, did not arrive, so a last minute run to the bottle shop had to be made to purchase an alternative. To top things off, we arrived at our wedding rehearsal on Friday afternoon, hot and bothered, only to discover that my poor husband-to-be hadn't got the wedding license officiated at the courthouse! After his patience and hard work all day, I could hardly be annoyed. I'm pretty sure Daniel will never forget the tense drive to the Levin courthouse, with his father-in-law (eek!), to get the required documents before close of business. Our rehearsal was cut short, which may have contributed to a few more hiccups the following day!

My bouquet of David Austin Juliets

After a week of unrelenting sun, I was actually quite relieved to wake up on the morning of the wedding to find it was overcast with light showers. I spent the morning laying low at my parents' house, while Daniel was left at the farm to oversee the rest of the set up. Feeling slightly nauseous due to a) nerves and b) lack of sleep, it was quite therapeutic to escape to the peaceful studio of my hair and make up guy just down the road. Michael Krehl usually does prosthetic make up (!), but had kindly agreed to do my wedding day hair and make up. He did a fabulous job, and to Daniel's disappointment I didn't come out looking like an orc. I spent the remaining hour practising my speech and nervously eating cake whilst trying not to spoil my make up. 

The Stretch Tent all decorated and ready to go.

Blissfully unaware was I at this stage that the vicar had got the time wrong, and had only just turned up at the church minutes before me! Daniel had spent 30 sweaty minutes wondering where he was, and the guests were slightly flummoxed about what was going on. My sister greeted me as I got out of the car with another last minute detail we had overlooked, who were our witnesses? Did I also mention that I put the ring on Daniel's right hand, the music that we'd spent way too much time choosing was barely audible, and I forgot to collect my bouquet as I headed out of the church. As if on cue, the rain started to come down, and I was bustled into the car … an honest woman at last. 

Food and flowers

With the formalities out of the way, Daniel and I were free to relax and enjoy the rest of the day. Oh, did I mention I'm 6 months pregnant? I enjoyed the rest of the day with my one glass of bubbles. The rain cleared and a mild evening followed with pink skies and no wind. The Stretch Tent marquee looked beautiful despite the slight flower shortage, the food was divine and the DJ (thank you Lily Chalmers!) had everyone on the dance floor, including our dog Woody who decided to join us for the first dance.

At sunset we raced up the hill in the ute with our photographer and took some portraits on the farm. Our photographer, Cole from Nordica Photography, had come all the way from Sweden to document some Kiwi weddings, and we were lucky enough to be one of them. I will certainly be posting the photos at a later date!

We made it to the church!

(Daniel in his Izzy and Jean tie, me in my sequin bolero made by the very clever Lisa Durr)

Our final hiccup, was discovering we had no petrol in the car to drive to our wedding night accommodation. Luckily we discovered a Levin service station open at midnight, where we purchased chippies, chocolate and petrol in our wedding clothes, to the surprise of the polite young man working the graveyard shift.

All in all, a perfectly imperfect day!


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If you would like to get in touch, you can email us at








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