West Elm is expanding its Local collections to all of its 74 locations this holiday season. The Local collections were initiated in 2014 as a way of supporting makers in the community, and making their products available to West Elm shoppers.
The collection supports more than 500 designers and artisans, and offers more than 4,000 locally made products, the retailer said.
“West Elm Local empowers our store leaders, who we call ‘shopkeepers,’ to introduce their customers to the people who are creating, designing, and driving innovation in their regions,” said Jim Brett, president of West Elm. “We have also enlisted our shopkeepers in our overall mission to revive retail stores as the center of community, a space where local makers and local customers can connect.”
“Knowing an authentic artist is behind a piece, and often having the opportunity to meet the artist, changes the shopping experience and creates a human connection,” said Mo Mullen, director of West Elm Local. “The strong response to our West Elm Local offering reflects our customers’ desire for original works that make that personal connection. The connection inspires everyone involved— the customer, the maker, our shopkeeper and our entire West Elm team.”
Examples of Local collection items include those from Eric Trice, an object-based designer and commercial artist who produces steel geometric side tables in powder-coated finishes; Goods that Matter, a New Orleans-based accessories maker that offers soaps, dishtowels, notebooks and totes; and Little Seed Farm, a Nashville-based team that creates personal care products using milk from goats.
“Our commitment to makers is long-term. For some, it is their first time working with a retailer, and we’re collaborating at all stages of growth, helping the makers scale, and building their business together,” added Mullen. “By establishing these relationships at the store level, we can offer West Elm customers great design, with a sense of place, that represents a personal story.”