When Worlds Collide: Maxine + Karstan


In this day and age, they say that couples who work and play together stay together, and Max and Karstan are just one example of this truth. The pair operate a homewares business, Poppy Smith Design, and here they share how they create a harmonious work-life balance alongside each other.

How did you meet? Maxine: We met online over 10 years ago. It was on a website similar to Facebook called hi5. We chatted online for about a year – I thought Karstan was super cute! Finally, we decided to meet up after our local horserace and we quickly became inseparable. Karstan: I saw Maxine’s profile picture and had to chase! Over a period of a year, we chatted online. Then one day, we exchanged numbers. That night the two of us met up along with our group of friends and we have been together ever since.
Give us the run-down of your business. Karstan: Our business is called Poppy Smith Design and it’s a collection of homewares I’ve designed. I started with concrete as I have always loved the endless possibilities it has. Then I slowly moved to lighting and am now getting into timber. Maxine manages the marketing side of our business.
Do you leave your work at work? Maxine: That is a tricky question because our business is at home. We are lucky because we love what we do so having “work” at home is fine! Karstan: Maxine is right … it is difficult as work is at home. The trick is to switch off when it hits 6pm. You have to have a finishing time and allow yourself to enjoy weekends.
How do you take time out for each other? Maxine: We always keep at least one day a week free to spend quality time together. Also, I always try to take time out each day where I shut off technology and just chat about the day! Karstan: We have what’s called “Adventure Sunday”. This is when we both jump in the 4WD and go somewhere we’ve never been before … take the road less travelled! That way we spend quality time together and share in what we love most.
How do you and your partner create a good work/life balance? Maxine: Practise makes perfect – we take time out with our labrador Duke, exercise, and spend time with friends and family.
What helps protect your relationship? Maxine: No matter how tired I am, I always make the effort to say I love you every day and compliment Karstan.


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