Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Meet The Team. James Mitchell — Founder/Managing Director

Meet The Team. James Mitchell — Founder/Managing Director

Meet James. Kayu founder & Managing Director.


What is your role at Kayu Studio & what does it involve?
I'm the Managing Director, my role focuses on the sourcing and manufacturing of Kayu exclusive products. 

How long have you been working on Kayu Studio?
I founded Kayu Studio back in 2021.

Where did the idea for Kayu Studio come about?
It was born from the desire to have a purpose in both Indonesia and New Zealand. I have based myself in Indonesia for the last 10 years but New Zealand is where I will always call home. The concept to source and manufacture from Indonesia, then sell goods in NZ was formulated to fit the lifestyle I wanted to create. To sum it up, the goal was to enjoy New Zealand summers and then flee the Winters for the warmer climates of Indonesia.

What does a normal (if you could call it that) day look like for you?
No one day is the same & it's largely driven by where I am.

If I'm in New Zealand, I'm at the Kayu head office working with the New Zealand based team on developing new product ideas & trying to keep up with our supply chain. If I'm in Indonesia I'm in our Java warehouse working with the PT Salt team (Kayu Studio’s Indonesian sister sourcing company). This usually looks like working on new designs and samples as well and reviewing running orders.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
My partner is Danish, and recent trips to Denmark visiting family have been a great source of inspiration. I love minimal Danish design mixed with simplistic Japanese influences. I think this shows in the Kayu collections we curate.


Have you got a favourite piece in the Kayu Product Offering? 
I really like the reclaimed teak dining collections, the wood quality from the reclaimed teak is really high as its sourced from old buildings from around Java. The process is traditional and the end result leaves alot of character in the design. If i had to choose one piece, its the Nias dining table.

Favourite part about running Kayu Studio?
Working with a broad range of people throughout the whole process from sourcing and manufacturing all the way through to retail. With this comes the ongoing learning experience both Industry specific and growing a business in general, every day has a new challenge and this is what keeps it interesting.

What do you enjoy doing outside of Kayu Studio?
Im a long time surfer and love getting out to explore new remote places to find waves, in recent years i have got into sailing and some of my most enjoyable times are spent at sea on my sailing boat Chianti.