Big Bed Sale on Now!

As the brainchild of Nicola and Alex Webster, New Zealand brand COAST was built on the idea that quality design should not only be beautiful but last a lifetime. Since 2004, they have been on a mission to create long-lasting luxury products, inspired by the rewards and challenges of the uniquely New Zealand life by the sea.

We caught up with Nicola Webster, one part of the duo who started this incredible brand to find out more.

Coast outdoor bean bags

Tell us a bit about the story behind COAST? How was it started?

The idea of COAST came about many, many years ago when Alex (my husband and business partner) was on a sailing race from Jamaica to The Cayman Islands. Everyone on board the yacht wanted to sit on a funny old corduroy beanbag wrapped in a waterproof sail bag, as it was so comfortable and easy to move about. We thought it would be a great product idea if you could make a beautifully designed and weatherproof beanbag.

Fast forward 5 years, and we moved back to New Zealand to start COAST- a luxury lifestyle brand, with the Marine Bean being our first product.

Timing was on our side, with the America’s Cup being in town. We launched COAST’s first- and still its most popular product, The Marine Bean XL, the original outdoor beanbag™, made in New Zealand from marine grade Sunbrella® and guaranteed outdoors for 5 years.

We were lucky enough to have our Marine Beans specified for a number of the America’s Cup teams’ support and hospitality boats plus on on-board visiting super yachts, which was the perfect start and has evolved into a long association with sailing and super yacht supply.

From the outset, we have drawn inspiration from the rewards and challenges of life by the sea: simple, relaxing and beautiful, but rugged and unforgiving. Inevitably therefore, our design process has concentrated as much on materials and construction as on aesthetics and style, to ensure that everything we make is not only enduring, but timeless.

The last year throughout the lockdowns where we have all found ourselves at home, has brought back memories from the very early days of the company- when we were juggling small children, renovations and trying to run a growing business from home. We had many a challenging situations, including our first major corporate order of 100 Marine Beans that needed to be made, filled and delivered within 10 days. We set up a bean filling system in the basement, then moved the beanbags into our sitting room, which slowly filled up to the ceiling. In the ensuing chaos, we temporarily misplaced our 12 month old twins in the growing beanbag mountain (much to their delight) and then, while hurling the beanbags into the delivery trucks we covered one in paint, as our house was being painted at the same time (obviously).

What makes COAST’s products unique?

We started out as a specialist supplier to super-yachts- and this remains a significant part of our business. In consequence, we continue to borrow many of the materials and methods that were previously the reserve of luxury yacht-building: Contemporary ocean-going sailing yachts must be comfortable, even opulent, and yet withstand the harshest conditions at sea.

We aim, in our own small way, to emulate the exacting standards of modern boat builders in our choice of materials and use of good design. We always use the most enduring fabrics and parts that we can find and that are equal to the task at hand. In the case of our Marine Bean and Isla collections, we use Sunbrella marine-grade fabrics. Every component we use must be able to withstand life at sea and continue to look superb. Our principle is that if it can last at sea, it can last on your deck – even in the notoriously unforgiving conditions found in Australia and New Zealand.

Can you elaborate on the design process?

Our design process has concentrated as much on materials and construction as on aesthetics and style, to ensure that everything we make is not only enduring, but timeless. We want customers to have years and years of enjoyment from their COAST products and we really believe in buying once and buying well. We have customers tell us all the time they have had their COAST beanbags since our inception in 2004. This gives us great satisfaction, that we are making beautiful functional products that aren’t doomed to become landfill.

How has COAST changed over the years?

Our guiding principles have remained the same, however we have widened our product range over the last 16 years to include soft luggage made from Sunbrella fabric, throw cushions, New Zealand-made woollen textiles and small leather accessories. All are made from the best quality fabrics and handcrafted in New Zealand.

Coast outdoor bean chair

What are some of the best projects that COAST has been a part of?

We have been so fortunate to work with some amazing projects and clients, from resorts in the snow in Switzerland, seaside villas in the Maldives and stunning family homes all over the world. One project which was immensely fun and rewarding, was designing and fitting out the Louis Vuitton Sailor and Guest Loungers at the America’s Cup in Auckland.

What is your favourite COAST beanbag?

It would have to be the Marine Bean XL – it was the first product we designed and is still our best-selling. So many customers get such enjoyment from this product and we love receiving and seeing pictures of clients and their families relaxing in their COAST beanbags.

What’s new for COAST?

We have just launched a large selection of bespoke Sunbrella colour options, made to order, for our entire Marine Bean and Isla collections. As we manufacturer locally, we have the ability to personalise colour options, quickly (within 4-6 weeks) and can do one offs.

We have also launched a personalisation option for our Classic Canvas travel bags – you can choose your own colour and add names/initials to your NZ made bag.

Tell us your top outdoor styling tip for this summer?

Buy the best quality, locally made furnishing you can afford – Sunbrella fabric designed for the outdoors, reticulated quick drying foam (in sofas) and remember shade!

This will ensure you have many years of enjoyment from your furnishings and they will not spend their half-life in a landfill.

Visit your nearest McKenzie & Willis showroom to view our COAST range or buy online now.

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