Everybody's Stool by Carly Flynn

From broadcasting to choosing fabrics, Carly Flynn ventures into a clever recreation of a new and improved childhood stool.

Everybody's stool
COLUMN Carly Flynn

“How are your stool samples coming along?” A seemingly never tiresome question from my closest friends, but an apt one aimed at my new venture as a ‘stool’ designer, as in the ones you sit on. The joke never fails to shock those not in the know when it’s asked in public, and send those of us in the know into a fit of juvenile giggles.
But perhaps as the question eludes, there hasn’t been anything particularly glamorous about designing and making a stool from scratch here in NZ, but I tell you it’s been a heap of fun!
The idea to try and make my own brand of stools came to me after my two children were forever fighting over who got to sit on my late nana Gaye’s rusty old orange vinyl version that had been used in the family for decades.
The fighting began only after I managed to prize it from my own mum with promises of returning her a new improved version. A sorry sight, the old stool was too useful to turf in the annual inorganic collection, and it wasn’t until my younger child refused to sit in a high chair that it presented itself as a pretty darn useful dining room chair (for those blessed with very narrow or non-existent hips).
And there began the endless arguments and demands for “stool, stool, stool” between Miss Three, and Master One. Master One more often than not with his demanding personality winning.
It’s quite an extreme length to go to I suspect, making a steel stool to appease your toddler, but once I had the idea, it kind of embedded itself in my head. I was dreaming of wipe-able fabrics teamed with highlighter bases, extra padding for the little ones backs, and funky patterns to help a humble stool make a statement in any room. And now that I’ve made them…well let’s just say there’s no room left at the Flynn Inn, or in the garage!
I have many talented friends – designers, entrepreneurs, authors, builders, and musicians – that I often marvel at or wish to be like; moreover, I want some of their creativeness, their inspiration, and their drive. I didn’t feel like I had a creative bone in my body and I’ve been looking for something to do that’s just for me, outside of broadcasting, for some time.
After an eye-opening Yoga and Surf retreat in Byron Bay a few months earlier, I fixated on a quote shared: “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. It got me thinking; maybe this is my time – to become a…gasp…stool designer! Not quite the creative outlet I’d expected, but hey, it was my only semi-original and seemingly achievable idea thus far.
And so the many hours of research and phone calls and time in my car visiting hopeful suppliers ensued. Where does one begin to do these things? Well after trying to receive two quotes for each component (labour intensive and time consuming), checking for quality control (vital), ability to deliver (vital) and likeability in my suppliers (makes life easier), I settled on no less than nine other companies and NZ businesses to help me create the Everybody’s Stool. Named such because it seemed whenever I talked about it, everybody wanted one, everybody had had something similar growing up, and now I reckon there’s room for one in everybody’s home, office and bach. Maybe more than one!
Does it sound easy? It was all consuming I tell you, and it’s really only just begun! It wasn’t until the very last minute once I’d picked up all the components and squashed them into my car after countless trips (note to self, purchase a stool-friendly pickup and delivery vehicle), screwed them together in the garage, that I got to see the finished products outside of my own head.
And then an amazing thing happened. I got excited. They were better than I’d imagined. I was proud of something I’d achieved (believe me, that doesn’t come easily as a woman!) and publicly I was ready to celebrate them and share them with others.
I know I haven’t created a new building technique or (regretfully) a cure for anything, or even a number 1 US hit, but there is something rather wonderful about creating something for yourself, that ends up bringing joy to others too.
So in answer to all of my lovely friends; hilarious-but-monotonous joke, my answer is, simply, “very well, thank you for asking”!

You might be interested in reading: Property Goals for a Kiwi Future.

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This column by Carly Flynn featured on page 24 of Issue 010 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine . New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

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