harmonious design and production processes that now characterize Kakadu did not
come easily. For several years, while Aharon and Reut were each masterful in their
respective fields, they couldn't find quite the right way to blend their talents.
Creating collaboratively just didn't seem to work.
in the early 1990s, it all started to click. Reut was planning an exhibit in a
large, annual arts and crafts fair in Israel. As an experiment, she took some
wooden trays that Aharon had made but that hadn't sold well, and replaced the
solid bottoms with hand-painted plywood bottoms. She sold all of the trays within
the first hour at the fair. Word about the trays got around, and soon Reut couldn't
keep up with all the orders she was receiving. She asked Aharon to help her-and
Kakadu was born.
1994, Aharon and Reut opened their first store, a small shop in Jerusalem. Its
success soon spawned a second gallery, in Tel Aviv. Then in 2000, the Shahars
moved their Jerusalem gallery to a new space, which was surrounded by a nature
preserve. Meanwhile, with Kakadu gaining wide popularity in Israel, Aharon began
exploring the possibility of international sales. Soon, a network of Kakadu affiliates
was established, first in Europe, and then in the United States.
the end of the 1990s, Kakadu began incorporating the work of other designers in
Israel. According to Reut and Aharon, the inclusion of these new artists infuses
the company with fresh ideas and helps perpetuate the dynamic creative process
that is the soul of Kakadu.