October 11, 2012

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West Elm Partners with Local Artists

Sarah Cutler

October 11, 2012

West Elm, a home furnishing retailer, is doing more than opening its first location in Utah today. It is embarking on a fresh, innovative sales approach to include local artists as vendors in the store.

Located at 51 S. Main Street in City Creek Center, the store has a spot specifically designated for the selected Utah artists, chosen from the online craft website Etsy.com. The local Etsy artists are another first for West Elm. While the store has worked with Etsy and Etsy artists before, this is the first store front to sell local vendors’ art.

“We are always trying to think of ways to localize the stores, to really connect them to the communities where we are doing business,” said Abigail Jacobs, West Elm vice president of marketing and public relations. “It is in our DNA to work with outside artists and also to really celebrate them. We tag everything with their name and we feature them in the catalog and on the website, so this is the next evolution of that.”

Out of the gate four vendors are on the shelves: Fletcher and Fox, Say Hello, Sycamore Street Press and Diem Design Photography.

“We may add more artists, switch some artists out depending on the season and what makes sense. It would be amazing if it grew,” said Jacobs.

West Elm also collaborates with national and global artists and is set up to collaborate with customers in the store or at home, for no charge. “We can work with you on design plans, help you pick out paint colors, look at fabric swatches,” said Jacobs. “Our real philosophy is about helping customers find their personal style at home.”

On the sustainability front, West Elm’s tag line is “We get a little greener every day.” Much of the cotton used is organic and clearly marked as such. It is headed in that direction with furniture too, with a table made out of recycled shipping pallets (that makes each one delightfully unique) and other products made from recycled glass.

West Elm is currently featuring its fall collection, which includes the brand’s mix of globally inspired furniture, home décor, kitchen accessories and gifts, and an early preview of the holiday assortment.

“There’s amazing possibilities here, it couldn’t be a better location for us,” said Jacobs. “We definitely knew that there was a design savvy customer here and we’re feeling really optimistic.”


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