Artisan Interview: Fiji Spice Queen
At KeteKoha we have an absolute passion for our suppliers and what it is they do. There is something to be said for those who follow their dreams, and the creatives are even more so interesting to talk to. Speak to somebody who has created something with their hands and you're in for an inspiring and energizing conversation!
So in the first of our Artisan Interview series, we'd like you to meet Francesca and Linley of Fiji Spice Queen. Their energy is enchanting and their products just divine.
Tell us about Fiji Spice Queen & the people behind the brand.
Linley and I go way back- nearly as far as living memory that being 5 years old allows- we met beforehand but really behind our mothers skirts at the dairy, poking our tongues out at each other! Both born in the Chinese year of the Monkey we have pretty cheeky inclinations and haven’t lost them over the years that have followed. Its interesting that we both have careers that have a connection with the human body in a way and maybe its because as young teenagers we used to hang out in the local sauna which was the closest thing in those days to a Spa. Linley is an amazing Spa Therapist, her facials and massage skills are top notch and she currently co owns Urban Sanctuary in Wellington. I got involved with Perfume making and am a co -owner and design the fragrances in a Perfume business called Pacific Perfumes.
What are your passions - outside of Fiji Spice Queen?
We both love travelling which led us to living in different countries for a long period of time, me in Greece and Linley in Australia and the US. Linley recently spent 10 days at a Yoga retreat in Thailand and said she felt so rejunvenated! I felt quite envious so I sulked off to Greece and Lisbon for a month :)
Travel is totally a passion of mine. I become someone without a national identity, I only need the basic essentials to move with and I love the sensation of all the experiences washing over me. I really like that person I become.
I am also really passionate about animals, their well being and protection of their environments on this planet.
We at FSQ are totally against testing on animals and have the certification in support of this.
What is your favourite thing about your creative process?
Having the idea like a bolt of lightening then processing and refining it til its ready to roll. I am very much an ideas person, there’s adrenaline in them :)
Tell us about living & creating in New Zealand/Fiji
Living and creating in two countries can be challenging in many ways. Its also very exciting! New Zealand and Fiji are extremely different cultures and I guess its a lot about remembering how to operate in each place. How to work with cultural norms and respect those processes while getting the jobs done.You need to be flexible and enter the lesser known workplace (for us that was Fiji) with a totally open mind and leave your usual concepts at the door. Currently neither Linley nor myself live in Fiji so we travel over every 6 weeks or so. We’re so lucky we have brilliant staff in Fiji!
A fragrant batch of delicious Starfruit Soap being completed by Shaneel, Fiji Spice Queen's very experienced Soapmaker.
What has your KeteKoha experience been like?
We’ve had a wonderful journey with KeteKoha and we wish there were more of you. Its really hard to get out there and noticed as a small new-ish business . Often the organisations that are there to provide support and help want you to have grown a lot more and its a tough environment. So KeteKoha puts us out there while at the same time gives us a feeling of being part of a community, a creative community which is much stronger when working together.
Collaboration has always been a word and action we love and KeteKoha understands this.
What's your favourite thing to snack on at the moment?
My awesome Fiji bliss balls inspired by Deepak Chopra, which I have adapted for my Fijian version. I think of the wonderful spices that are grown Fiji and use them in this recipe:
1/2 cup of Sultanas
1 Tsp Ginger powder
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh Ginger
1 Tsp ground Cumin
1 Tsp ground Cardamon
1 Tablespoon shredded Coconut
1 Tablespoon chopped Almonds (optional)
2 1/2 Tablespoons Coconut oil
Blend it all in a food processor/ small blender. Roll into small bite sized balls, roll in toasted sesame seeds and bliss out!
These look so good Francesca! I'll definitely be making these in the very near future! Thank you so much for your time, the wonderful products you create and for being an awesome part of KeteKoha.
Fiji Spice Queen's natural coconut oil soap range currently features in every box of our Nov/Dec collection, grab your box here.
Making Francesca's recipe? Use #ketekoha to share your Awesome Fiji Bliss Balls creation!