It’s confession time. Oh! Hello Geelong absolutely loves travel, whether it’s a mini-break to Tokyo or island hopping in Thailand, the world is our oyster! Without doubt, one of our favourite travel activities is burrowing through shops, markets, galleries, and nooks and crannies in the search for extra special designer goods that we can’t find at home. So for Oh! Hello Geelong it was a scene of joyous celebration when we discovered the wonderful world of Kiitos in Barwon Heads! Not only did we find an abundance of perfectly designed homewares, textiles, ceramics and accessories (many by some of our fav Scandinavian design geniuses) but the little car ride down the Bellerine highway and Kiitos itself almost created the illusion of being abroad on a European holiday!
And your pilot today is the lovely Maria…
Kiitos owner and founder Maria Malakellis is a woman who has a wonderful ability to inspire, to make you laugh and to make you feel pretty fantastic! Maria is also a woman with passion and drive that you can’t learn or buy, but just comes naturally. So it’s no surprise, with Maria at the helm, that Kiitos is the success it is today.
Maria’s relationship with Barwon Heads and business began as a little lass growing up in the area and working for her parents after school, where she developed a keen eye for display and an interest in good, well considered design. After having three children and making the decision to move away from the family business, Maria worked for some time in real estate only to find that she needed to do something of her own that was more in line with her passions. So after a gentle nudge in the right direction from a friend, Maria made the decision in 2009 to return to her old stomping ground and convert an old retro-style Shell garage at the end of Barwon Heads’ main street into a shop that would bring together some of the world’s best design houses and emerging Australian designers. And the result of course is Kiitos (which means thank you in Finnish – perfect!!!)
Flying first class….
Maria has a genuine love for great design and high quality products and is especially drawn to Scandinavian products, especially those from Finland (hence the shop name!). Kiitos houses a stunning hand-picked collection of super stylish and innovative homewares, apparel, textiles, ceramics, gifts and accessories from Scandinavian designers and other international and local designers who produce the highest quality products. Kiitos’ high ceilings and stark white walls provide the perfect canvas for the store’s uber colourful products to shine. The textiles, ceramics, homewares, clothing and accessories made by iconic Finnish brand Marimekko add splashes of bold colour and pattern to the walls and shelves, while the famous Acapulco Chairs (all the way from Mexico), iittala glassware and the super trendy Baggu bags and Basil Bangs beach umbrellas add pops of vibrant fun to the shop floor. Meanwhile, Kiitos brings it all back down to earth with ranges including Architect Made Vedel birds, Aesop skin care and wooden boards by Nel Lusso.
Apart from those already mentioned, other fab products include Chilewich table mats, Design House Stockholm’s fab sculptural lights, ceramics and doily bike baskets which are oh so cool (laura owns one – sooo pretty), Eva Solo homewares, Mattias Stahlblom Pendant Lamps, Jurgen Bags. Oh and we also loooove the range of SaltWater sandals and Funkis shoes.