It’s hard finding a slot in Tania Siladi’s diary. Not only is the Wellingtonian co-owner of Dragonfly Restaurant and the Asian Food Republic range of fresh and vac-pac foods, she’s also raising four children. Late last year, she also opened Orient: Modern Asian Home Store.
The seed was planted when restaurant customers kept asking Tania where they could buy the handmade Japanese plates, bowls and sake cups that she and her brother Brent Wong use at their popular Asian-fusion eatery. “So I started selling them through Moore Wilson’s in Wellington and Farro Fresh in Auckland – and within two weeks I’d sold out,” says the former model, who’s worked with Kate Moss and Calvin Klein.
At Orient, a special drawcard are the 200-year-old Chinese wooden stools made traditionally with dowels instead of nails, Japanese kimonos (which customers buy not only to hang on their walls but also to wear) and colourful silk obi, or kimono sashes, which can be re-purposed as elegant table runners. Tania’s vision is to provide quality, unique products which don’t cost too much.