How West Elm is meeting customer demand for unique and sustainable goods

West Elm has found a new avenue for connecting its customers with unique, sustainable goods made by artisans.

The retailer has partnered with Powered by People, a B2B wholesale platform that connects buyers in North America and Europe with small-batch producers around the world, on a new collection of more than 150 products, including a wide range of home décor.

“We are excited to partner with Powered by People to further our commitment to supporting artisans worldwide,” said Catherine Schwartz, senior vice president of merchandising at West Elm. “We look forward to expanding our maker community with a company that shares our dedication to sourcing responsibly made, beautiful products.”

The new collection, which will continue to expand, includes a range of handcrafted products and gifts priced from $8 to $650. Items and artisans include:

Big Blue Moma

Big Blue Moma basket

  • Gharyan Stoneware’s mineral clay and olivewood tableware from Tunisia
  • Punch needle technique pillows from South Africa’s Cotton Tree
  • Artisanal candles from Canada’s Field Kit
  • Terracotta serveware and recycled glassware from Alcantara-Frederic, Morocco
  • Organic soapstone and raffia mobiles from Floc, Kenya
  • Elephant grass baskets woven in Ghana from Big Blue Moma
  • Modernist ceramic vases from India’s Osmos Studio
  • Wayil by Algodones Maya’s pillows hand woven from their own home-grown Guatemalan cotton
  • From Mexico, Aurea’s contemporary wall hangings, Al Centro’s soulful ceramics, and Rafful Studio’s textile tapestries and mirrors.
Al Centro ceramics

Al Centro ceramics

Alcantara candlesticks

Alcantara candlesticks

Powered by People provides the digital tools and financing resources artisans need to scale their businesses in a meaningful way. While the World Economic Forum forecasts that the handmade and small-batch sector will reach $1 trillion by 2024, the sector has historically lacked investment, digitization and access to global markets—despite being the world’s second-largest employer after agriculture, the two companies said.

“We are thrilled to partner with West Elm, one of most innovative home retailers in the world today,” said Alison Phillips, co-founder and chief design officer of Powered by People. “West Elm’s support of global artisans is a testament to the growing consumer demand for unique, authentic products that are sustainably sourced and produced with fair employment practices.”

See also:

Editor-in-Chief Allison Zisko first joined HFN in 1998 and spent many years covering the tabletop category before widening her scope to all home furnishings. In her current role, she oversees all aspects of HFN, including its print and digital products, and represents the brand at home and abroad through presentations, panel discussions and HFN’s podcast, The Inside Scoop.

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