Western & English Today

SOURCE 19

W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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"My customers ask about materials." "I met Stephanie [at] her fi rst trade show in New York and immediately fell in love with her stuff. Soon after that I started carrying it. I think it really spoke to my customer base — the Western animals, the bears and elk and feathers, that whole collection. We became friends, and her line was doing continually well, so we have as much available here as possible. I think especially in our environment today it's so important to take it upon ourselves to create change. My customers ask about materials, where stuff is made, about the artist. They love that Stephanie lives in Wyoming and she's doing all the design work herself. They even buy presents for people that are vested in the organizations proceeds go to, like the Ocean Conservancy." — Susan Fleming, The Workshop, Jackson, Wyoming I n the quiet, chirping dawns of Bondurant, Wyoming, Stephanie Housley steps out onto her porch to glimpse a deer stand- ing in the cold or an owl taking fl ight. She then heads into the woods, o en with her dog Fuji, to draw inspiration from the wildfl owers, fox kits, and sandhill cranes she encounters on her path. She then brings them back in- doors, stitching some of their cold mountain spirit into her carefully curated, responsibly sourced linens, which have become highly sought a er across the country. You can learn this all on her website — plus how many hours each embroidery takes, every detail of the production process, and pretty much everything else except her star sign. (She's a Virgo.) Vendors today have to bare it at all to consumers, and Coral & Tusk, Housley's 11-year-old startup, is no diff er- ent: An ever-growing mountain of statistics indicates that shoppers want to know what they're buying, who they're buying it from, and even become intimate with the entire life cycle of a product in order to feel good about the purchase. Do they like it? at's important. But do they like who made it? at's become an in- creasingly crucial question for brands to an- swer as consumers become educated about the carbon footprint of manufacturing, the labor laws of various countries, and the so- cial and political opinions of the personali- ties behind even the largest megabrands. Toms' one-for-one donation model and Burt's Bees' all-natural line may have paved the way for a more philanthropic and sus- tainable marketplace, but many Western brands have been walking that walk all along. Retailers take note: e ones who are do- ing it right are wearing their hearts on their sleeves (or their boots) and investing in causes that embody the Western spirit their shoppers thirst for, whether that means donating to the National Park Service, supporting veterans, or mending cowboys' broken arms. ey can be a big asset for retailers who want to tap into the mounting energy behind giving back and connect with a new generation of shoppers. Sure, they've always loved Wrangler jeans, but wait until they fi nd out that Wrangler's been recycling their denim into insulation to help rebuild homes in Houston in the a ermath of Hurricane Harvey. at could be the diff erence between get- ting a customer to buy and getting a person to love coming into your store. Here's what it looks like. Coral & Tusk e Brooklyn-born Coral & Tusk, now head- quartered in Wyoming, lives and breathes on conscientious production. Housley uses 90 per- cent natural, unbleached, undyed linens; her previous experience visiting textile mills in the United States and abroad gave her a distaste for water-polluting dyes and resource-guzzling man- ufacturing plants. Her warehouse in Pinedale, Wyoming, uses sustainable packing materials: re- cycled boxes and biodegradable bags. Causes are written into all of Housley's designs — the pheas- ants and partridges that traipse across pillows, and the feathers, pine cones, and geometric pat- terns stitched on table linens and accessories. Ten percent of proceeds from one capsule collection of dog and cat designs went to the ASPCA. An ocean-motif collection inspired by Housley's trav- els to Big Sur benefi ted the Ocean Conservancy, an organization Housley favored because she likes "science-based solutions," notes Alicia Scardetta, a Coral & Tusk wholesale accounts manager. Scardetta adds that Housley's artwork taps into something buyers respond to. "People see our designs and immediately have an emotional reaction. Whether that's because the animals re- mind them of stories they read as a kid or their grandmother used to embroider, our company does appeal to people in this way that's very per- sonal. ey're interested in our story, in Stepha- nie as a designer ... and in turn, they're interested in the causes that are important to us." coraland- tusk.com The Source 2019 39 PHOTOGRAPHY: WILL ELLIS/COURTESY CORAL & TUSK

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